JOHNSON ON DISTRIBUTION MANAGEMENT: The Real Value Of Strategic Planning
I know some of you are so involved in fighting fires that you believe there isn’t time to develop a strategic plan. Some of you may consider long-term planning a waste of time. Some believe long-term planning is what you are going to do after lunch, and some may even believe there is no value in strategic planning because as the owner/CEO you know what it takes to be successful and all your employees need to do is listen to you.
Hello, you may be wrong! You may need to join this century. Times have changed; leadership has evolved. The days of the “Lone Wolf” leader at the top who dominates with power are gone. Successful privately held organizations have gone through the leadership evolutionary process. They understand that today’s leader must create change in the organization to meet the needs of their customers, to meet the needs of their employees and to meet the needs of their vendor partners. It involves a particular life-cycle change.
Strategic Planning Is A Platform For ChangeStrategic planning is a key process that adjusts an organization’s direction in response to a changing environment. It supports the fundamental decisions and actions that shape and guide an organization. A sound strategic plan can help define and focus a distributor’s efforts to move the company in the right direction, using the best methods.
Show Me The ValueI cannot emphasize enough that the true value of a strategic plan is not in the document itself. It is in the process of creating it, involving many of your employees from the bottom up. This empowers them to be more effective and better-informed leaders, managers and decision makers. Creating a culture that embraces empowerment and working together as a team is probably the most effective way to create success. The more people work together and take ownership of the long-term objectives, the more unity and teamwork become a direct route to success.
Time after time, I am told by prior clients that the real value they received from the strategic planning process was in the personal development of the strategy team members and the involvement of the entire company working together as a team in a team atmosphere. The results seemed almost automatic.
You Are Handicapped Without Unity, A Common Shared Vision And Ownership Of The PlanStrategic planning creates a team culture that is necessary for success. Working together effectively is not automatic. It takes a specific effort and the development of a culture that is supported by executive management. Shared experiences create unity and value. Knowledge transfer is essential for an organization to grow. Without knowledge transfer and the sharing of the planning experience, it is difficult for the group to share the vision and work toward common goals. More importantly, without the strategic planning experience it is much more difficult for employees to function together in such a manner that brings out the best in each other and the entire management team.
Create A Dynamic ForceIt is not a natural occurrence for employees to stop thinking of each other as competitors and start working as a team. It is much more difficult to accomplish than it sounds. However, it is a natural by-product of the strategic planning process itself. More importantly, it fills a vital need if you want to create or maintain competitive advantage in your business.
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