In today’s functional silos, executive leadership defines changes in the strategic direction of the company, the customer facing teams plan customer experience improvement, and operational groups drive business execution improvement. The real debate begins with what needs to be improved first.
In a perfect world, all the priority initiatives could be resourced and executed at the same time. The reality is that each functional area attempts to chart a course that positions their number one priority as the company’s number one priority. Is there a right one to choose or is it really a function of who lobbies the hardest, and who has been waiting the longest? Could there be another evaluation criteria that could easily be layered on top of the business cases to help with the prioritization?
The answer is a resounding “yes,” additional criteria can be added to the prioritization efforts. In fact, most companies have already collected the necessary data to enhance the prioritization process. According to a Gartner study, 95% of companies are collecting customer feedback, but only 35% take actions from that feedback resulting in a failure to use the collected data to its fullest potential.
An effective strategic plan will define for everyone how the company will be successful and those milestones they need to achieve to be effective in moving the company in that direction. At the very core, it will define what the company wants to be, to whom, and how it will deliver value.
The strategic plan needs to not only include leadership’s visionary direction, but also incorporate customer feedback supporting that vision. Executive leadership and management then communicate the customer validated plan enterprise wide to ensure everyone is on the same page and moving in the same direction. Secondly, the plan should define how growth is going to be achieved and which customers value those improvements enough to pay for them by purchasing more, purchasing more often, staying longer and referring others.
A successful strategic plan will include: