Strategic planning is your organisation’s compass for the future – a business necessity that creates a direction intentionally as opposed to simply reacting to the marketplace on a daily basis. But even the best laid-out strategic plans can fall flat without clear strategic focus, the right execution processes, a well-informed understanding of key challenges, and a high-level framework of operational tasks.
In fact, poor strategy execution is far more common than one may realise. According to research by Bridges Business Consultancy, over 48 percent of organisations fail to reach at least half of their strategic targets, with just a mere 7 percent of business leaders believing their firms are excellent at strategy implementation.
The Charted Global Management Accountant designation defines strategic planning as the process of developing the strategy or direction, and action plan to achieve the goals of an organisation or business. And when done effectively, strategic planning can be enormously powerful – pulling everyone together around a shared understanding of your business’s fundamental purpose, and the direction of travel. It empowers decision-makers at all levels to determine priorities, make choices, and allocate resources – in short, it provides the basis for understanding the risks, opportunities, and changes in your environment of business.
A 2019 performance study by The Australian Institute of Company Directors, identified strategic planning as the #1 most pivotal activity that could be done better for the greatest overall impact on an organisation. Yet according to Fortune Magazine, 86 percent of executive teams were found to spend less than one hour per month discussing strategy, while 95% of a typical workforce revealed they did not understand their organisation’s strategy.
The greatest barrier to business success is not the lack of planning but the lack of strategy automation that can help business leaders to communicate, implement and follow through on their action plans.
In this blog, we explore 10 key signs that indicate your organisation is mature enough to adopt an automated strategy planning tool, we highlight 3 key benefits of operationalising your strategy using best-practice strategy software solutions and discuss why strategic planning should be part of your wider GRC programme.
10 Signs That Indicate You Need an Automated Strategy Planning Tool
- Your strategy remains a piece of paper that is only discussed at Board level
Making sure their organisation has a robust strategy in place is one of the Board’s key functions. To ensure that their carefully crafted strategy goes beyond a piece of paper with little to no impact, clear lines of communication from the top-down and the bottom-up must be in place to achieve the organisation’s long-term objectives. Strategic goals should be broken down into smaller actionable tasks and allocated to the appropriate teams to facilitate strategic progress and ensure there are sufficient resources to deliver on plans.
- Your strategy lacks clarity around the projects and tasks that will help to achieve your goals
Most strategies will consist of a series of strategic goals & objectives – creating guidelines that become the foundation for business planning and development. But, to ensure successful implementation, these must be broken down into a series of programmes, projects, tasks, and actions and allocated out across the business for completion. Employees benefit from clear and aligned goals that allow them to track their progress and understand how their work contributes to the organisational strategy.
- Strategic projects, tasks, and actions lack ownership
An effective strategy requires cross-departmental and cross-functional participation throughout the organisation. This is why programmes without ownership will lack a driving force and direction. To avoid creating a disjointed strategic plan, businesses can leverage software tools to create workflows to automatically notify relevant stakeholders, implement a structured approval process, and communicate task completion – ensuring stakeholders are accountable for their part in achieving the strategy.
- You have no clear way to see how your strategy is progressing
Large strategic programmes are usually spread across departments and segregated into actionable tasks & projects with timelines, budgets, and key performance metrics. Without a clear view of how these smaller tasks and projects are progressing, senior leaders won’t be able to assess how they impact the completion status of larger programmes.
- You struggle to understand the risks associated with achieving your strategy
Strategic projects and tasks will have an array of dependencies that must be considered – ranging anywhere from weather, interest rates, changes in the market, geopolitical risk, and the risks associated with staff and resources. That is why it’s imperative to absorb these “what-ifs” by carefully monitoring risk when planning your strategic projects & tasks. Risk assessments must take place and the level of risk must be monitored regularly, with any problems flagged. As a result, the appropriate action can be taken to ensure the strategy remains on track.
- Employees don’t understand the part they play in achieving the company strategy
A staggering 95% of employees don’t understand their company’s strategy. Successful strategy execution depends on each of your employees understanding your organisation’s broader strategic goals and how their individual responsibilities make achieving them possible. That is why breaking down large strategic goals into smaller bite size chunks that can be digested at a department or individual level is the best way to ensure employees understand how their daily actions contribute to achieving strategic success.
- It is difficult to visualise the impact of your strategy on enterprise performance
Having given due care and attention to the planning & mapping of your strategy, are you letting it drift off track by failing to monitor its progression? Failing to measure the performance of your strategy by not understanding its impact on enterprise performance will make it hard to understand not only the status of the strategy, but also if it is having the desired impact on your strategic goals. Mapping strategic process to enterprise performance is the most useful was to measure success.
- You have no defined process for making changes to your strategy
Whether you are dealing with minor alterations such as missed deadlines & budget cuts, or major factors like a competitor going bust or a rival company posing a threat – organisations both large and small must strive to remain agile and have defined contingency plans in place. These important strategic factors should be communicated to relevant teams in the context of how the change affects them – enabling them to pivot based on new information. A change to a top line goal or objective could affect a number of different tasks projects, and actions throughout the organisation, and having an efficient way to communicate those changes at all levels is key.
- Creating reports on strategic processes is time-consuming and cumbersome
Strategic reporting is crucial to understand the progression of your organisational goals & objectives, most strategies will be mapped out over a number of years, and understanding the current status is essential to keep things on track. If you are spending too much time on producing status reports and not enough time on projects and tasks that will help to achieve your strategy then the balance needs to shift. Purpose-built strategy management software that benefits from automatic reports and real-time dashboards can steer teams easily away from time-consuming and cumbersome reporting processes making these reports a key analytical tool employed by senior management to track high-level metrics against general company goals.
- You struggle to map your strategy to live transactional and operational data
Linking critical business operational data such as energy usage & waste, sales numbers, transactions, and finance data to your strategy provides vital insight into its performance. Key indicators found in transactional data must be considered when planning your strategy and operationalising it. Failing to map these essential data sources will hinder visibility into performance on the front line and misguide executive decision-making by not providing a comprehensive overview of progress.
3 Key Advantages of Automating Your Strategic Plans using A strategy Management Platform
If you’re a business leader, you already know that sharing your strategic plans with the wider business and ensuring that each individual understands the part they play in achieving the strategy is essential to achieve your goals & objectives. Without a tool to structure and automate your strategy, you are likely missing out on the benefits a single centralised point of oversight provides. Here we share 3 advantages of adopting a tool for strategic planning.
- Helps to breaks down your strategy into a series of smaller tasks, projects, and actions
Strategy planning tools enable you to break down your strategic goals & objectives into a series of smaller more digestible projects, tasks, and actions. Each task and action is allocated to an owner with key timelines, budgets, and performance metrics to signpost progress, and milestones that define clear completion deadlines – empowering every team member to understand the role they play in supporting the business to achieve its objectives. In addition, management teams can easily view their strategy map using simple tree diagrams to visualise progress.
- Easy to visualise tree views to understand strategic progress and flag problems
It’s essential for leaders to get a clear view of how smaller tasks and projects are progressing and to understand how they impact the completion status of large strategic programmes. With strategy automation tools, decision-makers can benefit from simple tree views to visualise the status of their plans. This enables them to ensure things are on track, address problem areas, and allocate budgets & resources accordingly to keep the overall strategy on track.
- The ability to Link strategy to risk management and enterprise performance
In addition to key strategic risks, all strategic projects come with their fair share of risk, from financial & operational risks to credit risk – these need to be carefully managed to ensure they do not have a detrimental impact on organisational goals. Adopting the right strategy management tool will enable you to integrate data from other business areas including risk, compliance, finance, sales, and operations via complex mapping capabilities to allow you to use real-time data from across the business to identify and understand risks that could have a detrimental impact on your strategy. By linking your strategic plans to your risk register, leaders can make risk informed decisions when mapping out their strategy.
Make Strategic Planning a Part of Your Wider GRC Programme
Including strategic planning in your wider GRC programme not only ensures information and process consistency across your business, it also provides a comprehensive perspective on your overall risk exposure, monitors compliance, and modifies business processes to respond actively to new opportunities and regulatory mandates. Software such as Camms.Strategy can facilitate those crucial links between strategic planning and risk libraries & compliance obligations, adding a level of automation in the form of workflows, approval processes, notifications, alerts, and real-time reports & dashboards. Pulling live transactional and operational data into your strategic risk programme allows for the setting of controls on this data to flag missed deadlines and incomplete tasks that might indicate that your strategy is not on track.
Capturing operational data and linking it to strategic objectives can be a complex and time-consuming process if performed manually. Purpose-built software solutions deliver a best-practice framework to collect and aggregate relevant data. Regardless of whether you’re integrating existing operational data from other systems via APIs or rolling out forms, questionnaires & tasks to collect new data – a purpose-built software collects it in the required format, ensuring consistency.
Camms.Strategy has all the functionality that progressive organisations need to successfully develop and execute their corporate strategy and understand the associated risks. To learn about how our strategy management solution can help you achieve success, simply request a demo today!