|Senior Associate Highlight – Timothy M. Stratman|
No matter in what work Timothy M. Stratman has been involved, it always seems to circle back around to agriculture and areas associated with it. Tim's first foray with agriculture was by growing up on a highly successful grain and beef cattle farm in the Midwest. Tim's father George was an early adopter of hybrid seeds and frequent high-yield producer and award winner. George's willingness to try new solutions transferred to his son and likewise has served him well. Even though Tim went on to a career in the US Air Force, rising to the top enlisted rank of Chief Master Sergeant, he ended up with a master's degree from Texas A&M University, one of the top agriculture schools in the country. While at Texas A&M he started the GIS laboratory in the College of Geoscience and became involved with remote sensing. Sometime after A&M, Tim was invited to join as a Director in a new startup company called Space Imaging, the first commercial high-resolution satellite imaging company. Tim's job involved starting up five different commercial lines of business, one of which was agriculture. The focus of the agriculture initatives were two-fold; precision agriculture and commodity crop yield forecasting. During the past four years, Tim has consulted on numerous projects (for his company, TIMSCO) with a number of well-known Fortune 200 firms and Global Marketing Insights, Inc. Tim and his wife Debby and three collie dogs presently reside in Denver, Colorado.
|Global Marketing Insights, Inc. Selected by ASRC Management Services to Lead the USDA FAS Business Plan Development Effort|
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) is among the biggest government customer for Landsat-like imagery and also pulls in information from other sources in order to stay abreast of daily agricultural changes around the world. Synergy is the key function for continuing to promote the use of remote sensing imagery. A combined activity with the FAS Production Estimates and Crop Assessment Division (PECAD), Arctic Slope Regional Corporation Management Services, (ARSCMS) and Global Marketing Insights, Inc. with JLB Associates combines capabilities to develop a business plan for FAS/PECAD to provide that synergy.
The business plan will outline a new approach calling for a single company to oversee satellite imagery acquisition for the FAS, focusing not on obtaining a certain number of scenes per year but on delivering specific information. The agency is hoping that a new approach will help them (the agency) use its budget in a more effective manner by providing information for the FAS/PECAD analysts as opposed to more data.
While there is not a specific budget line dedicated to acquiring satellite imagery, the FAS spends about $4 million per year on data products. That funding is spent mainly with companies that develop advanced products from raw satellite observations.
Brad Doorn, remote sensing coordinator for the FAS’ Crop Assessment Division stated,
“The premise of the new contract is that we need to be efficient, and see how we can use that money more efficiently and provide better service with the budget we have.”
The new contract, awarded by FAS to ASRC Management Services of Greenbelt, MD, took effect March 1. The initial value of the contract is $2 million to cover the last six months of the 2005 budget year. It also includes one-year options valued at $4 million per year. ASRC, a subsidiary of Alaska’s Arctic Slope Regional Corp., has several contracts in its portfolio for providing various management and support activities at NASA field centers. Global Marketing Insights, Inc. of Cleveland, OH, is responsible for developing the initial business plan to carry them into the future.
FAS will not direct Arctic Slope on which satellite imagery to buy, only crop analysis products to deliver. “I’m sure we will still be using Landsat data and still be using weather data,” Doorn said. “The real goal here is to have a contract with a company that gives them more flexibility to handle the acquisition of the products. The company will do what they feel they can do from a business standpoint, which should give them more creativity and allow them to be more innovative.”
“Combining the skills, knowledge, and experience of ASRC along with our practical, remote sensing industry business skills results in a strong team to assist FAS as they look to the future for additional data sources and information,“ stated Dr. Shawana P. Johnson, President, Global Marketing Insights, Inc.
|ESRI 2004 User’s Conference|
For the seventh consecutive year, Global Marketing Insights, Inc. participated in the ESRI User conference in San Diego. Global’s team members, Dr. Shawana Johnson, President and CEO; Ed Kunz and Pamela Ziss, Senior Associates; and Nicole Bellino, Marketing Assistant, attended this premier event, which highlighted ESRI’s software products and services through educational workshops, speakers, demonstrations and exhibits.
Over 600 conference attendees visited Global Marketing’s booth and were encouraged to participate in a brief market research survey.
Global Marketing Insights, Inc. collected 381, valid market research surveys. Global’s research team compiled and analyzed the surveys and graphed the survey results. This sample of 381 organizations provides a valid reflection of all the attendees at the conference, and an accurate overview of the entire GIS industry.
The largest market sector responding was the federal government sector at 20%, with industry a close second at 19%.
In response to GIS budget dollars available for 2005, 26% of respondent’s organizations were in the range of $5000-$25,000, with seven percent reporting budgets of $25,000-$50,000.
This research also provides information on on:
•Types of Imagery Used for Projects
•GIS budget allocation for software, hardware, data and mapping services
This research information is categorized by Federal, State, Local and County Government, Industry, International, Academic and Not for Profit.
For additional information, contact Global Marketing Insights, Inc. at: 440-879-3100 or email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
|Global Marketing Insights, Inc. Hires Team of Winter Interns|
There was no winter break for the four talented interns that participated in Global Marketing Insights, Inc. Winter internship program. They began their work with training in effective communication and professional business conduct as well as necessary marketing and sales skills.
The group members were:
Angela Rubertino, a senior at Boston College, Boston, Massachusetts. This is Angela’s third year as an intern for Global Marketing Insights, Inc. Angela will graduate in May 2004 with a Bachelor of Arts in French and Spanish with a focus in marketing. While at Boston College Angela is the Director of Recruitment for Boston College Dance Marathon, which will raise money for the Boston Children’s Hospital, a tourist and panelist for the Student Admissions Program, and an active member of Inter Varsity Christian Fellowship and the Boston College Dance Organization.
Christopher Kerr, a junior at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana. Chris will graduate in May 2005 with a Bachelor of Science in Management from the Krannert School of Management. While at Purdue University, Chris is a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS) and the Delta Chi Fraternity.
Shawn Standen, a junior at Villanova University, Villanova, Pennsylvania. Shawn has a double major in Finance and Marketing and will graduate in May 2005 with a Bachelor of Science from the Villanova School of Commerce and Finance. While at Villanova, Shawn is a member of the Varsity Golf team, president of the Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity, and a representative on the Inter-Fraternity Council (IFC).
Nicole Bellino, a sophomore at Kent University, Kent, Ohio. Nicole will graduate in May 2006 with a Bachelor of Arts in Nutrition and Dietetics. While at Kent University, Nicole is active in intramural softball and basketball. Although Nicole’s major is not business she has demonstrated a great deal of talent in marketing and working with clients.
Lori Standen, Business Relations Representative, managed the winter intern program.
Lori affirmed, “the team of interns each brought a unique quality to Global Marketing Insights, Inc. and I believe they learned necessary skills to obtain an edge while searching for careers upon graduation. They were a delight to work with, as well as an asset to Global Marketing Insights, Inc.”
Global Marketing Insights, Inc. is currently seeking applicants for the 2004 Summer Intern Program. Interested applicants should contact Lori Standen at email@example.com or (440) 879-3100.
|FORMULA FOR SUCCESS:|
GOALS + SKILL/KNOWLEDGE x MOTIVATION = PEAK PERFORMANCE
Why do so many organizations develop a strategy, tell their employees, develop materials to share with customers about the company’s products and services, only to be disappointed at year-end when successful results are not seen.
How does what seems to be “common sense” result in employees headed in different directions doing things that are not driving the organization toward successful performance? How do what might appear to be the best communication plans end in miscommunication?
Employees need to understand how they need to behave to accomplish the organization’s goals. Additionally they in turn need to understand how the organization’s goals can be accomplished while delighting the customer.
Employees need to know and understand what they need to do in terms of their own performance to move the organization toward the goal, while still staying focused on the customer. This performance must be measured, coached, recognized, and rewarded.
Overall the organization’s goals, customer satisfaction and needs and employee behavior must all be tied together with a “golden thread.” A bond that fosters good communication with clear direction, concern for the customer and employee, and successful organizational performance. This “golden thread”, then becomes the fabric of the organizational culture.
Where does an organization begin in the development of a performance leadership process? These steps will begin the overall process development activity:
1. Identify common objectives and behaviors by conducting interviews with key company personnel utilizing a predetermined list of questions that points at the organization’s overall strategy.
2. Ensure there is a continuity of performance measures by developing and communicating measurable objectives and behaviors.
3. Develop customized documents and tools for the organization. Use input from the interviews and customers (when available) and keep the tools and process simple and user friendly.
4. Review the documents with those involved in the process to ensure accuracy and gain buy-in.
5. Provide training on the performance leadership process for the entire organization. Vary degree of information by individual team’s involvement level.
6. Conduct follow up coaching and feedback with managers.
Components of Performance Leadership
Goals that support the organization’s business plan are essential. These goals must be clear, that is understandable and easily communicated, measurable, with a way of determining status of success. The goals must also add value to the overall performance of the organization, which when reached or exceeded, should move the organization forward.
Meaningful goals are aligned with the organization’s overall strategy and should be “stretch goals” in that they cause growth with individuals, teams, and the organization as a whole.
Skills and Knowledge:
This addresses initial skills that employees possess when they are hired into the organization as well as those learned through on the job training, formal training and/or continuation training in a technical manner as well as through outside degreed sources.
The skills and knowledge must be sufficient enough to allow employees to accomplish their goals.
The key area of peak performance lies in that of the customer and their perceived satisfaction. Performance should be focused on whatever it takes to reach the goal, while delighting the customer and keeping them in the line of sight.
The multiplier in this equation is motivation. This in not incremental, but exponential. Motivation through ongoing feedback and coaching conducted in a timely manner, with specific behavioral examples is what we mean. The company’s reward and recognition programs must be integrated into the expected goals and behaviors so one clear message is communicated and individuals are rewarded and recognized appropriately for things that drive the business forward and in line with their overall strategy.
Put certain percentages of employees into predetermined categories, (e.g. exceptional, above average).
Key Areas to the Success of A Performance Leadership Process
1. Keep the process as simple as possible
2. Evaluation of performance is based upon and consistent with the Company’s measurement/standards
3. Design of the process must have input of the end user. (e.g. Front line employee team, Team leaders, Executive team)
4. Design your performance leadership process as a living document, adaptable to change.
The performance leadership process and the standards developed with input and ideas of front line employees will help to focus on activities that exceed customer expectations and result in increased success.
An increase in revenues in the first year by 20%, second year by 50%. Increased customer service results and customer perception of your organization. Increased closed ratio from the sales organization. Increased employee buy-in and motivation.
Global Marketing Insights, Inc. is the leading sales and marketing support organization to the GeoSpatial industry providing all components within:
§ Organizational Strategic Planning
§ Sales Support via active sales plan development and implementation
§ Marketing program design, development and implementation
§ Market Research design, development and analysis
For additional information on performance leadership and customer satisfaction contact Senior Associate, Pamela Ziss at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|ESRI 2003 Research Article|
The 23rd annual ESRI International User Conference was a great success for Global Marketing Insights, Inc. Attending were Dr. Shawana Johnson, CEO; Susan Sinclair, Sr. Associate; Pamela Ziss, Sr. Associate; Lori Standen, Marketing Assistant; and Angela Rubertino, Marketing Assistant, along with over 11,000 other GIS professionals. The theme, “Geography and GIS – Serving our World,” led up to the much-anticipated ESRI ArcGlobe announcement. This revolutionary new application provides three-dimensional visualization and analysis on a global scale.
In just three days Global Marketing Insights, Inc. met with over 70 companies personally to discuss strategic planning, sales and market development, and market research, while conducting a large market research campaign. Over 750 companies stopped by our booth and we collected 600 market research surveys.
The market research campaign was based on a ten question survey regarding company GIS sector, GIS applications used, use of strategic sales and marketing plans, market research needs and usage and budgets for 2003. Based on the nature of the market research completed at the ESRI conference with approximately 11,000 attendees, a sample of 120 surveys or more is considered a valid statistical sample. Our sample consisted of 600 organizations and provides a valid reflection of all the conference attendees and an accurate overview of the entire GIS industry.
Over 26% of the respondents were from the private industry and 25% of respondents were from the federal industry. These individuals manage annual marketing budgets of approximately $40,000. Sectors included were: city, county, state, federal, private, international and academic.
Proactive Communication: A Foundation for Effective
Speaking and Listening
Communication is a skill that can both help and hinder (as when there is a “lack” of or miscommunication) an individual’s and an organization’s effectiveness. Global Marketing Insights, Inc’s. Senior Associate, Pamela Ziss, is currently working on a presentation entitled Proactive Communication: A Foundation for Effective Speaking and Listening.
The objectives of this presentation are to:
¨ Provide the basic components of the communication process
¨ Reinforce the need for formal listening skills
¨ Review the art of giving and receiving feedback
¨ Establish a personal communication style for effective relationships
¨ Increase performance and overall effectiveness
One of the benefits of proactive communication is a renewed level of confidence in your ability to communicate in interpersonal and group settings. This will then translate into increased performance and increased revenues. The individual will bring the organization to the next level through their newly acquired skill.
If you would like more detailed information or have any questions, please feel free to contact Pamela Ziss at (216) 643-6838 or email email@example.com.
|Global Marketing Takes Its Training Seriously|
Summer Interns, Angela Rubertino and Lori Standen participated in a number of learning events during their tenure this summer at Global Marketing Insights, Inc. headquarters in Cleveland, Ohio.
Specific workshops included: Strategic Selling, providing the background, methodology and tools for successful contact handling and sales; Financial Management, a workshop for the “non-finance manager” with a complete overview of business fundamentals; Trade Show, effectiveness and strategies; Developing a Marketing Plan, utilizing the tools and four “P’s” of marketing.
Lori and Angela actively participated in the ESRI User Conference in San Diego, California where they had direct responsibility for the exhibit and administration of the Global Marketing Insights, Inc. booth. They took part in a strategic planning business meeting in Chicago, Illinois, for the North American Baptist Association. Lori and Angela’s input and participation from the perspective as members of the X and Y generations was appreciated and used in the organization’s strategic plan and three-year vision. In addition, they participated in numerous client meetings from June through August.
These fine young women are definitely on their way to achieving the next level of excellence as they returned to their 2002 – 2003 academic year. Their contribution to Global Marketing Insights, Inc. and the benefits they derived from the company portray a win-win situation.
For more information on the above workshops and the intern program, contact Senior Associate, Pamela Ziss at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|E-growth: Strategic Planning for Growing|
By Susan Sinclair, MA, MBA
By its very nature, the GIS industry is one of visualizing, mapping and managing geographic areas plus understanding the integration and interconnectedness of such maps with information layers, geographic systems, and other geographic areas. Yet throughout the United States, companies involved in the GIS industry have been woefully slow in marketing their homegrown services and products to emerging markets in Asia, Latin America, Africa, and parts of Europe. The focus on capturing US contracts is a process that dominates the minds of American GIS managers.
Growing globally in the GIS industry encompasses a series of steps that need to be taken in order to succeed. The road to success, however, includes the twelve basic principles of international GIS marketing as well. These principles focus on marketing, negotiation, and business value systems or cultures.
The marketing principles for GIS are described as follows:
1. Every GIS marketing activity must be focused on the objective of relationship building - among individuals, brands, and organizations.
2. Countries that comprise emerging markets generally espouse a culture of trust in personal relationships as opposed to """"The System"""" - whether in government or in private industry. Therefore, be sure to develop personal relationships both in the GIS industry and with broader organizations.
3. Face to face beats facts to facts. Nothing in the GIS industry can take the place of personal meetings - neither e-mail nor faxes, neither telephones nor video conferencing.
4. Constant and consistent communication with GIS distributors, partners, and clients is a key to success, as it provides reconfirmation of the relationship. The minimum amount that such communication should take place is two to three times a week.
5. Market infrastructure and communities are of prime importance.
Word- of-mouth throughout the GIS field carries more weight than marketing campaigns; therefore, nurture strong relationships with the market infrastructure.
6. When marketing GIS products and services, identify the specific cultural system in which you are operating and act accordingly based upon these unique business and cultural values. Reactive cultures are found in Asia. Multi-active cultures exist throughout the Mediterranean, Middle East, and Latin America. Linear-active or task-oriented cultures occur in Northern Europe, North America, and in Australia and New Zealand. Reactive and multi-active cultures behave based on the importance and the value of individual relationships. In these societies, nothing is more important than the relationship - not even the task at hand. Linear active cultures put their primary emphasis on the task at hand. The potential for friction between these two points of view is obvious.
7. Remember: Asian cultures are reactive or listening cultures. They prefer to listen first, establish your position and intent, and then react to it in order to formulate their own direction. The preferred mode of communication is unique: monologue-pause-reflect-monologue. Don't break the rhythm!
8. Many cultures outside the USA value the group over the individual. The key to success is in understanding the group dynamic. Saving face, avoiding embarrassment, and defining the group correctly will determine success or failure.
9. There are as many as ten different ways that the Asians will say """"no"""" to your proposal, without actually using that word. Understanding this part of the negotiation process is the key to closing deals in GIS.
10. In many parts of the world, what is NOT said in a meeting is more important than what is actually said. Learn to read actions and nonverbal language. At least 80 percent of the true message is being communicated to you in this manner.
11. Expect only basic information will be gathered from non face-to-face activities in the international GIS arena. In many cultures, important and crucial information will be delivered only on a face-to-face basis. In Asia, embarrassing information will only be delivered in a private, one-to-one meeting. What is said in meetings is what is felt will be expected - not the reality.
12. Don't search for a """"silver bullet."""" E-Commerce and technology helps but will not do the job on its own. This is true even though some countries are ahead of the United States in the application of such technology, both for GIS and in general.
In conclusion, patience, persistence and cultural sensitivity will win you consistent and repetitive business over the long term. Be sure to stay in the game; too many U.S. GIS firms either never try at all or give up much too soon. Bring in experts who have a track record of successful market penetration in targeted international markets to assist the firm through the ups and downs of these regions. Employing staff members who are inexperienced in international marketing matters will simply prolong the time it takes to perform well there.
Invest sufficient money, be aware that there is a time factor involved before one sees tangible results, and do not expect a """"silver bullet"""" solution. China and other hot markets may look like gold mines, but successful performance will take time. Be on the winning team and stay in for the duration of the game with a winning coach.
The global market potential for GIS services and products is huge, growing at a faster pace than here in the United States. The number of global competitors entering the American market is ever increasing. Be sure that you and your firm are not left in the dust because you have ignored the international factor in GIS.
|Proposal Writing: More important now than ever before? |
by Dr. Shawana P. Johnson
The tragic events of September 11, 2001 have changed our lives forever. Like many other industries those events are impacting the geospatial community. Many organizations are receiving attention from government agencies that heretofore they had a difficult time gaining access to. Government funding is going to increase in areas which will impact many organizations that provide geospatial products and services. This means that your organizations ability to respond to RFP's will have to be fast and thorough. Take a few minutes to evaluate your company's proposal process. Does your company respond to proposals at the last minute by just throwing them together or by having several people work eighteen hour days to respond?
In an industry where well over fifty percent of the financing for major projects comes from government funding it is important to understand the ways in which to increase your win ratio on proposal writing and to develop a methodology to write winning proposals.
Get to Know the Client
The companies with the highest win ratios on proposals know the client and their project needs long before the RFP (request for proposal) hits the street. Many times the company has had an opportunity to technically assist the client in the development of the specifications of the RFP. Is that your company? If not, why not? Your business development team should be uncovering as many opportunities as possible in your target market for your organization to bid on while developing relationships where your organization's technical advice is sought after. If you do this you won't be surprised by RFP's that you didn't know were coming.
Proposal Writing Methodology
1. The RFP. Once you have an RFP look it over and put together the appropriate team who will be responsible for responding to it. Make sure they read it several times to improve the understanding of what the RFP is asking for. It is a good idea to make several copies of the RFP and have several individuals in your organization read it and be responsible for reporting back on individual sections. The readers should be looking for critical information in each section, which identifies the specifics of what the RFP is requesting and highlights areas of need where you know your organization can shine. Make sure readers use the same method of reading the RFP such as utilizing colored sticky tabs to highlight pages, which need to referenced, and writing outlines of their findings. All the readers need to reconvene, discuss their findings and develop a master outline for the proposal response as well as a list of questions they compiled.
2. RFP questions. Most RFP's contain a date, which states when questions are due to the contracting officer. If you don't make that date your questions may not be considered. Many times the government responds with written answers to each question as it was submitted. The response goes to everyone on the bidders list. If you don't want the competition to know who you are be sure to word your questions in a way which does not identify your company. You should obtain the answers to your questions in writing since a verbal response on a government contract is not considered binding.
3. Put together a thorough outline with your proposal team. The RFP should be your guide for developing your outline. Most government organizations will provide the RFP digitally and you should use it to provide the section outlines for your response. If you don't have a digital copy of the RFP use the important sections from the hard copy RFP to begin your outline. Add to each section important reminder notes about what should be contained in that section and about your own information of what you are going to respond with. These reminder notes in the outline should include how many pages the section is going to be and who is going to be responsible for the writing and evaluation of the section. As you write the RFP you can delete these reminder notes after you have included the information in that section.
4. Making a proposal schedule. Look at the due date of the proposal and work backwards from the due date. Make sure you include time in the schedule copying, developing the cost section, and several reviews before the final proposal is completed. Give your organization at least two days of extra time to allow for mistakes, which are caught at the last minute or the copying machine breaking, etc. This schedule should be sent to everyone in the organization so they know who is working on the RFP. Now here is the most difficult part of the proposal schedule-STAY with it. Don't let members of your proposal team be led astray to put out every day fires. Stay on the task at hand.
5. Managing the proposal preparation. Each RFP will contain a proposal evaluation section. This section will tell you which sections they consider to be the most important so you will know how to allocate your time. Spend the most time on the sections which carry the most importance. Meet with your proposal management team often during your preparation schedule to be sure everyone is on track. Use every opportunity in the proposal to demonstrate your organization's background on similar projects or your employees' background on similar projects.
6. Costing. Begin gathering costing information as soon as you decide to respond to the RFP. Be sure to use a spreadsheet to include in your budget. Make sure any assumptions you make in your costing you include as notes in the costing section so the client understands how you arrived at the numbers you provided. Check your costing section over and over again - the client will for sure. Make sure this section is easy to read using a font which is larger than the rest of the proposal.
One of the most common mistakes made in the geospatial industry is that you assume the client knows all about you and your company's technical capabilities because they have worked with you before. Legally, the only information which is to be evaluated is what is specifically in the RFP response, so, if you did not write down information about your company, it cannot be evaluated. You may have a great relationship with the manager of the program you are writing the proposal for but don't forget they have an organizational hierarchy to adhere to so your proposal should follow the RFP exactly.
Before you send out the proposal check it at least five times for spelling errors and consistency (font size and types). After you make the necessary copies make sure they are in the right order before binding and sending out. These may sound like """"no brainers,"""" yet responses are sent back to clients daily with these exact mistakes.
If you don't win, please call the contracting officer and set up a debriefing so you can understand why you were not selected. Apply the lessons learned from each proposal experience and you will develop a proposal response methodology that will produce winning-results more than fifty percent of the time.
Dr. Shawana P. Johnson is the President of Global Marketing Insights, Inc., which provides strategic planning, and sales and marketing consulting to the geospatial industry. Shawana may be reached at 216-643-6838 or email to: email@example.com.
|Strategic Planning and Market Research: Revenue Tools for the GeoSpatial Industry|
Excerpt from Paper, 2001 ESRI Conference
Would you ever consider going on a long trip by car without a travel plan and a map? Would you spend thousands of dollars on an overseas trip without utilizing books or maps to help you navigate in your new environment? Probably not. Then why do we businessmen and businesswomen run our businesses on a daily basis without a plan (a map if you will) to keep us on course and to assist us in making complex business decisions?
The answers to this question in our industry are varied from, “Those things (strategic plans) don’t really work,” to “We tried that once, paid a lot of money for it too, then it just sat on a shelf collecting dust—nobody really ever looked at it again. We just kept on doing things the way we always had.” The road to strategic planning and sales and marketing contains a great deal of obstacles and detours making it difficult for organizations to navigate the business highway to success. Developing highly effective strategic plans provides a map to ease your navigation troubles and warn you about impending business detours you may be faced with.
Strategic Plan Components
Strategic Plans are to help a company grow and move on to its next developmental stage. If well thought out and simple to follow a Strategic Plan will bring a disparate group of employees together and help them focus on a common cause as a team. There are typical growth strategies, which need to be followed in order for the plan to have a chance for success. They include:
· Expanding Geographic Boundaries.
· Creating New Businesses.
· Diversity in Product and Service Offerings.
· Increased Penetration.
There are hundreds of books written on strategic planning containing hundreds of definitions of strategic planning. What really matters is the ability of your executive management team in developing a common definition for strategic planning as well as, why it will be beneficial for your organization to implement the plan. Organizations are only successful in achieving strategic plans if the employees in their organizations can achieve the tasks needed for the strategic initiatives contained in the plan.
Why do so many plans fail? Typically they forget to include the people portion in the implementation process of the plan. Another major reason for failure is lack of buy-in by the CEO and/or Board of Directors. The CEO and/or President (as well as the entire executive team) must be part of the development of the plan. The CEO must be committed to the plan or no one else in the organization will be. The plan must also address the needs of the stakeholders of the organization such as your Board of Directors, the Bank, or any Venture Capitalists involved with your company. Our definition of Stakeholder is someone (or group) that can keep you in or take you out of business. Your plan must address the needs of these Stakeholders or they will continue to change the game plan on your organization. The most well written well thought out plan cannot keep up with company missions that change daily or monthly.
Most Strategic plans address the following areas in some form or another, such as the development of:
· Stakeholder Analysis
· Strength, Weakness, Opportunities, Threats (SWOT Analysis)
· Goals and Objectives
· Financial Analysis
· Budgets and Schedules
What the plan developers typically leave out of the planning process is a direct mechanism for matching the goals and objectives against the realities of the organization they are operating in. Goals and objectives of strategic plans must be looked at in terms of the current capabilities of the organization. In other words you must determine if the goals and objectives you are embracing in your grand plan have any chance of success given the current environment of your organization. If they do then you have not violated any forces such as people resources and financial resources. If the goals and objectives cannot be accomplished in your current structure then you must determine which areas you are weak in and ways in which to compensate for it. A simple “gap analysis” of your organization against your goals and objectives can tell you where you stand.
Final Crucial Elements of a Strategic Plan
Now what? Don’t put that plan on a shelf yet! “Measures of success” must be attached to each goal and objective as well as an individual assigned within in the organization that will be responsible for the completion of each goal and objective within a given start and end time. Does this mean every single goal and objective of the organization must be completed by an employee? Of course not, it means that even though an objective may be outsourced, someone in the company must be responsible for its completion. Without assigning the goals and objectives of strategic plans to individuals within the organization there will be little chance of success.
One more important element, which is often overlooked by organizations is the delivery of the strategic plan to the entire organization. The strategic plan must be given to all employees at an all-hands meeting and they must see their names or their departmental names attached to specific areas for completion. When they see their name or department name in a company wide presentation of the strategic plan they will take notice of the plan.
In closing well-executed strategic plans provide tremendous financial paybacks to organizations. Over the past five years our findings with over 100 clients who have completed strategic planning programs have typically experienced over a 20% growth in revenue in year one, an average of 50% growth in revenue in year two and almost 100% growth in revenue in year three.
Keep in mind the effectiveness and success of all business planning is only successful with dedicated implementation. Just like planning for a journey you can obtain the map but if you decide not to go on the trip the map becomes just another unused tool which perhaps will just end up on a shelf collecting dust
Dr. Shawana P. Johnson
President - Global Marketing Insights, Inc.