In today’s volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) environment, the annual strategic planning process is no longer sufficient. The process of designing an organization’s strategy takes painstaking months and is designed to be the guiding light for all employees. However, the speed at which businesses must operate has increased and the annual planning model cannot keep up with this pace. Almost as soon as the strategic plan is finalized and printed out, it is out of date. Most leaders will put the plan on a shelf where it will collect dust next to the plan from the prior year until the leader goes back to review it at the end of the year. At that point, that plan is most certainly no longer representative of what the organization is actually doing. At CrossLead, we recommend that organizations align and adapt the plan on a continuous basis with more formal quarterly planning review sessions. Using the CrossLead Platform, leaders are empowered to pivot and adjust the priorities in real time as changes occur, keeping the plan up to date with the most recent information.
The quarterly planning review meeting will bring leaders together to revisit the company strategic plan, maintain alignment across functional silos, identify new opportunities, and assess threats. These meetings can also be conducted at the department or team level as a Quarterly Business Review with senior leaders. The CrossLead Platform is the tool that facilitates and acts as a transparent system of record for the quarterly strategic planning process.
Consider the Start – Stop – Modify (SSM) framework to help drive productive discussions in quarterly strategic planning sessions. Encourage team leaders to bring recommendations to senior leaders for what their team will work on in the next quarter. Use the following questions to help craft recommendations:
- What new projects or lines of effort are we starting and why?
- What lines of effort are we stopping and why?
- What lines of effort are we modifying and why?
Using CrossLead Plans, it’s simple for leaders to review the company strategic plan and priorities. Here are some helpful tips for using CrossLead in quarterly strategic planning meetings:
- Re-affirm the overarching company goals
- Review any changes that have occurred since last quarter; for example, any advancement in key success metrics or overall progress against key targets
- Adapt and revise the supporting strategies in accordance with this new information and proactively adjust to market changes
- Consider re-positioning resources as needed
- Create a communication plan to drive the revised strategic plan and company priorities throughout the organization
Leverage the Plan’s Priorities list to help drive decisions.
- Understand the current status, resources allocated, and priority for each line of effort
- Use all information and context to make decisions around what the company or each team is going to prioritize for the next quarter
- Leverage the Prioritize feature to help illustrate the cut line for the work that can be completed with the current resources
In today’s VUCA environment, leaders and organizations must react more quickly and more deliberately than ever before. Relying on a static plan is no longer a sufficient way to ensure the organization is learning and developing. To compete and win in any industry, strategic plans should live, breathe, speak, and listen to the organization.