After a determination has been made where resources should be allocated to provide the greatest differentiated value to customers, a plan for leading and monitoring the execution is needed. An article published in the Wall Street Journal yesterday entitled “Strategic Plans Lose Favor,” discussed how the traditional strategic plan is becoming obsolete. Any strategic plan over ten pages in a three-ring binder sitting on a shelf collecting dust is not only obsolete, it’s dangerous. It’s dangerous because its presence on the shelf conveys a false sense of security to those managers who aren’t actually using the plan to drive daily activities.

One effective method of overcoming this challenge is to create a 1-2 page blueprint for the business. This business blueprint or StrategyPrint can help managers stay focused on the core elements of their strategy and the key activities to implement it. A one or two page document is easy to follow, easy to change and can be kept in sight on the tack board or desk for easy reference. Page one contains the key insights on the four areas of the business: market, customers, competitors and company. Page two then takes those insights and channels them into the goals, objectives, strategies and tactics that we will use as our strategic action plan.

Strategy needs to be a continual dialogue. A twenty-page strategic plan in a binder is a lecture, not a dialogue. What other ways have you found effective to link strategy to your daily activities?

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