Strategical planning • 7 min read

Pros & Cons of 3 different tools for Strategic Planning & Execution

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Great! You have defined your goals and outlined your S.M.A.R.T strategies on how to reach them (if you haven't, here's a guide to get you started). You have hopefully done this together with employees to enhance involvement and engagement (here's why this is important). If you are like any of the other executives and managers I have met, you are probably scratching your head now wondering "okay, so... what now?".

As you have probably just realized - the hardest part is not defining your goals and strategies, even if that's a process in itself, but its the actual doing, the execution. It is vital that your employees are engaged and that tasks and projects are aligned to your corporate goals - and that you can easily keep an eye on progress and deviations.

In order to achieve this, here are some tools that could help:

 

  1. A digital platform

    This is definitely my recommendation - living in 2020 (when this article is written) it's a necessity to provide a dynamic, digital platform for your organization to work and collaborate in. There are many smart features that will ease your work life and help you manage tasks, meetings, personal goals, corporate strategies, projects etc. 

    Here are some of the benefits with a digital platform:

    • Visualization: This is beneficial in many aspects; it eases communication, it raises probability of your work force so that it is much easier to communicate and is a visual way to convey direction, progress, ideas and so on
    • Alignment: By having everybody work in the same (digital) space, seeing the same things and each other's work, you can more easily align your work force and ensure that the right things are done, at the right time. From management to employee.
  2. Powerpoint/Excel/Word

    These are digital tools as well, and they have the possibility to share information and involve several people in one document. They are however not dynamic and tend to easily become "dead" documents. Think of it as a great plan that can engage individuals as the plan as created and presented, but it's hard to keep the engagement and collaboration up over time with these documents.

    Here are some of the benefits:

    • Price: These products are included in a Office365 subscription, so the pricing is rarely an issue.
    • Plug-and-play: These products are pretty straight forward and easy to learn, so getting started with a document won't require training from your employees

    Pricing and ease aside, here are some drawbacks I think is important to highlight:

    • Shelf warmer: As I mentioned earlier, these type of documents tend to become shelf warmers and are not very suitable for a dynamic, living, core process in an organization. Raise your hand if you've ever had a strategy or plan presented in a Powerpoint with engaging speeches from a managers, and then you never really saw the plan again?
    • Non engaging: We are many who have probably been stuck working in massive Excel files with several sheets, pivot tables and advanced calculations etc. or forced to write reports in Word, from scratch every time, only to send it somewhere without seeing the end result. Even though these tools technically does the job, they're not an engaging space to work in on a regular basis and they take up a lot of time.
    • Easy to overwrite. Even though its digital its still only a document, which can easily be overwritten by somebody or accidentally erased etc. How many versions and copies do you have of a document saved in a folder, "just in case"? it's not a very efficient way to work, and it's really frustrating when somebody has e.g. overwritten a shared template.

     

  3. Post-it's, whiteboards or paper

    Some of us are all about that old school approach, and I can't deny that my creativity gets better from writing on paper - but this approach is more suitable for workshops or bee-hive meetings where you quickly want to scribble down thoughts and easily show them to a group.

    But that's about it, as soon as you leave that meeting your sheets of paper will be stacked away, probably never to be looked at again. So it's not suitable for good overview and a living, adaptable, process.

    My recommendation is that you would use this for creative purposes, but then translate the outcome into actions and plans in a digital platform where the work can be executed.

I hope you found this article helpful! If you want help finding a suitable digital platform, or have any other questions, feel free to contact me!