After comparing several different options, the Gerber FCU Board of Directors chose ADVISA to lead their most recent strategic planning session. This was their third session during the past 10 years. While they knew that the time commitment and brainwork they devoted to defining dreams, analyzing threats and setting goals were important investments, they were surprised by the ongoing guidance for day-to-day activities the plan provides.
“I have been involved in probably 10-12 strategic planning sessions throughout my 35 years in business,” said Greg Zerlaut, Chairman of the Gerber Federal Credit Union Board of Directors. “This is the first time a strategic planning document has become a focal point that drives operations.”
“The marvelous tool is the Scorecard,” Greg said. “We have five major goals that are broken down into interim progress milestones. This has become the guts and core of our board discussions each month. It has evolved as a living document, as we have edited it several times for emerging issues.”
How well does is your strategic plan drive implementation and achievement of goals? You can learn more about our specialized approach to organizational planning on this webpage, or reach out to us here.
Market sensitivities involving customers and regulatory trends
Geographic insights to gain market advantage
Technology cooperation among businesses that also compete with each other
Standard marketing procedures involving positioning and communication
Supply chain initiatives to minimize costs
For Ashland’s markets described by Lambrych, advantage is partially gained by replacing petrochemical components of plastics with bio-based materials derived from renewable resources such as soybeans or corn. The science of such innovation is beyond me although Lambrych included some chemistry diagrams in his presentation – something he feels a need to do given his polymer engineering background.
Kevin’s challenge is defining and developing the market for such materials in the wind turbine business. While Ashland’s solution can cut costs with lower material costs and shorter production cycle times he still has to overcome strong risk aversion in an industry where a turbine blade needs to:
Last for 20 years
Avoid extreme costs of failure (imagine fractured blades flying at high speeds across the landscape)
Avoid unforeseen installation failures
This last point was highlighted by a common problem with existing blades involving lightning strikes and explosive incidents involving water vapor that ruin blade tips.
Ashland attacks these challenges using a Design for Six Sigma process that provides the necessary level of control for such market driven challenges with extremely high product requirements that must still respond to the ever-present need for rapid, efficient and robust business results.
ADVISA can provide value in this type of challenge through application of team building skills based on personality assessments. Understanding the risk orientation and communication preferences of your team members can facilitate progress on complex challenges. Achieving organizational alignment with new product plans solidly embedded in a strategic planning framework is a specialty of our strategic planning process.
Are you incenting the right behaviors? Are the activities you measure aligned with your company objectives?
“It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon him not understanding.”
- Upton Sinclair
By utilizing balanced scorecard metrics derived specifically from your organizational strategic planning you can begin to create true organizational alignment. People will do what you measure! If you are not measuring the right things your people will not do the right things. Performance metrics need to be formed from the overall objectives of the organization. They must be created from the top down. Too many companies try to start at the lowest level in the company and work their way up. With this approach it is highly unlikely that your metrics will be driven by your goals. Start with the end result in mind.
Most companies take a strategic planning approach that leaves them heavy on strategy and light on planning. Our strategic planning theory takes an inverse approach. The only reason to do the strategy is so you have a target and set of parameters around which you can build a good plan. It’s like trying to drive to a place you have never been before without any knowledge of where it is or and not having a road map to get you there. A good plan is like a modern day GPS turn-by-turn guidance system, it certainly needs a destination but its value is in how in guides you along the way.
The plan itself needs to be specific as to who does what by when. Do you have specific tasks with assigned responsibilities and stated time lines that can be measured and discussed on a regular basis? Most of my clients review their scorecard metrics on a weekly or monthly basis. The peer pressure, regular discussions and follow up create an environment where the strategy becomes reality. By reviewing the metrics regularly you can adjust time lines, realign resources or refocus effort before you run the risk of not completing the task and find yourself in crisis mode.