Information Teams and Strategic Planning

By Sedgwick, Bill; Ewing, Esther | Information Outlook, March-April 2015 | Go to article overview

Information Teams and Strategic Planning


Sedgwick, Bill, Ewing, Esther, Information Outlook


EACH TEAM MEMBER BRINGS DIFFERENT KNOWLEDGE AND PERSPECTIVES TO THE PLANNING PROCESS. SUCCESS DEPENDS ON CREATING A COLLABORATIVE TEAM ENVIRONMENT TO ENCOURAGE SHARING,

Any team in any organization can benefit from strategic planning; by the same token, teams are also crucial to the successful implementation of strategic plans. It's very much a two-way street.

At Big Tree Strategies, we have conducted a 'at of research on what makes great teams, and we have found that truly outstanding teams new? four key elements to work together:

1. A clear sense at direction, and the knowledge that what they do is important to the organization and to all of them as individuals.

2. The involvement and commitment of everyone in a leadership position to tell the story of the team and build a motivating narrative. This narrative shook) engage the team, rein force the fact that what they do is important, and explain how they will accomplish their goals.

3. A commitment by an members to improve how they operate as a team and continuously team hew to be a better team.

4. A team culture in which respect and trust are the foundation of a team-wide commitment to performance and accomplishment.

The Intent of a Strategic Plan

A well-crafted strategic plan weaves through all four of these elements. A plan developed by a team in an open, involved manner can become the fuel for commitment and accomplishment But what is the intent d a strategic plan? Again, there are four considerations at play.

Purpose and direction. A strategic plan is all about focusing and clarifying the roadmap for the organization to follow, We tend to mink in two buckets: the first one is "business as usual' and involves those activities that keep everyday work flowing, and the second refers to "change items" that will keep the organization relevant in the future.

Strategic planning is mostly about the second bucket--knowing what we need to do in order to change. The challenge far most teams is that they are already overloaded with business--as-usual items. This means that finding the time and energy to commit to, and deliver on, the change items is a crucial aspect of the planning process.

A forum for dialogue, teaming and agreement. Top-down planning may be appropriate in highly regulated, comma no-and-control structures, but it is seldom the right approach for professionals from diverse backgrounds who have fluid business challenges to conquer Dialogue leads to learning, and learning allows for shifts in perspective The voice of reality. Strategic planning is not a free-form exercise All plans are creased within a context that may involve market needs, competitive moves, or changes in the environment, What's more, they are subject to similar rules (budgets, schedules and legislation come to mind). It's not unusual for many team members to spend time focused on their own work and role, but being reminded of the larger context is always valuable.

A launch pad for action. A strategic plan is a call to action. For a team, it should provide a playbook on what needs to happen over a defined period of time. It should bind people together and clarify who will do what and when.

We think of a strategic plan as a collection of project plans The structure looks like this

1. A statement of intent with metrics of success.

2. An outline of the phases of the work.

3. A "drill down" into the actual activities required for the first couple of phases. This should Include details of the activities, duty assignments (who will lead and who will contribute). timelines showing when activities will begin and end, and lists of resources that will be required for the effort.

Producing a Strategic Plan

What does it lake to produce a good strategic plan? For starters, consider these important factors:

A collection of valid intelligence. …

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