Foundations are fundamental, basic and necessary in any undertaking or structure. Buildings have foundations, education has foundations and in business, strategic planning also has foundations. Foundations have the uncanny ability to preserve the structure of business or organizations and foundations do something else that is extremely important, they spread the load and stress to make the structure of business and organization stable.
Foundations are Fundamental
How does a business or organization create the foundation of strategic planning? This is a question that may cause our brain to be engaged in deep thought. How are foundations created? Foundations are basically created first by studying the locality where it is to be constructed. Is the soil soft? Is the soil hard? Or is it mixed? After which one decides which materials to use for the foundation.
There are parallels to this truth in strategic planning. Prior to the planning process, attention has to be directed in viewing the business scenario. This kind of viewing has to involve not only what can be seen visibly, that is the obvious, but also the kind of viewing where the nuances of the business scenario can be identified to the fore. To arrive at this end, business or organizations have to develop as the basic material a highly readable and understandable exploration of techniques that can match the mixture of deep analysis and intuition that successful business and organizations employ to their strategic planning.
Although the strategic planning responsibility is normally performed by the Chief Executive Officer, or by the Executive Vice President, it is never wrong to go against normal conventions. For the business or organization to maximize its strategic planning capability, the strategic planning responsibility may be executed by people in the business or organization that possesses the mind of the strategist. Oftentimes people in the business or organization who have no formal business education can go about creating ideas that create opportunities and solve problems for their companies.
The foundation of strategic planning is the people in the organization who have the mental agility that can be used to alter a business or organizations strength against the competition in the most efficient manner. Intuition and insight then becomes the basic materials in formulating and implementing a strategic plan. Apart from these, rational analyses form an integral part in the strategic plan. Rational analyses are the things can be communicated in an understandable fashion throughout the business or organization.
The Foundation of Motivation
People in the business or organization who possess the mind of the strategist cannot function well if they are not motivated first and foremost. Creating motivation then is the initial cornerstone of the foundation of strategic planning. No motivated people in the strategic planning staff, equals no stepping up to the next foundation.
Since the composition of the strategic planning staff or group is that of people who may be tagged as brainworkers and thinkers, business and organizations have to fully comprehend how these people will be able to do their tasks efficiently and excellently. They have certain characteristics that have to be fully comprehended to make them go the distance. Brainworkers and thinkers do not function well under coercion or intimidation. Fear, coercion and intimidation do not work as a motivational tool for them. They function at their peak through motivation.
This kind of motivation comes when there is an atmosphere of freedom and independence. Freedom and independence may be translated as the absence of prying eyes and the absence of certain protocol that may go against said surroundings. Motivation thrives in an atmosphere where they can express their insight and intuition regardless of what the initial results may be. In this kind of surrounding they can harness the power of insight and intuition and place it in its proper perspective in relation to strategic planning.
To fuel this motivation, business or organization should take the initiative to compliment these people not only through verbal recognition but to compliment them by allocating certain perks that will fuel in more motivation. Such perks make take the form of financial rewards, exclusive privileges and others that management may decide.
The Foundation of Innovation
Motivation is not all there is to it. Motivation can stagnate if it is not coupled with innovation. Innovation is the driving force that allows the motivation to be renewed and reinvigorated. This lets the strategic planning team, to do their mental calisthenics and stretch their mental muscles to their limits and in effect draw fresh insight.
In innovation the rule of thumb is that whatever is already in existence is considered as aging. So, the assumption is that existing product lines, markets, distribution channels, existing technologies and processes will sooner go down rather than go up. The mindset then of the strategic planning team is a planned and systematic sloughing off of all that exists, both things that are tangible and intangible.
The strategic planning team needs to have a constant innovation of ideas, thoughts, processes and other things that can contribute to the organization. Unwillingness of management to recognize this essential foundation of strategic planning may stun the growth potential of the business or organization.
While innovative ideas, innovative effort and innovative products may initially look insignificant compared to the large volume, the large revenue of existing business, business or organizations must commit itself to the systematic abandonment of the present in order to create and assure for itself a large volume and large revenue for tomorrow.
Innovation efforts also have to be aimed high. Innovation aims to create a new business rather than a new product, a new process rather than an improvement on an existing process, a new concept of value rather than satisfying existing value expectation. All of these innovation components help sustain a strategic team in its motivation that in turn fuels more innovation.
The Foundation of Implementation
Motivation and innovation will not accomplish its desired goal if it cannot be transformed into implementation. Implementation then becomes the final step in the foundation triad. The new ideas, thoughts, processes, insight, intuition and the host of new things that the strategic planning staff may create, has to be in agreement with implementation.
Implementation is probably the most difficult aspect in all three foundations. Not only is the difficulty in the actual implementation, the difficulty also stems in the translation of the motivation and innovation into a language that is easily understandable and in a manner that can be realistically implemented.
Strategic planning then involves the whole business or organization, not just a part of it. While the strategic planning staff does the brainwork, and uses the primary tools of insight and intuition to formulate the strategic plan, the other members of the organization then translate this plan into a language that would become easily understandable. The remaining members of the business or organization then would tackle the implementation.
However, the rule of thumb when we talk about foundations is that foundations have to be checked regularly and periodically. The foundation triad of motivation, innovation and implementation has to be constantly and regularly checked. Is the strategic planning team still motivated? Is innovation still the order of the day? Is implementation happening? If the answer is in the negative, corrective measures have to be done immediately.