Last night I was watching Die Hard 4.0 for the first time and one scene triggered some thoughts with me.
(Detective John McLane and Farell (nerd) are after the bad guy in one of the final acts.)
Farell (nerd): “Do we have a plan?”
McLane: “Findy Lucy [his daughter], kill all of them.”
Farell (nerd): “I mean more of a way to do that.”
First of all, McLane was emotionally involved and only thinking of the end result, not considering all risks. Further there was actually a goal, but not a plan.
Companies and their according departments create a vision, a mission and a strategy. But sometimes they forget what this implies for them. Vision and mission are defined at company level and further translated down the hierarchy. In best case, the entities lower in the hierarchy will not just copy the vision and mission, but will translate it into a version of their own and add their own interpretation, additions and departmental specifics.
Strategy means your actions and action plan for accomplishing your long term goal, your vision. This implies that you need to go further than creating a strategy house and distributing it in your entity!
How will you avoid that the strategy is deduced to hollow words and slogans? You do need to go one step further and ask the questions: how will we fill in the strategy?
If your strategy contains “we want to give the customer the best experience” ask yourself: What does a “best experience” mean for us? What does it mean for our customer? How will accomplish it? What are we going to do about it?
These actions will probably not be accomplished overnight, so you need a plan: an action plan, a commitment plan, a steps to milestones plan, … If you create a plan, you need to provide a way to check if you’re on target: define actions, set intermediary milestones, find measurements (KPIs) and plan a strategy follow-up meeting every six months.
Don’t forget: if you fail to plan, you plan for failure.