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  • Writer's pictureKaitlin Henze

Why do we need to think differently about strategic planning - part 2

Updated: Dec 25, 2023

Last month, I highlighted the 4 reasons why we need to shift from annual strategic planning to continuous strategy iteration. To help illustrate why continuous strategy iteration is so important and what it entails, take a minute to consider this…

It is December of 2019 and you begin your strategic planning process for 2020. You set 3 large goals to accomplish:

  1. Increase profit made from repeat customers by 25%

  2. Increase employee engagement score by 3 points

  3. Develop a new sales process for an untapped market

Then March of 2020 happens…customers pull back spending, employee engagement tanks due to anxiety about working from home, and the new sales process you wanted to develop is no longer applicable.

Given these circumstances, would you change your strategic goals? It seems like the obvious answer is yes, however so many organizations do not stop to think critically about their strategy throughout the year. They set it, think the hard work is done, and every team continues pursuing their individual projects or putting out urgent fires. Then you get to the end of the year and feel confused about the lack of progress.

If this sounds familiar, know that there is a new way to approach strategic planning using OKR methodology and design thinking. Continuous strategy iteration involves:

  1. Creating statements of intent for the year ahead that are based on your vision statement (annual objectives).

  2. Defining outcome-based metrics to assess your progress on a consistent basis.

  3. Prioritizing the work of your teams to focus on what will help you achieve your objectives.

  4. Checking in on a monthly basis to see if the work that you have prioritized is helping you acheive your metrics and therefore getting you closer to your strategic objectives.

People often ask me, "how do I know what my strategic objectives are?" It's hard to imagine what we want the end of the year to look like. Here is one of my favorite mindfulness based practices to conduct with teams to create their objective statements:

Meditation: grounding into your vision and tapping into your inspiration (3 min)

  1. Start by taking 3 deep breaths (4 count inhale and 6 count exhale).

  2. Continue breathing at a pace that is best for you.

  3. Now bring to mind the vision you have for your team, or the business that you desire to grow…

  4. What feelings arise as you think about this vision? What do you see yourself doing on a daily basis?

  5. If your mind wanders into tasks that you need to accomplish to make this happen, use your breath to recenter your mind just on the end state vision.

  6. Take a few final deep breaths as you open your eyes.

  7. Now write down words or draw pictures of the future state that you just visualized!

I have facilitated this shift in over 30 teams over my 3 years of being a certified OKR coach, and each time I am amazed at how the continuous strategy iteration mindset and methodology improves productivity and team effectiveness.

Contact me to learn how we can partner together to enable you to successfully achieve your strategic goals!


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