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Developing or revising a strategy should be scary. Because strategies address how to deal with what you can’t directly control. It takes a leap of faith and re-imagination to develop a strategy. It takes both conviction and flexibility to implement the strategy.
For instance, how will the current changes in the health care market – regulations, payers and payees, patient needs – affect your business? CVS and Walgreens have developed new strategies based on the changes they anticipate. Their new strategies not only respond to their expectations for the future, but, if successful, will also redefine the future.
A strategy not only outlines what your organization will do, it loudly yells what you will NOT do. And that is the hardest part. You will most likely have to stop doing some things that have been operationally and financially successful. You will have to learn how to work in a different way. You might need to bring in new skill sets, or retire old, valued capabilities.
Employees are scared. (You, as a leader, are probably a bit scared as well). Implementing a strategy is scary. Employees nod and go on with their work. Or they don’t buy in at all. Will you be wasting resources if something doesn’t work?
Change is hard. And seeing an innovation or re-imagined future is even harder.
As we work with organizations to develop strategies, we simultaneously work on how to manage the inevitable change; how to keep the strategy current, how to keep financial planning and operations aligned with strategy. How will you add in a segment to your key meetings to review the goals that were laid out? In what manner will you have a monthly review to ensure that each of the principles still makes sense? How do you decide whether something isn’t working and a new direction should be taken?
Strategies can no longer be multi-year documents, which are revisited from time to time. The nature of business today requires that you learn how to build a vision, chart out the strategy and then incorporate the strategic planning process into your day-to-day operations.
Every organization needs a lone nut with great ideas, and its first follower to lead the implementation (check out one of our favorite Ted talks here ). Maybe one of those key roles should belong to you.