Strategy [strat•i•jee]: a plan, method, or series of maneuvers or stratagems for obtaining a specific goal or result.
Years ago I worked for large consulting firm where I was responsible for implementing organization-wide changes as directed by the Executive Team. True to form, I got myself into trouble more than once by asking the question “why are we doing this?” and “how does this connect to our goals?” I sensed something bigger was missing. We were reacting to opportunities, challenges and (frankly) trends, but without a clear sense of where we wanted to be long term. “Bigger. More profitable. More market share.” Those were our guidelines. But the connection between new HR practices or IT initiatives was vague, at best…
Years later I had the pleasure to partner with business experts, who taught me the basic framework of the Balanced Scorecard model for strategic planning. Implementing this model within a small consulting firm, the approach connected a clear vision statement and an organization’s values to specific financial, service, infrastructure and capabilities goals (the four components of the Balanced Scorecard). Most importantly, this allowed our clients to identify a critical path to their vision, and prioritize their investments of time, money and people. Rather than reacting, they could be intentional. And therefore, strategic. Finally, the missing link!
Do you need a strategic plan? If you want to make sure you are using all of your resources on the highest priorities to achieve clearly articulated goals, the answer is clearly, yes.