The Strategic and Business Plans are ready … What now? The missing link


many organizations, yours has spent considerable time developing a strategic

plan for the next 2-3 years or updating an existing one. You, and perhaps your

team, have spent a lot of time working through market scenarios, the

competitive environment, product development roadmaps or service delivery

options. As a result, you have likely looked at a number of financial models.

All of this work is the basis for the new business plan. So now you have a 2010

business plan – and given the current economic environment chances are it is

not business as usual. If it is business as usual – read no further. If your

plans or direction has changed or will change then you may have missed a key

step. What could that be?


may be missing is the very thing that will make your plan a success or a

failure, the single largest cost in the financial model, your people and your

partners. Before you start running or expect others to run for you:

Rethink “The Skills”


your organization is delivering service differently or selling new products,

don’t assume these can be done with the same skills used in last year’s world.

Some organizations cut all training and development during 2009, others

continued some training but was it forward thinking? Including a review of your

employee skills in the planning stages ensures they are able to help you

deliver on your new plan. Implementing training as early on in the process

means people are ready to run on the first day of the fiscal year. Taking these

actions as an after thought puts the organization behind the curve and the

first quarter ‘at risk’. Communicating upcoming changes, as early as possible,

to your partners and suppliers can help them gear up to support you without the

loss of valuable time.

Revisit “The Desired Culture”


mantra here at The PartnerFirm is “Culture | Behaviours | Focus | Results”. We

utilize a methodology for articulating the culture required to win by looking

at the fiscal year and strategic plans and calling out the behaviours needed

for success. These are behavioural skills, whereas, the skills in the

“Re-think” step above are hard or technical skills. For example, if the

organization is entering a new market – it’s critical to determine what it will

take to sell in that market. If the past or current selling style is

relationship based and the new market requires a more aggressive approach,

chances are, the sales team, as a whole, can’t deliver. Determining the

behaviours the organization needs demonstrated, by members of the team, can

become the key to success. Building this work into your planning process allows

the time required to ensure that recruiting is focused on finding the right

people, people that demonstrate the behaviours needed. Remember (culture -

behaviours) + (focus) = results.

Re-evaluate “The People”


next step is to do a gap analysis. Consider employees in every function and

determine whether you have any gaps in technical skill sets and put together a

training plan. Now cross reference everyone to the list of behaviours the

organization needs to be successful in its new business plan or strategy. These

are tougher and may not be trainable. As they say, “you can’t change the spots

on a leopard”. Create your list of behaviours (teamwork, customer focus,

collegial, high energy, entrepreneurial and so on) and then conduct behavioural

interviews with your people and partners to determine what, if any, gaps exist.

This is the best, bias-free approach to determining job and culture fit, even

internally. There are varying degrees of customer service, as we all know

unfortunately, but those who are truly good at it – actually enjoy it and live

it. Decide if you can live with the gaps people may demonstrate, if you

determine the gap is too wide – it’s time to get someone who delivers. Tough

decisions, tough times.



Re-think, Revisit, and Re-evaluate, there is one last MUST DO and that is

revamp. Revamp your existing recruiting and selection process to ensure you

bring people in by including behavioural interviewing to detect the behaviours

you’ve identified. Revamp your existing performance management program to set

goals that reinforce those who demonstrate the desired behaviours and clearly

identify those who do not (yes – you can rate performance in behaviours!). And

finally, revamp your rewards, compensation and bonus/commission programs to

recognize those that deliver. If left as is, these programs will work counter

to your change efforts by not focusing on and rewarding or paying for the “new”

way of doing things.

One last Caveat


is not just a process that applies to the troops. Leadership team members

should also be assessed. Nothing will tank a program faster than a leader that

is not on board.


leadership has new challenges in the current economic environment. As noted in

a recent McKinsey article “The range of possible futures confronting business

today is great.” Leaders must demonstrate, in addition to other behaviours,

flexibility, awareness, creativity, and resiliency in order for the

organization to prosper. Perhaps most importantly, they must expect and foster

the same from their teams.


The PartnerFirm's Human Resources Consulting Group has a unique business perspective, which combines leading edge HR concepts and bottom line business requirements.  We believe leadership has the single largest impact on the success of a any company. The unique programs and tools designed or delivered by The PartnerFirm, are always focused on strengthening leadership and organization capabilities. The PartnerFirm has developed a unique Leadership multi-rater feedback ass...

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