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You’re the general. So, make your strategic plan!

Continuing the process of planning…

So now we’re getting organized.  There are many ways to express the roadmap for your enterprise.  One of the most popular was used by the U.S. Army late in World War II and adopted by many high-profile businesses such as Texas Instruments after the War.  And I’s my favorite method of organizing a strategic plan.

There are two important elements.

The structure combines the listing of your goal with a series of strategies and then tactics, each designed to support each other, each measurable and made public throughout the organization.

Let’s call it “OST.”

The technique, “OST” (objective, strategies, and tactics), is a very good way to organize your effort to find guideposts and then develop metrics to measure progress.

What is a strategy? 

It is a medium range process involving senior management and departmental management as well, directing resources in ways that, as accomplished, lead the company toward the goal.  A typical small to medium business finds five sweeping strategies for the current year, many cross-departmental, and some carried over from the previous year’s plan and even from years before that.

[Email readers, continue here…]   Here are some example strategies from some of my companies over the recent years.

  • Expand into at least three new continents through new distribution channels.
  • Penetrate the Fortune 500 with at least five active accounts within two years.
  • Create a hosted “software as a service” or “on demand” addition to our product line by end of (next) year.

Aren’t these just goals?

Note that these are expansive “junior” goals that, if achieved, would certainly move the company forward toward a larger financial goal.  Yet each is measurable if achieved.  In fact, the degree of progress toward achievement can also be achieved, such as “We did establish early profitable relationships with two of the five Fortune 50 accounts this year.”

Measurement is the key to success. 

Even at the strategic level.  Next week, we’ll look at the last major step in creating an OST plan for an entire organization.

  • Due diligence experience based upon that conducted from the Toronto Chapter of the Keiretsu Forum leads to question whether the CEO is indeed a four star general today, on a trajectory to become one or not a general. Although the individual is perhaps a full colonel with much training and experience leading others and thus an essential to team member, the person is not capable of the judgement calls required to integrate the work of the entire army. Hence during our due diligence we use two specialist consulting firm, to establish their capability profile. With the findings we are able to distinguish between generals and colonels to assure we do not fund a colonel in a general’s role. I am of the view that articulate colonel’s are in fact leaders of the enterprises that neither die nor succeed in commercializing the enterprises innovation. In the absence of such third party evidence to succumb to a give them a chance decision. We cand do this perhaps because we want to avoid the ensuing confrontation of telling them the fact that that the person cannot succeed or we blithely believe the product is great enough that it will succeed without a general as the enterprises leader. Sometimes it does succeed!

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