Strategic plans become outdated the moment they’re created. Instead, create a one-page strategy map.
Having run the internal strategy consulting group at HP, and then consulting to both startups and big companies like Disney, Visa, Colgate, Medtronic and others, I’ve created dozens of strategic plans.
Business strategy used to be a clear and methodical process. No more.
Today’s disruptive technologies, social and environmental turmoil, and the pandemic, have collectively re-written the rules of strategic planning. This is especially true if you’re going after a new market, creating a new-to-the-world product or service, or reinventing your business model. Gone are the days of traditional plans and forecasts. There’s just too much uncertainty in the world now to be constrained by rigid planning processes.
So what do you do?
You create a Strategy Map.
A Strategy Map is a visual representation of your vision, priority strategic goals, and success measures that track progress. A good Strategy Map basically communicates what needs to happen to achieve your vision at a high level in the short, mid- and longer-terms – ideally on a single page.
Here’s a PowerPoint template that I created as part of my work at Praxie.com that anyone can download and modify to build out their own strategy map. The template includes the following categories, organized by what needs to happen in the short-, mid- and longer-terms:
- Vision – what’s the world you want to create in the future?
- Strategic focus – how does your strategy needs to shift over time?
- Strategic goals – what specific goals support your strategy?
- Target markets & customers – what markets or customers will you tackle over time?
- Solutions – what offerings will you provide and how will these change over time?
- Key risks & barriers – what risks or barriers might you encounter?
- Key metrics – how will you measure success?
Modify the categories in the template to suit your specific focus. And be sure to update the template regularly as you learn new things and as the world changes around you. That’s what modern-day strategy is all about in today’s disruptive world.
About the Author
Soren Kaplan is the bestselling and award winning author of Leapfrogging and The Invisible Advantage, an Affiliate at the Center for Effective Organizations at USC’s Marshall School of Business, a columnist for Inc. Magazine, a globally recognized keynote speaker, and the Founder of Praxie. Business Insider and the Thinkers50 have named him one of the world’s top management thought leaders and consultants.