A strategic plan that is static, remains on the shelf, not updated and not used for daily decision making is worthless. We have found that a Strategy Playbook (similar to a sports playbook) or Blueprint (similar to a house blueprint) is a way successful organizations ensure that the strategy is dynamic, updated regularly and used in daily decision making.
Strategy deployment requires continuous reinforcement and always asking the question “does that decision reflect our strategic direction?” If there are more “no’s” than in the past, that is a signal that it is used!
We share two scenarios in which a client developed and deployed a new strategy using our Strategy Playbooks/Blueprints.
A client with global operations wanted to double revenues and dramatically increase profitability. They decided that organic growth would only achieve such targets if they sold services to support their products. Their customers repeatedly asked for service support to implement their products so the client knew the demand was there. The challenge was that selling products is a VERY different business from selling services. Selling products requires deep product knowledge, but not strong customer relationships. Selling services required strong customer relationships and a different mindset for delivering those services. The client knew it would take 3-4 years to make the strategic and culture shift. When the VP of Services initially went into the field operations, he was frustrated because few understood what he wanted to do.
We worked with a core team of global representatives to develop a Blueprint of what it would be like to operate in the new business in 1 year and another version of 3 years later. Implementation was intense communication and translation of what the Blueprint meant. Each employee was asked what he/she was going to do differently to implement the Blueprint. The supervisors led that translation discussion and corrected the course of the discussion to ensure everyone understood.
At the end of three years, we audited the organization against the results as originally outlined in the Blueprint. The results were impressive. The VP of Services indicated, “the most significant change was that everyone was using the same terminology and metrics throughout the organization. That made my job successful.”
One of the global pharma giants had acquired 5 companies and let them operate independently for 3 years. To achieve economies of scale, the client wanted to integrate the pharma operations of over 20,000 global employees. With the global strategic planning task force, we developed a cohesive strategy and implementation plan (A Blueprint) to align operations with the recently redesigned business processes in sales and R&D.
The initial roll out was to the top 100 managers globally, and the implementation was cascaded through the organization to ensure thorough and accurate understanding of the Blueprint direction and the impact on their jobs, behavior and decision making. The implementation enabled the organization to achieve their aggressive growth and market goals.