Vision and Strategy
The task of defining a new vision or describing the "Why" and the strategies derived from it, is not only ascribed to the executional level of an organization, but ideally also takes place at the divisional and departmental level. Regardless of the altitude, it is often worthwhile to have the process of a new vision and strategy development steered through external experts. "But we know our market and our business best" you might rightly respond. The advantages of an external process facilitator lie in the ability to guide you with a neutral mindset through the entire process, integrate observations from a helicopter view and balance different opinions and interests within the organization - and if you involve different stakeholders in the process as recommended the last should sound familiar. If the participants turn in circles due to subliminal differences and endless discussions, this usually leads to a mediocre result to "get through quickly" – an important opportunity would be lost and resources of the participants would uselessly wasted. External facilitators ensure a goal-oriented process that starts with good preparation and enables an open and mindful dialogue contributing to the desired outcome – and ideally, they also bring in additional market and expert knowledge.
Balance between long-term thinking and short-term action
"So we definitely have to come to xyz€" or something similar is often how we experience initial conversations when it comes to defining a vision or north star. The development of the vision and strategy is a crucial element and foundation for the successful alignment on initiatives and resources subsequently. However, when the focus is purely on a short-term goal or a manifested number – be it from the pitch deck or the investor presentation – the long-term view is often obscured and customer needs not fully taken into consideration. There is no doubt on the relevance of driving sales and profit, but rarely has the fixation on a single number as the north star laid the foundation for successful (re)alignment on future direction.
"As much as necessary, as little as possible". Already at the beginning it is important to define the people involved in the vision and strategy process, integrating all relevant functions and perspectives. While one reason is to ensure the best possible outcome, another equally important aspect is to ensure the outcome being supported by the entire organization / area / department. However, please keep in mind that it is equally important not to overload the workshops, critically examining each person's role – also in the interest of their own resources.
Openness and transparency
Designing the process goal-oriented does not mean working rushing to a solution without looking left and right. Instead, sufficient time should be planned to develop different scenarios and evaluate them accordingly. Evaluate the scenarios for their implications and consequences. This also includes the question to what extent the potential solution fits to the company values.
All decisions made in the process, as well as the reasons that led to them, should be stringently documented and communicated transparently. This means that the can be referred to later or in the event of new stakeholders entering the playground.
Test and Learn
It is important to start initiating and implementing the agreed measures adopted as soon as possible. With this you are sending a signal that the decision is binding and that it becomes clear "we walk the talk". And even if not all measures can be implemented immediately – it is important to simply start and set a first scent.
This also allows testing the new direction and to adjust in case of emergency, if relevant framework conditions have changed. Of course, a vision should last for a few years, but that doesn't mean not making adjustments if there are good reasons for doing so.
Please do not hesitate to contact us as you need assistance in the process of developing vision & co in your organization. We help you on the entire journey towards the desired outcome in our role as process facilitator and change expert building on our expertise from different industries and functions.