Five Steps to Build a World-Class Strategic Organization
Updated: Sep 12
In 2014, I joined four friends to start a new healthcare company. As we sat around a table at Panera Bread in the West Nashville area, we were filled with anticipation for our dream. The vision was to create and build an incredible company where the lives of our patients were changed and our team members would have a place to bring their best, make a difference, and create a great life for themselves and their families. We knew the journey would be hard but we were up for the challenge.
Through my career I'd been part of and studied many different organizations from startups to multi-billion dollar companies in a variety of industries. I've seen some great companies and others…well, not so much. I know what makes an incredible company and what people need to be their best. I also know that in order to build an amazing company on a strong foundation requires intentional and committed focus. So, that’s what I set out to do…to build a world-class company on what I call the "Strategic Roadmap". This roadmap can be used with any organization at any stage of their lifecycle and includes five key steps.
Step 1: Crystalizing the Culture
We all know it’s important but greater than 85% of companies don’t have a clear culture that engages the hearts, minds and actions of their teams. Core to culture is answering several questions:
Why are we here (Mission)?
What will we look like when we’re living our mission (Vision)?
What will we not compromise, no matter what (Values)?
What’s our promise to our clients (Brand Promise)?
What is the focus for this year (Annual Theme)?
Step 2: Defining Your Sandbox
It’s important to know where you’re playing, who you’re playing with, and what makes you different. One of the greatest stumbling blocks to success for companies is trying to be everything to everyone.
Knowing your sandbox and keeping that in the forefront eliminates distractions and allows you to be laser focused on your products or services, target market, ideal customer and key differentiators.
In other words, what makes you the Purple Cow for those you serve.
Step 3: Completing a 360-degree SWOT Analysis
This allows the ability to identify the strengths and weaknesses (internal to the company) and opportunities and threats (external to the company). When done through a 360-degree approach where you’re getting feedback from a variety of people and groups, the ability to really understand your catalysts for success (strengths and opportunities) and potential barriers to success (weaknesses and threats) become clear.
Step 4: Developing Your Scorecard
In other words, create the measures to know that you’re winning. This is critical and an area that so often is missed. To do this best, first, you’ll want to identify your leading indicators, the daily thoughts and behaviors that lead to the desired results. Then, identify the lag indicators. Often these are your financial results.
Too many organizations and leaders focus on the lag measures first without giving through to the leading measures.
These measures will be an integral part of your ongoing evaluation and ultimately leader to the consistent refinement of your goals.
Step 5: Create Your SOGPA’s: Strategic Objectives, Goals, Priorities and Actions
The intent of SOGPA is to build alignment through the organization so every single person clearly understands where the company is going, what success looks like, and how they contribute to that success.
I prefer a 12 Week Year model for goal setting which is a great timeframe to execute but also establishes multiple milestone periods through the year on order to adjust as needed as situations change.
As I reflect on the last four years, it’s clear that the effort invested in creating the Strategic
Roadmap early on was a key to the success we achieved. By building on a strong foundation of culture, clearly defining our market and customer, understanding the accelerating and constraining factors, knowing what winning looks like, and developing vibrant SOGPA’s, the growth we created was greater than we ever could have imagined.
I was honored to have be an integral part of growing an incredible organization which started during a conversation at a Panera Bread in 2014. Today, I’m even more thrilled to be able to work with many, many companies in bringing this framework for strategic focus and alignment to them.
Success doesn’t happen by accident. By implementing these five steps and living them every day you’re putting yourself on a path for greatness. And, in the end, isn’t that what we all want to be able to say we were part of helping to create?
Live. Love. Lead. Leave a Legacy!
For more on the Strategic Roadmap and how this can add value for your organization, contact Jason at DrB@GrowingLeadersNow.com
Dr. Jason Brooks changes lives, grows high-impact leaders and builds high-performing organizations.
He has over 25 years’ experience in executive leadership roles from startups to multi-billion dollar organizations in multiple industries. He is CEO and Managing Partner of The Catalyst Leadership Group, a leadership solutions firm. As a bestselling author, speaker, and host of the LeaderThrive Podcast, he brings a heart for helping leaders of all kinds achieve their greatest potential and thrive.