favorite song lyric of mine includes these words—“It’s not where you start, it’s where you finish!” These words keep me centered and focused. Now, we can apply this mantra to our business roadmap.
We have all been exposed and heard to Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), Policies & Procedures, ISO, and Baldrige Excellence. It does not matter what you call them. What matters is how they are distributed and what assurance you have they are action items.
Consider why it is important to do this?
- Changing business climate
- More competitors in the marketplace
- Catch failing processes and gaps
- Leadership changes, like succession movement
- Minimize risks with a solid plan
- Loss of market share
- New rules, regulations change quickly
- Identify where alignment needs adjusting
- Improve your existing market position
- Self reflection before customers begin peeling away or want more
- What is your essential reason? __________________________________________________________________
A mini-version of this is the VMP™ approach. It is an excellent primer to the larger process of strategic planning. Everyone participates. The process reinforces collaboration.
Many companies have annual strategic planning sessions for a three-day off site experience. To make optimized use of this precious time-meaningful and relevant-we must embed the follow-up that must happen to implement the discoveries and decisions that came from the conclave.
Often when a team is so close to the edge, it is difficult for them to see when they step over the side! An objective facilitator is the antidote to keep the event moving and productive.
What does this have to do with processes?
A positive start to your evaluation is to adopt a learner’s mindset. That will require all involved set aside their biases and contribute with fresh eyes and ideas. Begin here:
- Set a launch date
- Make a big deal about what you’re about to do. Create an identity for participants like T-shirts or caps. People want to belong to the excitement; that their presence makes a difference.
- Invite stakeholders from all aspects of the business including outside vendors who may or may not connect directly with your customers.
- Be realistic about time frame.
- Give the process at least a quarter to take root.
- Break the process into segments.
- Open the strategic plan:
- Assign portions to teams
- Have them assess how well each sector ties back to the major plan.
- Use the Baldrige Self Assessment as a starting point. There are several reliable assessments. This is the easiest to follow.
- ISO is another (more manufacturing oriented) evaluation
The ultimate benefit is the performance focus and a crystal clear framework.
The assessment provides clarification on business elements that can be overlooked or deliberately ignored until there is a tragic failure. Daily routines and even “best practices” can devolve into a grind. We can lose focus on what and why we are doing what we are doing!
Let me know how it works for you. I’m here to serve.
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