5 Steps to Planning Success
As organizations strive to make sense of a rapidly changing operating environment, the process of effective strategic planning has never taken on greater importance. To simplify the approach, the "Five A’s Method" has enabled businesses of all sizes and specialties to embrace a method of planning that is fast, flexible and fluid.
By focusing on Awareness/Assessment, Alignment, Action, Accountability and Achievement, the planning process and the resulting documentation forms a reliable roadmap that minimizes complexity and confusion and brings clarity and confidence.
Start with Awareness/Assessment. While most leadership teams have a pretty good sense of what’s going on inside the business, it has always struck me that more concrete inputs are needed and available. Consider two key stakeholder groups: employees and customers. How do team members really feel about the organization’s culture? Other than random comments made in passing, does the business effectively measure the culture’s current state using a reliable, valid assessment tool? Is there a clearly identified desired future state of what (in the opinion of your people) the ideal state looks like? Is gap analysis employed and a team formed, tasked, and empowered to work on closing that gap over time? One of the best tools available to provide meaningful, actionable data is "Human Synergistics’ Organizational Culture Inventory."
How about your customers, in particular your key accounts? Is there a structured process for evaluating these important relationships? How about those “accounts with potential"? Where are you heading with them and how do you prioritize your outreach efforts where they will bear the best results? To help with this analysis, we recommend the "Key Account Accelerator," an excellent way to develop meaningful information in a way that can point the way forward.
To become fully aware, assessment tools like these can bring much needed data. But data alone is not sufficient. Data should inform decisions, not drive them. Combining robust, reliable data analytics with the collective experience and intuition of your leadership team, in a structured, professionally facilitated session, your decisions will lead to a clear, cohesive plan that is actionable and measurable.
For more information about these and other assessment tools and ways they can help inform your planning process, contact me a firstname.lastname@example.org.
Joseph P. Truncale, Ph.D., CAE, is the Founder and Principal of Alexander Joseph Associates, a privately held consultancy specializing in executive business advisory services with clients throughout the graphic communications industry.
Joe spent 30 years with NAPL, including 11 years as President and CEO. He is an adjunct professor at NYU teaching graduate courses in Executive Leadership; Financial Management and Analysis; Finance for Marketing Decisions; and Leadership: The C Suite Perspective. He may be reached at Joe@ajstrategy.com. Phone or text: (201) 394-8160.