The Importance of a Strategic Plan

The Gazelles’ One Page Strategic Plan is one of the most popular strategic planning templates available on the market today.

Created by Verne Harnish in his book, “Scaling Up: How a Few Companies Make It…and Why the Rest Don’t,” this approach to strategic planning is meant to help businesses simplify their strategic priorities and create a plan that is both actionable and effective for growth.

The 3 Tenets of the ‘One Page Strategic Plan’ Approach to Strategic Planning

Gazelles’ One Page Strategic Plan is designed to help businesses make the decisions that will best support their growth goals. The decisions can be broken down into the following broad categories:

1. Strategic Priorities

Defined as ‘Rocks’, strategic priorities define the actions and the involved stakeholders for the business’s quarterly activities. Executives are asked to complete a Core Values/Beliefs section, as well as a Purpose section, to define the direction of the organisation moving forward. Building on this foundation, executives then complete five ‘Rocks,’ or quarterly objectives, and assign an accountable party to each Rock. By limiting executives to five priorities per quarter, the Gazelles system is meant to encourage focus on the largest drivers of organisational growth.

2. Resource Allocation

When it comes to resources, the primary concern is the people necessary to execute the aforementioned Rocks. Executives are tasked with enumerating the people involved with execution, assigning accountable parties to Rocks, and determining the critical number of people necessary to achieve objectives. The purpose of the exercise is for executives to gain insight into the productivity and utilisation of their employees. Upon seeing how many employees are aligned with strategic Rocks, and how many are not, executives can reallocate employees to the organisation’s highest priority objectives.

3. Financial Viability

Here we explore both the key financial drivers of the organisation at large, as well as the financial impact of the organisation’s headcount. The One Page Strategic Plan includes current and expected financial metrics from the balance and income sheets, including revenue targets, profit margin, cash, accounts receivable, inventory turnover, and revenue per employee. By listing these financial drivers, executives can correlate the strategic priorities and allocate resources accordingly.

Building on the three themes listed above, Gazelles approach to strategic planning enables executives to explore a collection of key business drivers. These are broken down into organisational time frames: big picture, three to five years, annual, and quarterly.

Big Picture Questions:

  • What is our core mission, and what is our vision moving forward?
  • What is our organisation’s purpose?
  • What are our Big Hairy Audacious Goals? Where will we be in 10 years?

Three to Five Year Questions:

  • What are the opportunities and threats in our market?
  • What are our priorities over the next three to five years?
  • What are our financial targets over the next three to five years?
  • What is our brand promise in the market?
  • What are our Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) for this time frame?

Annual Questions:

  • What are our most critical priorities this year?
  • What are our most critical financial numbers this year?
  • What are our most critical KPI’s (key performance indicators) this year?

Quarterly Questions:

  • What are the objectives that everyone needs to be focused on, and accountable to, in our day-to-day operations
  • What is truly unique about Gazelles’ One Page Strategic Plan, and that approach to strategic planning, is the focus on growth. With this template, priorities are set with a special focus on the financial resources and the people needed for execution, which is why many people believe Gazelles provides a strategic planning format built specifically for strategy execution. But planning is only as good as the actions that follow, so it is important that once the template is complete, it is placed into an environment that allows for the assignment and tracking of outlined priorities.

Too many great ideas never quite make it across the finish line, because there’s no real way to keep everyone on course and keep everything on track. What does it take to actually guide these initiatives all the way through to completion? You’ve got to:

1. Get everything in view – so you can see what’s happening with every initiative, at every level, from the enterprise to the individual, in real time.
2. Get everyone engaged – with an easy-to-use platform that connects your organisation from the executive leadership to the project teams, keeping everyone accountable and on the same page.
3. Get every possible advantage – not only because you have the premier platform in this space, but because you can draw on the experience and best practices of our execution experts.

This is where I can help! Contact me today to see how I can help enable the execution of your strategic plan.

Let’s actually do this.


Learn more about Scaling Up’s methodology