How Do You Use Action Planning to Achieve Your Vision?
Your end-to-end process design defines your organizations capability to deliver your strategy and vision,. You’ll begin to see a number of gaps between your future state (the vision of where you want to go) and your current state (where you are today). These gaps will need to be closed and to do this we need to start action planning. How do you use action planning to achieve your vision?
How to Use Strategy and Vision
How do you use your strategy and vision, your end-to-end process design, and the action steps to make it all happen?
Strategy starts with a vision. Without a vision you can’t have a strategy, which is what transforms objectives into results. The vision is the target. Your vision answers the question “How should we view the organization five to ten years in the future?”
The “we” includes everyone in your organization. Everyone involved must be able to see the organization in the future and agree that this is the direction we want to go.
To Find Your Vision Ask Yourself A Few Strategic Questions
- Who are the stakeholders and customers today and tomorrow?
- What do they want today and tomorrow?
- When do they want it?
- What choices do they have today and tomorrow?
- What must we do to satisfy them today and tomorrow?
- Who will be responsible for these actions?
- How much will it cost?
The answers to strategic questions like these can provide you with some ideas about what the future looks like. Your vision is now forming. Don’t worry if it is not crystal clear yet; we have some time to clarify it before we’re done.
SWOT stands for “Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats”. These are comprised of various internal and external pluses and minuses. What is good and bad about your company, employees, products, markets, industry, or country you operate within?
Review Your Internal Strengths and Weaknesses
- They are your internal issues.
- These are things you have some control over.
- What are you good or bad at?
- Where does your profit come from and where do you lose money?
Answers to these questions begin to form a basis for your strategies.
Next, Your External Opportunities and Threats
- Are usually outside your control
- What is the latest trend in your industry?
- Are regulations increasing or decreasing (hint: government laws, like taxes, generally increase over time)?
- What are some significant competitive threats you face?
- How is quality changing your industry?
From the SWOT Start Action Planning
Start by making a list of all of the gaps that need to be resolved and then brainstorm around each item to determine possible solutions. Assign each solution to a team member and then meet again in a week or two to discuss the results. What you have created is an action list organized around your strategy.
Remember our end-to-end process above? Some of the things that should be on your action list include:
- Cost of inquiries or leads are too high
- Sales conversion is too low
- % on-time delivery is too low
- Improvement projects are too focused on manufacturing
Finalizing Your Strategy
When your team meets again it will be time to decide on your strategy. Some of the proposed solutions will be easy, some hard. Some will take years to implement and some can happen quickly. That is okay because strategy takes years. We can’t change overnight. The important thing to produce is a direction, a target (your vision), and a plan on how to get there.
The final step is to condense the process and what you have learned into a presentation for the world. You will need to tell your customers, employees, other management, shareholders, suppliers, and anyone else. So, you will need a presentation that can be modified. Your presentation is your story of the future.
People love and remember stories so tell a good one. I am not talking about a dry presentation of the schedule and the tasks to be completed, but one that tells others what your future looks like. Tell it in a way so that people can experience your vision and you will get their buy-in. Engage the listener’s senses.
Using Strategy to Achieve Your Vision
How do you know if your strategy aligns with your vision? If it does then you should be creating compelling new product/service offerings for your customers, providing product delivery as defined by your customers, generating attractive returns for your stakeholders, developing the best place to work for our employees, and operating value-creating partnerships with your suppliers. In short, you should be seeing success in multiple areas of your organization.
Now you know that your strategy is working. If it continues over time, then it’s aligned with your vision too. If you notice opportunities for improvement, then that is great as well. Now you have a focus of what to work on in the future. Either way, you now have a strategy for your business model.