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The Drivers Model: The Secrets to Facilitating Strategy

Leadership Strategies has developed the Drivers Model, a method for taking a strategic approach to addressing a business situation. The model provides a simple communication tool for helping organizations construct a strategic plan. The model is fully scalable and applies to Fortune 500 companies, non-profit organizations, a field office, an individual department, a work team, etc.

There are four major steps in our standard Drivers Model. What follows is a brief overview of the four steps.

 

Step 1:  Where are we now? (Situation Assessment)

Understanding the current situation is vital to identifying the approaches needed to drive success. A full understanding of the current situation includes an analysis of several areas. The list below shows a sample list of assessment areas and one or two of the key questions to be answered for each.

·      Customers – What are their current and future needs? What are their perceptions of our performance?

·      Employees – What are their perceptions of our organization and how we can improve? How can we make them more effective in their roles?

·      Industry trends – What have been recent shifts in the industry? What shifts are anticipated for the future?

·      Competitors – How do we compare against our competitors? What are their recent and anticipated initiatives?

·      Performance trends – How are we performing by product, by market, by channel?

·      Recent goals and initiatives – How are we achieving against our plan? How successful have we been with recent initiatives?

·      Organization profile – What are our strengths and areas for improvement with regard to our organization structure, processes, technology, culture, etc.?

Often, planning teams summarize the current situation information into a SWOT: a summary of the organizations key strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

 

Step 2. Where do we want to be? (Strategic Direction)

The heart of strategic direction setting is this second step. In our Drivers Model, the information from the situation assessment is combined with the understanding of future trends to develop the vision statement and the mission statement.

·      Vision – the organization’s preferred picture of the future

·      Mission– the overall purpose of the organization (i.e., what the organization does, for whom it does it, and the benefit)

The second page shows a sample segment of the strategic plan for a trade association of meeting planners. While the mission speaks to “what they do, for whom, and the benefit,” the vision describes what the future will look like if the organization achieves its mission.

Vision

The place where meeting planners meet

Mission

To provide a forum for furthering the growth and professionalism of the meetings industry.

The strategic direction setting also includes the defining of goals and objectives.

·      Goals– the broad, long-term aims that define accomplishment of the mission

·      Objectives – specific, quantifiable, realistic targets that measure the accomplishment of a goal over a specified period of time.

Each goal has a specific set of objectives, as shown below for the membership goal.

Membership Goal

Maximize membership growth, retention and involvement.

Membership Objectives

  • Increase membership from 500 to 650
  • Increase average meeting attendance to 250
  • Achieve 10% committee involvement

The objectives establish the bar for the rest of the planning effort. All the strategies, action plans and investments should be focused on achieving one or more of the plan objectives. Therefore, it is critical that you select the right objectives for measuring our success. Establishing objectives is perhaps the toughest work in planning.

The planning effort also includes establishing Guiding Principles – general guidelines that set the foundation for how the organization will operate. Guiding principles are more than just a statement of values. Guiding principles also describe the actions the organization will take based on the values.

 

Step 3 – How do we plan to get there? (Implementation Planning)

Once the objectives are established, the next step is to develop the road map for achieving the direction. For the road map to be viable, however, it must focus on three areas in particular.

Critical Success Factors

  • Dynamic presenters with timely, substantive topics to increase meeting attendance
  • High awareness of association by meeting planners to attract new members

Objectives

  • Increase membership from 500 to 650
  • Increase average meeting attendance from 175 to 250
  • Achieve 10% committee involvement

Strategies

  • Utilize assessment survey and industry referrals to select quality speakers and topics
  • Revise new member registration process to ask desired committee
  • Hold quarterly committee fairs after meetings
  • Distribute new member list to committee heads
  • Implement PR program to report activities to the local media

Barriers

  • Inadequate process for getting new members involved results in burn-out of a few and low retention
  •  High membership turnover hinders consistent growth

·      The barriers to achieving the goals and objectives indicate those challenges which the organization must overcome to achieve its strategic direction. Barriers answer the following questions: “Why haven’t we achieved our goals already? What is standing in our way?”

·      While barriers address the challenges, the critical success factors identify those key conditions that must be met to achieve the goals. Critical success factors, typically no fewer than two and no more than seven per goal, serve as a guide for determining the strategies to be developed.

·      The strategies that are undertaken (i.e., the road map) must drive achievement of the strategic direction by controlling the critical success factors and overcoming the barriers.

An important activity at this stage is the prioritization of strategies to determine the items to focus on first. For each priority strategy, an action plan is developed which details steps, responsibilities, costs and timetables. The action plans can then be summarized to identify resource requirements and to develop a resource plan to meet those requirements.

Sample Resource Requirements

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Prioritized
Initiatives

Q1

Q2

Q3

Q4

Q1

Q2

Q3

Q4

Q1

Q2

Q3

Q4

1.

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2.

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3.

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Totals

$

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Step 4 – How will we monitor progress? (Monitoring)

Many organizations benefit simply from going through the process of creating a strategy. At this point, everyone is clear on where we are going and how we plan to get there. However, the key value to strategy development comes in the implementation of the plan. Unfortunately, all too often, strategic plans become space fillers on an executive’s bookshelf. To prevent this occurrence, we recommend a structured monitoring process every three-to-six months.

The structured review involves:

·      Assessing progress on strategies

·      Grading the current and projected performance against the objectives

·      Identifying changes in the environment, new barriers, additional critical success factors

·      Making adjustments to the objectives

·      Re-establishing priorities for strategies, removing strategies and adding new strategies as needed

While often a sobering process, this detailed level of monitoring provides a method for ensuring that the long-term strategy stays on the front burners, despite the pressures of the day-to-day business operation.

Sample Action Plan



Strategy:
S1. WE WILL DEVELOP A BEST-IN-CLASS PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT PROCESS BY UTILIZING AN OUTSIDE CONSULTANT.

 

Objective(s):
Supported
C1.  Achieve product development cycle time (approved concept to FCS) of 12 months for revolutionary/platform/breakthrough products; 15 months for products we start one year from now.

C2.  Achieve product development cycle time variation of 10% for breakthrough products.

Owner: Engineering
Deliverables:
  • Description of the recommended product development process
  • Results from testing the recommendations in two pilot programs
  • Plan for implementing the recommendations company-wide
Due Date:                    12/31/XX Person Years:             X Total Costs:                 $XXX,XXX

 

Action Step

Responsibility

Due

Cost

Person-Yrs

1. Identify potential consultants

Marketing

Q1

xxx

yyy

2. Select consultant

Marketing/ President

Q1

xxx

yyy

3. Finalize consultant contract

Marketing/ President

Q2

xxx

yyy

4. Allocate people internally

Marketing/ Engineering

Q2

xxx

yyy

5. Develop project plan

Consultant

Q2

xxx

yyy

6. Benchmark against other organizations

Team

Q2

xxx

yyy

7. Implement and evaluate first pilot program

Team

Q3

xxx

yyy

8. Implement and evaluate second pilot program

Team

Q4

xxx

yyy

9. Perform post-mortem and go live with recommendations

Team

Q4

xxx

yyy

 

Strategic Plan Terms and Definitions

Vision

A picture of the “preferred future”; a statement that describes how the future will look if the organization achieves its ultimate aims.

“The vehicles of choice for a value-focused world”

Mission

A statement of the overall purpose of an organization.  Describes what you do, for whom you do it and the benefit.

“Our mission is to provide the consumer with high quality, price competitive automobiles to meet their personal, business and recreational needs. “

Guiding Principles

General guidelines which set the foundation for how an organization will operate. 

“Responsiveness to consumer needs will be a first priority in our operations. Therefore we will…”

Goals

Broad, long-term aims that define accomplishment of the mission.

“Profitability – Maximize net income by increasing revenues and controlling costs.”

Objectives

Specific, quantifiable, realistic targets that measure the accomplishment of a goal over a specified period of time.

“Increase revenues by 12% in 1993.  Limit increases in overhead costs to 2% in 1993.  Achieve a 5% reduction in management staff through increased automation.”

Critical
Success
Factors

Major items or issues that must “go right” to achieve one or more objectives.

“Body styles that are pleasing to the public. Effective dealer network.  Successful office automation project.”

Barriers

Existing or potential challenges that hinder the achievement of one or more objectives.

“Inefficient northeast plant.  Price competition from Japan manufacturers.  Public perception of poor quality by USA.”

Strategies

Broad activities required to achieve an objective, control a critical success factor, or overcome a barrier.

“Establish partnership with Japanese manufacturer to revamp the northeast plant. Implement program to widely promote our success as a quality producer.”

Actions

Specific steps to be taken, by whom and by when, to implement a strategy.

“Initiate discussions with PR firm on Quality Promotion  BPC   2/1
Develop first draft of Promotion  AKO   3/15
Review Promotion internally and update   BPC   4/1 “

 

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