Monday, May 30, 2016  11:26 AM

Preparing detailed strategic plans is time-consuming and thus challenging. As a result, executives often end up presenting a high-level view of their strategies.

Unfortunately, implementation of such high-level strategies is often unsuccessful in the lack of details. As a result, executives using such strategies lose their credibility over time.

How can executives avoid this scenario? As part of my research on organizational planning, I’ve generalized strategic planning into the following steps:

Figure : S.M.A.R.T Goals

While the above steps look straightforward, typical challenges come from:

 -- A lack of quantified S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound) goals. This makes it difficult to align various perspectives that exist with different individuals and departments in a typical organization.

 -- Quantification of execution effort is a typical challenge for most organization given their organizational complexities. With unpredictable effort, cost and time overruns often drain out organizational's will power to change.

 -- Another common challenge is creating current, and target state design given the time it takes in doing so. Read my other post.

Learned executives realize the above challenges and look at industry sources to solve them. One typical response is to bring in consulting organizations, but the cost of doing so is prohibitive in most such cases. In all such cases, leveraging existing industry knowledge to help document their organization's strategy is a proven resource.

One such example from the insurance industry is the Industry Reference Blueprint for Insurance (IRBI). The IRBI provides three detailed reusable models, the Business Model, the Information Systems model and the technology model that successful executives are leveraging as a starting point to create more detailed version of their organization's strategy.

The Business Model in IRBI provides metrics and over 1100+ core insurance processes, roles, locations, events and data for facilitating the creation of S.M.A.R.T. goals and strategies. The Information Systems Model and the Technology Model augment the details in the Business Model by providing a holistic scope for any implementation and transformation.

Leveraging industry reference models and blueprints allows any executives, regardless of what industry they are in, to overcome the cost and time challenges typical to formation of detailed strategies. Just like IRBI for insurance, many other industries also have blueprints and reference models at different levels of maturity.

As the saying goes, successfully leaders do not necessarily do different things – they do things differently. Successful executives maintain their credibility by avoiding reinventing the wheel and yet provide detailed plans by leveraging industry knowledge in the form of blueprints and models.