Most strategic plans take forever to create, then sit, unused, in fancy binders.
They stay in these binders until shelf space is needed, or until your office gets moved…or until some outside change draws attention to them.
Most strategic plans are a huge waste of time, effort, energy, and money because they are beautifully crafted and then tucked away. Never to be seen, referenced, or used.
Compare this to a sports team’s play book. A play book is created, studied, optimized, memorized, and put to the test each and every game. Winning plays are kept, improved, and reused. Less effective plays are evaluated, learned from, reinvented, or removed.
If strategic plans were more like play books, they would be the best business investment you could make – one that drives massive change and growth. One with an enormous ROI.
How can you tap in to the power of a one-page strategic action plan? It’s simple! Create a one-page strategic action plan.
STEP ONE: Create your canvas.
You will need to define the four main areas of your one-page strategic plan. Mission/Vision, Objective(s), Goals, and Tactics.
Some people prefer to work with pen or pencil and paper. Some prefer digital canvases like a Word Document or Excel Spreadsheet. No matter your preference, you will need to define four main spaces for capturing each of these elements.
STEP TWO: Dive in.
This is the hardest, most time consuming step. Most business leaders can’t simply sit down and fill in these blanks because most of these elements have NEVER been defined for the business.
Sure, there are goals…action items…projects…activities that are supposed to be happening to move the business forward. It’s rare, however, for those activities to be linked to the overall business plan and objectives.
Here’s some tips to help you define each important piece of your one-page strategic action plan.
MISSION/VISION – the rallying cry of your business. What people sign up for when they join your team. This is not the elaborate mission statement most create. This is not intended to be carved into marble and hung above the front entry. This should not be filled with long, complicated phrases, or filled with fluffy and fancy words. This should be 7-10 words that capture your magic. Here are a few examples:
ZAPPOS – deliver happiness (Notice how this isn’t about selling shoes, fast delivery, or free returns…it has nothing to do with WHAT they do. It has everything to do with WHY they exist. This is what you’re working to capture.)
APPLE COMPUTER – hub of the home (Again, this isn’t about iMacs, iPhones, or Apple TVs…it’s about WHY they exist…it’s their true North.)
COCA-COLA – refreshing the world (Again, this isn’t about making the world’s most favorite cola, or any other product…it’s about defining the space they will play in and their playground. They will play in the refreshment space, worldwide.)
OBJECTIVE(S) – where you want the business to be 3-5 years from today. Use a five year timeline if your growth requires a lot of capital. Use a three year timeframe for all other businesses.
Objectives can be numbers like 500 clients, or $1.3MM in revenue, or increases of XX%. They can also be specific accomplishments – e.g. the preferred hearing-aide in North America, or the largest law firm in the city, or the brand on more sidelines…
No matter the format, your objective(s) MUST BE MEASURABLE. You need to be able to say “yes, we’ve achieved this” or “no, we’re still not there yet” one, two, and three years from today.
It also needs to stretch but not break you. It has to be big enough to force change, yet not so big it becomes unrealistic and overwhelming.
Your objective(s) must also be inline with your Mission/Vision.
GOALS – The bigger actions that must happen in the next 12 months to achieve your objectives.
Larger projects, department changes, equipment purchases/exchanges, reorganization – these are all examples of larger actions that need to happen in order for the objectives to be achieved.
Define 3-5 goals. (Tip: some teams find it helpful to define all the goals that must be achieved in order to deliver the objective(s), and then prioritize based on timing and resources. Some things must happen before others are even possible. Define and prioritize your goals in a way that’s best for you.)
Make it clear what must happen by when (e.g. new development team created, 8 months). And then, assign an owner. This person is responsible for delivering these results. They will own the goal from start to finish.
TACTICS – The smaller action items that must happen to deliver each goal.
Each larger project area will have multiple smaller actions or tactics under it. Define as many as make sense. You don’t need to list every single action, just the main actions that will deliver the goals. Each tactic should also have an owner.
(Note: this step is typically completed by the goal owner since delivery and completion is their responsibility. The leadership team can review and advise upon completion.)
STEP THREE: Get going.
Put your plan in motion. Start taking action. Don’t worry about making your plan perfect. It will never be perfect. You will come across things you don’t know…steps and actions you didn’t think of… That’s OK. Update your plan. Make changes. Adapt. And then, keep moving forward.
NOW’S THE TIME!
It’s planning time for most businesses making now the perfect time to create your one-page strategic action plan.
A one-page strategic action plan blends the best of a traditional strategic plan with the best of a playbook. It’s the best business-building tool around, yet very few businesses are using it.
If you need to move your business in a new direction, a one-page strategic action plan will help guide your ship.
If you need to empower and engage employees, a one-page strategic plan is the perfect way to connect the business’s needs with their individual needs.
If you need to drive results, a strong one-page strategic action plan driven by strong leaders is the best way to make action happen.
AMEND Consulting specializes in working with passionate leaders to drive positive, lasting change. We understand the power of a one-page strategic action plan, and what it takes to create one. If you’re ready to create a one-page strategic plan and don’t want to go it alone, we can help. Let’s connect.