Over the past few years, companies have approached the process of strategic planning in a multitude of ways. Two of the top models, which we will review in this post are Michael Porter’s Five Forces and the SWOT Analysis.
Michael Porter’s Five Forces model has been used for decades to analyze the competitive landscape and the approach needed to perform in the marketplace.
The SWOT Analysis model is used to identify a company’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.
Both approaches evaluate the mission, value, and vision of your firm, with the potential to update as needed for the future direction of your business. They both identify goals, objectives, and major initiatives for the near and long-term. And finally, the last phase is to incorporate everything into an action plan that outlines your next steps. Organizations invest a significant amount of time, effort and resources into these processes, all in the hopes of achieving a road map for the future.
Is Long-Term a Long Shot?
Looking at the corporate landscape today, these traditional approaches that center on the belief that a long-term strategic plan is necessary to be successful can actually hinder the success of a firm. Technology has and will continue to disrupt the way we conduct and manage our businesses. As a result, it’s simply unrealistic to think that we can define long-term goals and plans without room for flexibility. As your leadership team deliberates on the development of your long range strategic plan, the company next door is thinking about how they are going to disrupt the competition with the next product or service. Will you let another company steal the market share because you’re spending too much time focusing on a long-term strategic plan that may be out of date in six months?
In recent talks with executives, I have discovered a new trend in organizational strategy. Many in leadership roles are taking a step back and looking at their organization in a new and very different way. During these conversations, some of the top questions I hear include:
- Do I have the right organizational structure in place to support the strategic goals of the company?
- Do I have the right leadership team in place to help execute the action plan surrounding the strategic goals?
- Is my culture preventing the organization from being successful?
- Do I have the right talent on the bus to help achieve the desired results?
A Strategy for Change
These questions open an entirely new mindset, recognizing that organizational strategy is much more than a strategic plan. Culture, performance, and talent are all elements that must be considered and should align with your strategy. A strategy that is misaligned can quickly dissolve the original intent.
There is no crystal ball to reveal the exact path your company should take when developing your long range strategic plan. Leadership teams should not let the new dynamics of the connection economy intimidate them; rather they should embrace, adapt, and incorporate. Flexibility, agility, ability to execute, and the willingness to accept change are all key ingredients for success. Watch our on-demand webinar, and take a deeper look into this topic. We may provide you with a few gold nuggets to apply to your organization.