The first step for any business strategy is writing a mission, vision and values statement. This important step clarifies what the organization is about and what it is trying to achieve. It also determines the values and guiding principles that are used to make business decisions. I believe this is the most important step because it sets the direction and drives performance down to the employee level. Without clarity and articulation of vision, organizations are at risk of distraction and steering off course.
Once the mission, vision and values are written, a strategic plan can be created. The plan identifies the steps needed to achieve the organization’s mission. Strategic plans can be written as long term (1-3 years) or short term (3-6 months). It used to be that strategic plans were written as far out as ten or even twenty years but because of the rapidly changing market conditions, shorter term plans seem to be more common today.
Business goals are written at the organizational level and involve high level goals that the organization as a whole is trying to accomplish. Goals at this level are typically what a CEO or executive level manager is accountable for to the board or other governing body.
Once organizational goals are written, these key objectives should be delegated to the next level of management. This is where the chain-of-command disseminates responsibilities throughout the organization. As a CEO has accountability for achieving organizational goals, his/her direct reports share the responsibility and employees help a department manager achieve departmental goals.
Departmental goals should be used to create employee goals so there is shared responsibility for getting things done. The more people who have accountability for achieving goals, the more streamlined the implementation becomes.
An employees’ job description should include their goals and should be updated annually to reflect goal responsibilities. This ensures accountability for goal completion as well as job description accuracy. Another benefit of updating annually is it ensure employees are spending their time on tasks that help with global strategy.
A well structured performance management process incorporates annual goals into the employee appraisal. Holding employees accountable at performance evaluation time ensures targeted employee performance and goal completion.
Organizations that are successful at creating a vision, mission and values statement and develops a strategic plan that drives goals throughout the organization not only experiences success at implementing the plan but also engages employees because they can see how what they do supports the mission of the organization.
Do you have a plan to implement your strategy?