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Visioning (not Vision) and Strategic Planning

The power of your mind’s eye

What will you have created when you have executed your strategy?

Can you see your strategy executed well and completed?

In your mind, can you see the future state for your business and where you’ll be and what your business will be like when you’ve executed your strategy and executed it well?

This is something I call visioning, this concept of seeing the future;  of actually taking a strategy, laying it on top of where our business is today and seeing that future new reality.  And from that, really understanding the priorities, the factors for success and where our teams need to or should focus.

I’m not discussing that vision concept as in “we want to be the greatest company in the world, XYZ.”  That’s creating a vision.  I want us to think about making running our future business today.

Excited for the Future

I went through a workshop just recently on strategy, and we had a lot of discussion about this visioning part of the strategic workshop.

Visioning came up after we had laid out a strategy and identified the trends that we’re developing and then the priorities for the organization.  We had written out what we have called the simple strategic story [How Many Pages?] that answers the question, “Can you say what your strategy is?

Then we went into the exercise of building the picture of future when our strategy is executed well.

We spent a lot of time answering the question, “What will our business be like when this is actually done?”  We considering questions like: “How big are we (revenue)?  What is our organization (size and number)?  What are our core skills and talents?  What types of people do we have (skill, culture)? What franchises do we have?  What product lines do we have?  Who are our key customers?  ”

We tackled some core questions that helped us to create that picture of the future state of our business.

When we had painted that picture and if was real and “tangible” for the team, then we moved to a discussion of gaps to that future state from where we were today.  Then we could talk about what we needed to get there.

It’s another round of questions.  And we talked about gaps in skill and talent, gaps in access to customers, gaps in resources and information technology, integration of data that we would need to have successfully implemented – all in order to manage a business that would be created based on our strategy well done.

This was a terribly insightful exercise.  Essentially, not stopping when we had a strategy that we could say, when we had a simple strategy to communicate.

But actually, to walk through the exercise of taking that strategy and putting it into action in our minds and creating a picture of the successful execution of the strategy and the successful business that we would have at the end.  And then being able to identify those areas of focus; those critical needs.

And, to clarify, not all of the things we need are external, there are some, but many areas are focused on an organizational perspective that we will need to create and craft and build in order to have a successful business for the future.

Now we have not only our list of strategic priorities, but also a set of critical actions to take to help us get there.  It was another way to get to the “action” steps for our strategy.

Strengthen your Strategy

And so, as you think about developing your business strategy, don’t stop when you feel like you’ve got your key priorities.  Don’t stop when you have that simplified set of priorities and areas that you’re going to focus your business.  [insert link]

Keep going.  Keep going (alone or with your team) and execute your strategy in your mind  – to full execution.  Paint that picture of your business of the future.   Define what you will be, how you will act- who you’ll be.  Then you’ll be able to complete the picture by saying, “And to get there, we also need to do these things and have these skills or these capabilities or these customers.”  It will add and enhance your strategic plan, and it will probably give you some interesting key success factors or key performance indicators that you’ll be able to track in order to achieve that final result.

Visioning a strategy, putting a strategy into action, a step further forward in creating good business strategy.

Try this exercise and leave a comment below on this post about your experience.

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