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The Cost of Not Accomplishing Your Strategic Plan

By Anthony Taylor - March 08, 2022

SME Strategy is a strategy consulting company that specializes in aligning teams around their vision, mission, values, goals and action plans. Learn more about how we can help align your team with our strategic planning and implementation services.

I want to talk to you about the reverse ROI of your strategic plan.

Now, reverse ROI is a weird term, but I just want you to think about where you are now, and where you want your company to be in the next couple of years. The only gap of where you are and where you want to be, is fundamentally your strategic plan. So there's a cost to accomplishing it, as in the investment you have to make, and then there's the cost of not doing the work.

My name is Anthony Taylor, I'm the Managing Partner at SME Strategy. We facilitate strategic planning sessions, strategic planning offsites for teams, as well as support them on implementation. When we work with teams, they have where they're at right now, they have where they're trying to get to in the future, but the only thing that's in the way is them accomplishing their plan.

Depending on where you are in your company's trajectory, maybe you're at $10 million, and you're trying to get to 20, or you're at $20 million trying to get to 50. Maybe you're 50, trying to get to 100, or maybe you're 100 million trying to get to 300. That gap that's in the middle is that objective or goal that you have. So let's say you're at $100 million, now you're trying to get to 300 million. Your strategic plan is worth $200 million to you.

Most of the time, when you are established as an organization, you've got the sales down, you've got a lot of those things, many of the challenges that you're facing are organizational. It's setting up your team, setting up your company, setting up your organization, setting up the structure, the leadership, all of that stuff to support the next level of growth and the next level of scaling. And so when people do strategic plans, and when they go through the exercise of looking at where they're at, where they want to go, what's going to get in the way, that what's worth hard money to them. And in my experience, doing strategic planning recessions for 10 years plus now, teams don't always think that their strategic plans and their strategic priorities have a cost to them. It's a cost of not doing it.

So for example, let's say one of your strategic priorities is increase organizational communication. For you I'd say pick one of your top three strategic priorities, take a look and say, what's it worth to you to accomplish that priority successfully? If we take the example of organizational communication, what's organizational communication worth to your company or organization? Depending on the nature of the company, they'll say it's worth $1 million, it's worth $10 million, it's worth $100 million, no joke.

If getting this one thing right is worth $100 million, do you have enough time/money/energy invested, that you're going to take that bet, that you're actually going to accomplish it? You're making the bet, whether you know it or not, because if you're trying to get to that place, and you're choosing that as a priority, you're betting on yourself that you've got enough time/money/energy to get it across the line. If it's worth $100 million dollars to you, why would you not invest $100 million dollars in time/money/energy, or less than that, to get it successful to the level where you want it to be?

When people think that it's just a strategic priority, they think this is like a great idea. Oh, it'd be really great for us to focus on this. But there's a very real ROI for you from that strategic priority.


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It's one of the reasons why I sometimes object to organizations that have too many priorities. I say to them "if you did this one thing, right, it would be worth so so much money to you. So why not just focus on that and get it all done?" It's the number one thing, get it done.

There's a cost of accomplishing your plan. And there's a cost of not accomplishing your plan. If you don't focus on your team communication, if you don't focus on your culture, if you don't focus on your staff retention, there's money being left on the table. There's opportunity being left on the table. There's growth being left on the table. There's a cost to accomplishing your plan, as in investing the time/money/energy to move it forward, hiring a facilitator, and then there's a cost of not accomplishing your plan. Most people don't think of the the opportunity cost of not doing it.

As you go through your strategic planning process and as you look through your prioritization and you look through where you're at now and where you want to get, really look and say "what's it worth to us to get this done right? And are we putting enough time/money/energy action in terms of quality and quantity to move it forward?" And if not, then you're basically placing a losing bet.

Front load the energy, front load what you need to do to make sure that it becomes successful, because it's worth however much it's worth to you. Strategic planning is not a pie in the sky, sort of hopeful exercise. There is a very real ROI for you, your business, your community, your stakeholders, your investors, all that stuff. So once you can get your leadership team to really understand that perspective, and you can get your entire company to embrace that perspective, that it's not a wish - it's really money on the line, you're going to get much greater results from your plan because it's tangible.

So try to get that specificity within your plan. Try to get that tangibility within your plan. Put an ROI to accomplishing your strategic priority, and it will increase the intensity and the focus of your team, I guarantee it. And so you're going to get better results from your planning, you're going to get better results from your implementation, and you're going to get better buy-in from your team as you move the plan forward. As you move forward, make sure there's always an ROI to your plan as a whole and a ROI for each strategic priority. It'll help your team focus.

I hope you enjoy today's video. Be sure to like and subscribe and be sure to drop into the comments. Let me know - what's your experience been? Does this blow your mind? Is it something new to you?

If you're looking for somebody to challenge your team, and be able to have you think of those conversations, be sure to reach out to us at SME Strategy. I'm happy to talk you through what a facilitation could look like, what the entire process from beginning to end would look like, and how we'd be able to partner with you on not only your strategic planning, but on the implementation to make sure those priorities and ROI stays top of mind.

So my name is Anthony Taylor. Thanks so much for watching. I'm the Managing Partner at SME Strategy. Reach out to us at smestrategy.net, and I look forward to sharing with you in the next video. Talk to you soo


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