How do you write a strategic business plan so that employees will feel like they created (and own) it?
Learn why strategic visioning and planning allows employees to create a business plan they own so your company’s future doesn’t sit on the shelf.
Traditional strategic planning methods often fall short, yet the methods continue to be used
Most strategic planning consultants sit down with a client to create an agenda for the business planning process.
They decide who will be involved in the process and what the desired outcome is, including deliverables and future opportunities.
Then, information from these meetings is put together in a lengthy document, rarely to be opened again. In other words, the future of a company sits in a big binder.
What's wrong with this method?
The problem is most people don't care. The traditional planning process creates an atmosphere where people just go through the motions. There's a lack of ownership in the plan. People's input is not heard. They don't feel included so they're less likely to execute on the plan. On top of that:
- People come to meetings unprepared
- Ideas brought up in meetings disappear into thin air
- The end result is often not executable (or difficult to execute)
So the question remains: Is there an approach that truly engages employees while achieving the milestones for your organization's growth?
Introducing: The Ring Effect's "Strategic Visioning and Planning" Process
Strategic visioning is a process whereby participants co-create the future; it's highly collaborative and visual.
Strategic visioning is stretching your creative brain muscles and envisioning all the different possibilities—even though they're outside your current realm of operation.
Wall-sized templates take you on a (strategic) journey
I use a strategic visioning process that captures all the information from your sessions to create a timeline to see where you've been, how you got to where you are today and what your company is doing.
We spend time on creative brainstorming exercises, creating a vision for your future—then we come back and create practical steps to reach that vision.
Why is this visual approach so effective?
In strategic visioning, you're mapping everything out as you go along, creating a visual and graphic memory of the entire day's meeting.
You go from having blank walls to filling them with possibilities—everything is right in front of you. Employees like this approach because it:
- Increases communication
- Expands and improves comprehension
- Boosts energy and interest levels in the process
- Increases buy-in from the whole team
- Opens new thinking opportunities from different vantage points
- Lets them feel heard
- Make sense out of complex issues and concepts
What are some of the key components in these sessions?
#1: Visual tools
Visual tools are great for capturing information because most of what's being spoken about goes up on the wall. People can see that they're being heard. It focuses the attention of the group on the chart that's being created, reducing confusion. Visual tools are also effective at getting people who normally would not participate in the discussion to speak up because they see that they will be heard.
#2: Visual summary of your strategic plan
The visual summary is like a 30,000-foot view of your strategy in picture form. And it's on one page—a document that contains words, graphic images and drawings that summarize your strategic plan. It is tangible, so you can hold it in your hand or pin it to the wall of your office. It's transferable, it's easy to share digitally or in-person.
#3: Seasoned business professional as your facilitator
The ability to go from brainstorming ideas to an executable plan is difficult to find in one individual. I have worked in corporate finance and equity research and have extensive experience as a brand and business strategist. I bring right-brain and left-brain thinking to the visioning and planning process. I understand complex business operations and use this experience in your strategic planning process. I successfully guide groups through creative brainstorming and then sift through all the ideas expressed to find the one that will be the foundation for an innovative and executable strategy.
You'll also discover:
- How visual facilitation increases productivity (and why working visually benefits visual, auditory or kinesthetic learners)
- How having a plan and goals in place helps you use your resources wisely—employees, time and capital—rather than haphazardly completing tasks and initiatives that are not a means to an end
- Why an outside facilitator increases your strategic planning process effectiveness by setting ground rules and creating group consensus
- Why your profits have declined, why employee morale seems low or why you can't tell someone what your company's future holds
- How to tell you need a plan
- Why drawing pictures can help you create marketable products and services
You'll receive visual charts clearly mapping out your strategy
At the end of this process, all the charts are kept by your organization so that you have a record of what happened. I take all our ideas and create one visual chart (or set of charts) that maps your strategy. This is valuable because:
- It makes it easy to tell your story
- Your ideas aren't hidden in a huge Word document never to be seen again
- The maps are tangible and you can send them to other people in the organization
What makes this approach unique?
In short: increased engagement. You can stop worrying about people going through the motions at meetings, just because they're supposed to.
Typical strategic planning approaches use brainstorming techniques, but they don't tie them to reality—further decreasing employee engagement.
My approach uses a combination of right-brain creativity and left-brain business experience to harness all your insights into a usable plan that everyone has a stake in.
Are you an ideal customer for this process?
Small to medium-sized businesses are ideally suited for this process. Entrepreneurs or visionaries who like learning new approaches to strategic planning are also great candidates.
Call or email me and discover how you can start creating an engaging, shareable and executable strategic business plan. We'll talk about what you find intriguing about this process, your organization and why you think you need strategic planning and visioning. We'll also talk about how the process works and see if this resonates with you and your organization's goals.