Strategy and Planning includes many initiatives that guide the business externally while reflecting a view of the company’s internal essence and create strong employee values and performance. This includes methods of developing and enhancing your business strategies, the optimal product platforms and ultimately determining how value is monetized. As important, this section includes initiatives that guide the ways people talent is treated, such as the use of empowered teams, skills improvement, and achievement recognition. This section improves methods of motivation, pay for performance and culture formation based on best practices and the successes of other world class organizations. There is also a laser focus on how we help improve customer focus through segmentation and reduce costs through process realignment and specific fulfillment initiatives.
As important, a successful business strategy development process should also include the ways an organization will continue to add value to the customer experience. While the product, marketing, sales and customer care areas are key drivers to the addition of incremental customer value, we believe the entire organization should be empowered to help deliver this. Without continued increases in value – delivered to the customer – the company will struggle to achieve the growth goals typically desired inside a strategic plan. Every customer touch should add value – whether that touch is made in person, indirectly or thru automation. Every aspect of the product and service development and delivery should be targeted to achieve the needs of the customer. In the examples below, you will see a growing trend to include customer value development and deliver within the elements of a powerful strategic plan.
In today’s challenging business environment, a clear and simple strategic plan is a key component to winning and growing. It is critical not only to survive but to thrive. Most executives will agree, and many precious hours can be spent on defining company vision, mission and values that are complex and overdone. As Lee Colan says in his book Stick With It, “If you are going to work on a plan, the plan should work for you”. Still, businesses and teams usually fall into one of the following traits:
They don’t have a plan.
They don’t plan well.
They plan well, but don’t follow thru on their plan.
They plan well and get going but are sidetracked by “fires” in the business
Each of these traits have tremendous risk and yet are easily overcome. Consider hiring a competent advisor. A great approach to a simple and effective Strategic Plan for most organizations consists of elements we may have all seen, and hopefully used as a unifying roadmap to success and growth:
“One of our most powerful pieces of critical advice: You need a really strong plan, because its impossible to implement at 100%. A Best Practice is to expect about 80% of implementation success – anticipating slippage for contingencies, resource disturbances and competitor reaction”
strategy roadmap no. 1
A Best Practice Vision Statement
STRATEGY ROADMAP NUMBER ONE: Best Practice Vision
Vision relates to seeing and looking, so vision statements are about looking ahead. Your vision statement outlines your business goals and where you're headed. A successful vision statement will be aspirational and a challenge to achieve. It will be future focused, provide the big picture and describe where your organization will be like in several years.
Here are some questions we can help you answer to help build a powerful vision statement.
1. Does our Vision outline aspirations to build incremental customer value?
2. Can we rally enough resources to communicate, explain and ‘make good’ on a vision statement?
3. Who do we serve and want to serve in the next few years?
4. What needs and value do we provide?
5. How do we do 2 and 3?
6. What is our desired legacy? To what reason do we do all this?
7. How do we want our associates/employees to feel about all this?
Check out these good examples.
Hubspot Vision Statement: (presented as numbered points): “1. We commit maniacally to both our mission and metrics. 2. We look to the long-term and solve for the customer needs. 3. We share openly and are remarkably transparent. 4. We favor autonomy and take ownership. 5. We believe our best perk is amazing people. 6. We dare to be different and question the status quo. 7. We recognize that life is short.”
Warby Parker: “To offer designer eyewear at a revolutionary price, while leading the way for socially conscious businesses.”
Prezi: “To reinvent how people share knowledge, tell stories, and inspire their audiences to act.”
TED: “Spread ideas.”
Alzheimer’s Association: “A world without Alzheimer’s disease.”
BAE Systems: “To be the premier global defence, aerospace and security company.”
Toyota: “Toyota will lead the way to the future of mobility, enriching lives around the world with the safest and most responsible ways of moving people”
UPS: “The enablers of global e-commerce.”
The BBC: “To enrich people’s lives with programmes and services that inform, educate and entertain.”
Check out these BAD examples
MGM Resorts: "MGM Resorts International is the leader in entertainment & hospitality--a diverse collection of extraordinary people, distinctive brands and best in class destinations."
Bad because: seems like they like themselves just as they are – this doesn’t provide vision
Gannett Newspapers: “GETTING IT RIGHT THE FIRST TIME. . . More Often”
Bad because: Too much wiggle room.
Enron Corporation: “We treat others as we would like to be treated ourselves....We do not tolerate abusive or disrespectful treatment. Ruthlessness, callousness and arrogance don't belong here."
Bad because: We know now that Enron didn’t execute (at all) on this vision statement.
Edelman: "We recalibrate brands to broaden awareness, reframe global positions and re-connect with core customers. Our business is to help you form relationships and effectively engage."
bad because: call us at cevoh and tell us what this means.
Of course, at CEVOH, we can work with your team to quickly and efficiently develop a powerful vision statement. These are some of the guide points we use.
Customer Driven. Serves the current and potential customer by outlining a path to creating value.
Directional. Serves as guide to organizational plans and strategies.
Specific. Clear and focused enough to shape decision-making.
Relevant and Purpose-Driven. Reflects the company’s response to the challenges of the day.
Values-Based. Implies the set of values that are required to support the organization.
Challenging. Inspires members of the organization to do great things and achieve a higher level of standards.
Unique and Memorable. Highlights what makes the organization different and why it matters.
Inspiring. Appealing and engages people to commit to a cause.
strategy roadmap No. 2
A Powerful Mission Statement
STRATEGY ROADMAP NUMBER TWO: A Powerful Mission Statement
A Mission Statement is different from a Vision Statement. While vision statements relate to the future, a mission statement relates to doing, and are about your day-to-day operations. Mission Statements should be about what a company wants to do now.
CEVOH works with your team to quickly and efficiently develop a powerful mission statement. We believe these guide points will help us expedite to a mission statement you love.
Mission Statements are customer centric. Again, the trend is to use every aspect of the strategic plan to build incremental customer value – this includes the mission statement.
They can be short, they can be longer. Better to sweat every word, and make sure the statement is edited for brevity, but if longer gets the mission stated more powerfully – that’s ok.
They are action oriented. “We will deliver” vs “we believe”
They an essence of measurability. “Each and every day” vs “we will strive”
They are memorable. They can include humor, be polarizing, and should be void of the latest business speak. “Rebellious spirit and Revolutionary Pricing” vs “our core competency”
They are realistic. Key departments in the organization are pragmatic and will use a realistic mission statement to guide their activities.
They are unique to your business. No one will relate to a generic type mission statement full of corporate jargon.
They are positive. Best to say you will make the customer experience better and be easy to do business with than to paint a dark and problematic environment you are going to solve.
They are adaptable. A successful mission statement will be adapted to product attributes, advertising and point of sale messaging. In other words, you will want to use the exact words in a mission statement in customer facing marketing materials and communication.
They are targeted. “We provide exceptional value for airline flyers” vs “we will provide our people”
Check out these examples of good mission statements.
AirBnb describes its mission as:
For so long, people thought Airbnb was about renting houses. But really, we’re about homes. You see, a house is just a space, but a home is where you belong. And what makes this global community so special is that for the very first time, you can belong anywhere. That is the idea at the core of our company: belonging.
Hubspot Mission Statement:
HubSpot helps millions of organizations grow better, and we’d love to grow better with you. Our business builds the software and systems that power the world’s small to medium-sized businesses. Our company culture builds connections, careers, and employee growth. How? By creating a workplace that values flexibility, autonomy, and transparency. If that sounds like something you’d like to be part of, we’d love to hear from you. You can find out more about our company culture in the HubSpot Culture Code, which has more than 3M views, and learn about our commitment to creating a diverse and inclusive workplace, too. Thanks to the work of every HubSpotter globally who has helped build our remarkable culture, HubSpot has been named a top workplace by Glassdoor, Fortune, Entrepreneur, and more. HubSpot was founded in 2006 and we have eight global offices with a headquarters in Cambridge, MA
Trader Joe’s Mission Statement:
"The mission of Trader Joe's is to give our customers the best food and beverage values that they can find anywhere and to provide them with the information required to make informed buying decisions. We provide these with a dedication to the highest quality of customer satisfaction delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, fun, individual pride, and company spirit." We buy direct from suppliers whenever possible, we bargain hard to get the best price, and then pass the savings on to you. If an item doesn’t pull its weight in our stores, it goes away to gangway for something else. We buy in volume and contract early to get the best prices. Most grocers charge their suppliers fees for putting an item on the shelf. This results in higher prices... so we don’t do it. We keep our costs low — because every penny we save is a penny you save.
Strategy roadmap no. 3
Shared Cross Functional Values
Shared Cross Functional Values
Successful organizations that scale results have shared cross-functional values. These values are very pragmatic and directly impact how customers are treated – so there’s alignment and common language. An example: Our Values: Respect is earned; Honesty is appreciated; Trust is gained; Loyalty is returned.
When you think of values, you must be thinking about increasing the power of your people assets. Many organizations have asked for our collaborative help with people assets. We use specialists to provide executive and management level evaluations and CEO briefings. We utilize our outside perspective and experience across many organizations to build effective succession planning approaches. CEVOH has also developed effective compensation programs and employee satisfaction studies. We also have extensive experience optimizing performance in a bargained for environment.
Check out these examples of organizational values:
Google Values: The company philosophy listed the following 10 values that Google holds to be true:
Focus on the user and all else will follow
It’s best to do one thing really, really well
Fast is better than slow
Democracy on the web works
You don’t need to be at your desk to need an answer
You can make money without doing evil
There’s always more information out there
The need for information crosses all borders
You can be serious without a suit
Great just isn’t good enough
Squarespace, which enables beautiful, easy-to-manage websites. The company's values include:
Be your own customer
Design is not a luxury
Good work takes time
Optimize toward ideals
Hubspot, is a software company focused on inbound sales and marketing. The company’s values include:
If thoughtfully implemented, a values exercise will greatly influence external customer value generation. Our guide post: every customer touch should add value – whether that touch is made in person, indirectly or thru automation.
strategy roadmap no. 4
Vision, Mission and Values Translated to Goals
Taking words from vision, mission and value narratives ultimately have to be adapted to goals. For CEVOH It’s all about ratios. We often recommend using several driver metrics together to create powerful compound drivers showing trends. We much prefer trended data instead of historical snapshots. You’ve heard the analogy here “trended data shows you where you are going, whereas historical snapshots show you were you have been.”
Getting really good competitive data is paramount to properly setting performance goals. If client goals are set too low, the competition will easily take market share. If too high, they will demoralize the organization. We take great pride in carefully identifying the proper benchmark goals for each unique industry and market. Your goals will likely be different than these – but here are some examples to get you thinking.
Aligning pricing with value delivered and with sales compensation drivers
Trended % of revenue from adjacent innovation (products and services)
And the same metric from transformational innovation
Net Promoter Scores correlated to customer segmentation, trended
Sales coaching hours correlated to sales employee performance
A variety of trended goals for first line sales managers
strategy roadmap no. 5
Develop Action Plans
How’s your alignment within the firm? Are major processes aligned or could it better? One of our most important strategy roadmap items is action plans. If processes are not aligned, the action plans will be disconnected – one department or team may do their part, but the hand-offs to another department are going to be compromised.
So, the major company processes need to be aligned and the departmental hand-offs in place for the action plans to have full market effect. We suggest an examination of the company processes by starting with the examine existing value chain. A good construct of a value chain would include these elements:
Identify customer needs
Develop product/service solutions to meet these needs
Deliver product and service value promise to fully satisfy demand – using a variety of channels
Price product/services to extract resident value
Fullfil products/services using efficient supply chain management
Bill and invoice customers in a “service positive” environment while including opportunities for after sale customer care
When major internal processes are aligned, the customer experience will be optimized. We Interview, observe, listen, map and verify current processes and approaches against global best practices.
In addition to improved customer value, our process alignment initiatives can identify opportunities to accelerate product /service delivery and revenue recognition.
During this roadmap step, we will work with your teams to develop alignment, include the customer perspective/experience and look for opportunites to discontinue some tasks that no longer contribute to revenue growth.
strategy roadmap no. 6
Milestones help you celebrate success, recast for failure, recognize effort
We believe in setting up a proper set of milestones that predict success. Milestones help you celebrate success, recast for failure, recognize effort.
A series of sprints, formal kick-offs, checkpoints, quarterly business development reviews QBDRs, campaigns, mock closes and results reporting will help your team rally to the goals being set. Breaking larger goals into bite sized chunks will help with continuous motivation – and also help clarify the adjustments or changes that are necessary.
strategy roadmap no. 7
So maybe your organization is running well and needs a tune-up. Or perhaps there is a disruptive technology that has appeared out of nowhere. Either way, some level of change is upon you. CEVOH builds and implements plans to help the organization cope with external forces. Disruptive technology is one of the most common external forces, but there are many others that cause stress on the organization.
Product life-cycle disruptions are becoming more common, as new options emerge for both end-users and customers. Supply side economics are changing, and it’s easier than ever for innovative companies to take market share from larger organizations. Quality and pricing standards in the marketplace can change quickly.
With external forces changing so quickly, internal approaches struggle to keep pace – without help.
We can provide guidance to help the organization react more quickly to a changing marketplace. We’ll implement change guidance teams that help empower employees, solicit inclusion, and help adopt contemporary cultural values. CEVOH will help you develop urgency within the organization to meet changing market conditions. Together, our teams will prioritize activities that make the most impact – quickly. And we’ll create a change management plan that greatly enhances your ability to compete during changing times.
Change Management: What additional capabilities, resources, tools or tasks are needed to work our plans?
And, with every change management effort we will help you put a governance structure in place. This will ensure the changes have maximum impact, are less disruptive and milestones are charted against the strategic plan.