Thought LeadershipSome of the most common strategic planning mistakes can be very costly. Any one of them can turn the process upside down. Below are some methods to ensure success:

Select the best planning team members

Consider carefully the selection of each and every member of your planning team. And keep these two criteria in mind:

  • Willing and capable of strategic thought – to assist in the development of your strategic plan.
  • Positioned, in the organization, to drive the successful implementation of your resultant strategies.

Educate the planning team members to the strategic planning process

Launch the kick-off meeting with a mini-workshop or documentation to explain the strategic planning process and its value. It will not just educate, but also build your team members enthusiasm for the process.

Understand that strategic planning is a process, not an event

Avoid the attitude of “let’s get it done and get back to work.” These individuals fail to integrate their safety strategic plan into the day-to-day operation of the business.

Adopt the attitude that planning is an integral part of the safety program. Once the strategies are detailed, they will become a description of work to be performed. So when you and your planning team “get back to work,” you’ll be working at accomplishing your strategies.

Involve employees beyond the safety strategic planning committee

Consider the following methods to include employees in the process, both for the benefit of their input, and to build their enthusiasm as well. For example:

  • Provide thoughts (through interview or survey) on issues to discuss
  • Assistance in gathering pre-planning information
  • Solicit ideas and input on their biggest concerns and recommendations.

Schedule the safety strategic planning process PRIOR to the annual company budgeting period.

Avoid trying to implement this year’s strategies with last year’s resources. Ensure the timing is such that your strategies “feed your budgeting process.” That way, you will be able to allocate resources in support of your strategies.

Gather relevant information for the strategy sessions

During the initial meeting the Safety Strategic Committee needs to decide on the information they will need to gather, and methods to communicate this information to each other, in preparation for their upcoming strategy sessions. The methods to share information may be exchanging documents in e-mails, but preferred is using ‘drop –box’ at a portal of information. At the front end of the agenda, conduct an information-sharing period where each person responsible for information gathering should present to the entire planning team. The intent is to build the knowledge of all on your planning team.

Move the strategy meetings off-site

Staying in the office results in numerous interruptions that are very disruptive. The quality of the discussions and the quality of the resultant plan both suffer. Meet off-site. It does not need to be fancy, but get away from the office and its accompanying interruptions.

Encourage communication, brainstorming and comments from everyone.

If you want to shut down on ideas, cut off someone s communication. Encourage opinions that differ or are outside of the box, as long as they are feasible. (We do not want to encourage pipe-dreamers). Welcome, input from all and ask open ended questions to encourage participation.

Be open regarding the strategic planning process

Be open with communication of the safety strategic plan. You will improve the implementation of the strategies for two reasons:

  1. First, employees will know what work is being done, and why
  2. Second, employees will feel more like “insiders.”

Utilize the strategic plan regularly

The safety strategic plan is not a document to shelf, rather it is a tool to give direction.

Conduct quarterly reviews of the strategic plan and more frequent reviews of your action plans. As a result, there is a link between strategies and safety program implementation.

Peter Drucker, the global management guru of the 20th Century, wisely advised, “Nothing happens until we reduce strategy to work.”