It’s strategic planning season. Companies of all shapes and sizes are dusting off their strategic plans from last year, looking into their crystal balls and determining what they’re going to do next year. How can we extend our products or services within our marketplace? What will it take for us to keep up (catch up) with our competition? How can we squeeze an extra point of profitability from our existing revenue streams? Can we raise our prices a few percentage points without losing too many customers? Do we need this many people?
If the previous paragraph sounds familiar, your organization isn’t doing strategic planning.
Strategic planning isn’t just an annual event. Strategic questions don’t come from a defensive posture. They shouldn’t be about tweaking at the margin. Strategic questions definitely shouldn’t focus on ways to play “catch up.” These questions may be important, but they aren’t strategic. They’re tactical.
If your company stopped delivering its products and services, who would miss it?
What do your customers, or prospective customers, really want? What are they trying to accomplish? Your organization’s value comes from helping customers hit their strategic targets. Otherwise, you’re merely a commodity, a convenience to be discarded whenever possible.
Many organizations fool themselves into believing they do strategic planning. Sadly, they’re only going through the motions, “challenging themselves” to answer the easy, tactical questions…year after year.
That is, until their customers find another way to meet their strategic goals.