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Strategic Planning and thinking

What is a strategic plan?
A strategic plan is the formal roadmap that describes how a company executes its long term  strategy. A plan outlines where an organization is going over the next year or more and how it’s going to get there.


Visioning and Alignment
Find out what is corporate strategy, mission, vision and corporate values, the importance of each and why they are crucial to the success of a company.


8 Step strategic planning process
The 8 steps listed in this article will give you an overall view of the general actions that should be followed when putting together any strategic plan.


Assessing your mission statement
A mission statement is a statement of the company’s purpose or its fundamental reason for existing. The statement spotlights what business a company is presently in and the customer needs it’s presently striving to meet. To build a solid foundation for a successful business, it’s essential to have a written, clear, concise, and consistent mission statement. This statement should simply explain who you are and why you exist.


Evaluating your organizational values
More and more companies are articulating the core beliefs and values underlying their business activities. Strong values account for why some companies gain a reputation for such strategic traits as leadership, product innovation, dedication to superior craftsmanship, being a good company to work for, and total customer satisfaction.


Visioning: Forming a strategic vision
Forming a strategic vision should provide long-term direction, delineate what kind of enterprise the company is trying to become, and infuse the organization with a sense of purposeful action. Vision serves as a unifying focal point for everyone in the organization — like a North star. In fact, your vision statement needs to be something you can achieve at some point in the future.


What is a SWOT analysis?
SWOT analysis is a very common and a very useful strategic planning tool. It is simply an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Its an exercise often used by the team tasked with putting together the strategic plan to explore Strenghts and weaknesses of a company that are often called internal drivers as well as Opportunities and Threats that are called external drivers.


What is PESTLE analysis?
A PESTLE analysis is mainly involved with studying all the external factors that can directly or indirectly impact future long, medium or short term strategies. Its an acronym that stands for  POLITICAL, ECONOMICAL, SOCIAL, TECHNOLOGICAL, LEGAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL.


What is corporate culture?
Corporate culture at its most basic level is the sum of an organisation’s behaviours and practices. It reveals itself in big and small decisions as well as daily practices (“how we do things around here”) that tend to perpetuate themselves. Culture often goes unnoticed by employees (like the air you breathe), yet a healthy culture (like clean air) is essential to a healthy organization.


Communicating corporate Culture
This article lists the different types of corporate culture: Communal, fragmented, mercenary and networked.

Key messages in this article:
• Culture is created by organisations combined values and beliefs – 
• Culture at a local level is influenced by individuals – dept. managers/team leaders have a massive role in determining the culture of their departments – this needs to be consistent with the overall corporate culture.
• Physical Culture is determined by the workplace layout, but can influenced by adherence to dress codes etc.
• Values – Refer to the corporate and Brand Values
• Beliefs – Here Customer Advocacy and Role Modelling is key. The company's beliefs about its customers needs to be positive. Our beliefs about our targets need to be committed and enthusiastic to achieving them.
• Cultures change as the company evolves and matures – Power cultures are common in smaller organisations where the leader has a direct influence on all the people in it. A role culture develops as the company expands and the direct influence of the leader is less evident in all departments but can be rigid. In this article  we’re looking to create an achievement and support culture combined. This mitigates the negative impacts of achievement culture – overly competitive and uncooperative. managers have a big responsibility and role to play here as shown below.

A Manager's role is crucial in laying the ground for creating such culture. By providing support and giving their staff the answers and solutions they need to help customers.

Employees feeling very supported by their management team

Specialist/creative/genius - pushing and supporting staff, nurturing talents and directing them where they need to go

Encourage staff to invest more time into relationships with customers (Repeat customers - know them by name)

Getting staff's buy in that when they join the company, they are being part of something bigger that aims to change people's lives to the better.

There are 4 types of corporate cultures/customer organizations

Networked – (High Sociability, Low Solidarity)  PR, Advertising, Marketing
Fragmented – (Low Sociability, Low Solidarity) Consulting, Production line work, Cutting edge Research etc
Mercenary – (Low Sociability, High Solidarity) Surgeons, RAF, Army, Navy, Pilots etc
Communal – (High Sociability, High Solidarity) Blue Chip organisations, Contact Centres, BA, Virgin, Marks and Spencer)

Networked

Highly sociable at the top levels of management, invites to functions seen as a reward as part of the in crowd. Can be too far removed from the ebb and flow of the business at ground level. Can create divisions of ‘them and us’ (management and workers)

Fragmented

People often working to own personal objectives (at expense of team objectives). Communication can be sporadic and on a needs basis. Limited sharing of best practice can be a consequence of sporadic communication.


Mercenary

There is a process for everything, and woe betide you if you do not know it. Self preservation, covering yourself for everything you do and making sure that you do it to your potential, but can be in isolation to the rest of the business or internal partners.

Communal

People tend to communicate often and openly. However this ease of communication can often lead to mixed messages or miscommunication (slips of the tongue, discrepancy between what is said and what is conveyed attitudinally). Can produce not only inaccurate information in the store but also complacency.

 

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 Actions for managers to develop the ideal culture in their departments and with their teams:

We are aiming here to :

a) build sociability
b) build solidarity
c) mitigate negatives of a communal culture.

To build Sociability :
 Increase social occasions
 Reduce formality
 Limit hierarchical differences, increase informality
 Recruit compatible people
 Take care of those in trouble
 Encourage sharing of ideas, emotions, interests
 Think about the physical layout
 Develop competitor awareness
 Create a sense of urgency
 Create common purpose and turn it into goals and targets
 Stimulate the will to win
 Set demanding standards
 Address poor performance
 Move people around
 Reward people for action related behaviours
 Celebrate success… and demand more!

To build Solidarity:
 Regular update meetings
 Goals and Objectives
 System of Performance Management
 Clear business goals and strategies
 Newsletters to staff with updates of pipeline deals, new business etc
 Knowledge Management library open to all members of staff
 Defined and documented processes for all departments and roles
 Defined and documented procedures for all departments and roles
 Clear escalation routes
 Clear disciplinary guidelines
 Clear messages on view for all to see, i.e. posters, vision statements etc
 Secondments to other departments
 Regular knowledge share sessions

To mitigate Communal Culture Negatives

 Always remember no one is perfect
 Always remember Weaknesses and Threats in your store’s SWOT Analysis
 Differentiate Beliefs from Performance
 People’s Performance is a major CSF ( Critical Success Factor ) Beliefs are not enough

“Culture can be analysed as a phenomenon that surrounds us at all times, being constantly enacted and created by our interactions with others. The dynamic processes of culture creation and management are the essence of leadership and make one realise that leadership & culture are 2 sides of the same coin.”


Edgar Schein
Organisational Culture & Leadership

Corporate culture at its most basic level is the sum of an organisation’s behaviours and practices. It reveals itself in big and small decisions as well as daily practices (“how we do things around here”) that tend to perpetuate themselves. Culture often goes unnoticed by employees (like the air you breathe), yet a healthy culture (like clean air) is essential to a healthy organization.

A firm’s founder naturally places his or her stamp on the organisation — shaping the culture through early hiring decisions and policies, as well as his or her own values, communications, and behaviour. But most often, as the organisation grows organically its culture naturally changes and is allowed to evolve.

But, culture — and then subsequently employee engagement — is too critical to leave to the evolutionary forces. You must deliberately mold and cultivate a high-performance culture to drive engagement. And you can.

High-performance cultures are shaped around the following three components:

1. A clear, compelling corporate vision/mission. A mission, is a statement that answers the question of why the company exists: “What’s your reason for being?” It needs to inspire, inform business decisions, generate customer loyalty, ignite employee passion, and motivate discretionary effort. “Making money” doesn’t qualify as a mission, although profitability is essential to a firm’s survival. And although a mission does not have to reflect a “save the world” tone, it does need to be aspirational and clear enough to engage employees. Its mere existence serves as the organisation’s ‘North Star’, providing a fixed point to which the workforce can connect.

2. Shared organisational values. Core values guide employee behaviour and influence business practices as your organisation delivers on its promises to customers, employees, and other stakeholders. Core values answer the question: “What are your guiding principles, your authentic, enduring ‘rules of the road’?” Your business strategies shift to meet market demands. Your core values don’t. We have looked at Vodafone’s core values earlier today and will revisit these throughout the programme.

3. Shared accountability. High-performance cultures require an environment that encourages employee ownership of both the organisation’s bottom-line results and its cultural foundation. Culture affects everyone and is everyone’s business. It’s essential, then, that the entire workforce understands the core drivers of your culture and share responsibility for sustaining them.

 

 

A PESTLE analysis is mainly involved with studying all the external factors that can directly or indirectly impact future long, medium or short term strategies. Its an acronym that stands for  POLITICAL, ECONOMICAL, SOCIAL, TECHNOLOGICAL, LEGAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL. These are all mainly external factors.

The results of a PESTLE analysis are used to inform the SWOT analysis which in turn identifies the factors which may emerge or impact the strategy.

 

11


 

Translate into tasks for the project plan Strengths Weaknesses
Opportunities How do i use these strengths to take advantage of these opportunities? How do i overcome the weaknesses that prevent me taking advantage of these opportunities ?
Threats How do i use my strengths to reduce the likelihood and impact of these threats? How do i overcome the weaknesses that will make threats a reality?

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