How Does Strategic Planning Integrate with Company Culture?

Article excerpt

One of your objectives when you are in the process of strategic planning is to show how everybody in your organization will benefit from the plans when they succeed. There will always be concern from some of your staff that they don't fit into your new plans. You need to address this issue, and if you are providing some guarantee that they do and will fit into the future of the company, this must be made clear right upfront.

Although the atmosphere needed for change to be accepted will differ from company to company, there are core leadership techniques that great entrepreneurial managers (I like to call them GEMs) use to bring about a culture that accepts and works toward change, regardless of the type of business.

Change is going to occur. You can't get around it. It's either going to happen by chance or by design. You want it to happen by design.

Strategic objectives cannot be attained without company leadership having a change management philosophy. Implementing strategic plans requires your company to change the way you conduct business, whether to a minor or major degree.

The basic company belief system must be compatible with the changes set forth in the plan or the company's environment will be in conflict with the plan. For example, if your company's belief system does not truly believe in customer satisfaction and one of your goals is a certain measure of customer satisfaction, the goal will not be achieved unless the underlying value system changes. But you must time it right. Open the lines of communication and involve your people in the integral decisions that your organization faces every day.

A shared vision among the troops is crucial to the success of your strategic plans. All your employees must be able to answer questions like: What are the vision and the missions for the company.

What am I here to do? What's my mission? What is my role in this organization?

If the secretaries and the receptionists don't have a vision of what the company is all about, how can they be integral and efficient workers in the framework of the new plans?

How many of you consider these employees integral parts of your organization?

Think about it. That person sitting at the front desk answering phones is your first line of communication with your customer.

Does that person in your organization currently know the mission and goals of your business and how their role leads to attaining the company goals?

All employees should know these things if your communications strategy has been successful.

There must be acceptance -- not only of strategic direction but, most important, of the urgency of strategic and operating plans. …