Successful strategic management involves three steps: Planning, Execution and Monitoring Developments & Progress. With strategic management, actions speak louder than words. Even effective strategic planning that yields the appropriate decisions can come up short on delivering performance improvements. Strategic Management is a more powerful means of optimizing the long-term performance of an organization. The last key to success is Repetition of the process.
A survey by Bain & Company indicated that Strategic Planning was the top choice of senior executives as a business improvement tool. In spite of its popularity, 20% of the respondents in the survey were less than satisfied with how well strategic planning met their expectations. Perhaps these users actually did a poor job with the planning process or chose an inappropriate planning model. Certainly some of them stopped after a successful planning and failed to follow through with the rest of the strategic management process. (Recent survey: http://www.bain.com/publications/articles/management-tools-strategic-planning.aspx)
Successful Strategic Management must not end with the final compilation of the strategic planning document
To continue to leverage the success of the strategic management system, the team repeats the planning process. With each iteration, they become more skilled with the planning tools. Furthermore, they become more aware of their capacity for effective change. Finally, they become confident in their ability to understand their business environment and make the right decisions for their future. Successful strategic management must not end with the final compilation of the strategic planning document. Once the strategies are chosen and the implementation plan is outlined, the entire organization must follow through. They must complete the execution of the plan’s objectives and the periodic monitoring of implementation progress and changes in the business environment. In this way, the managers maintain accountability for meeting their commitments and the ability to make changes to the plan as the environment changes.
Note: This post is the first in a series of posts from Tom Ambler’s article Strategic Management: 3 Steps to the Cycle of Success originally posted in Compass Points in January 1999. The next post in this series will discuss the first step in more detail.
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Tom Ambler is a Senior Consultant with Center for Simplified Strategic Planning, Inc. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org