Entrepreneurs are just like people. Often restless, enterprising and decisive. But sometimes also thoughtfully, systematically or very creatively. While one only wants to set up new initiatives, the other loves to structure and scale up. Team workers and loners; no entrepreneur is the same!.
With all those characters and insights; how does the company create one strategic plan? And does it even make sense to make a plan in an environment that is constantly changing?
Four important tips in this blog.
For strategy it is important to look at things from several angles. Taking into account the right knowledge and current insights. Use experience from other sectors. Confronting out-of-the-box thinkers with structured realists. I hope you have that diversity in your team. If not, get these on board; internal or external. Take a moment to think about who you are involving in the planning process. And how you can achieve support for the plan in the organization.
Making plans often evokes immediate aversion in an entrepreneur. The image of bulky reports that are created after endless discussions and with which nothing substantial is subsequently done. Therefore, opt for an approach that requires exactly the essential information for your plan in a transparent format. Nothing more and nothing less. At Your own Venture we have good experiences with the OGSM; a handy and widely used method worldwide. In one A4, a translation of the long-term goals into strategies with associated SMART actions and KPIs. By having to articulate your plan in such a compact way, good discussions arise about the core of the matter.
Of course, I also know entrepreneurs who have their strategy perfectly in mind. Who do not need a structured plan to innovate continuously. Super, as far as I’m concerned; a lived plan is the best you can have. However, at some point a detailed plan will be required. Even if only for communication within the organization and to external stakeholders.
Regularity and discipline
Even with this one A4, there is still a risk that the plan will disappear in a (digital) drawer. Even the shorter-term actions from the plan just fade into the background. In the delusion of everyday life, as an entrepreneur you are busy with important things that need to be done now. The quotation must be sent out tomorrow or the production problem must be solved asap. Nevertheless, the matters from your OGSM are at least as important for the future of your company.
Therefore, choose a standard monthly moment when you review your plan and discuss the progress on actions and status of the KPIs. Structured and disciplined. Initiate new actions and make adjustments where necessary.
The danger of a strict plan is that you (together) develop a kind of tunnel vision. The plan is the truth and all focus must be on its realization. This is often the right basic attitude to get something done. At the same time, you should not walk around with blinders on. You want to take advantage of sudden new opportunities and you want to take timely measures against unexpected challenges. Therefore, once a quarter, rethink your strategy in full. See what developments are taking place in your company, among competitors and in the market. Get inspired. Grab your OGSM and discuss with each other whether goals can be sharpened and whether the strategy needs to be adjusted.
Try applying these four tips for a longer period of time. I have really seen entrepreneurs come to new insights. Teams that for the first time felt connected in one common course. And noticed that the plans they made were actually carried out. The flywheel of focus, strengthening plans and continuous growth is getting underway. Cool!