Strategic planning is crucial to the success of any organization. It is that roadmap that leads the organization on the journey to success. When developing a strategic plan, Six Sigma methodologies should be woven into every aspect of the plan for continuous improvement and success. The process of strategic planning is a way to focus the direction of an organization, setting priorities, and identifying obstacles or opportunities which lead to prosperity and growth. Throughout the process, stakeholders will uphold the vision and values of the organization.
Six Sigma leaders must thoroughly understand the strategic goals of the organization when developing project planning. It demands methodical and thoughtful planning to ensure the methodology is effectively within the overall strategic plan. An effective Six Sigma organizational strategy is a combination of a thorough analysis of the competitive environment, internal capabilities, and a clear understanding of stakeholder vision.
Stakeholder vision and communication is key in the Six Sigma strategic planning process. Six Sigma leaders must take the time and opportunity to look at stakeholders in the eye, listen for their intention and vision, then ask questions that add substance to the process. Take into consideration when there is a short-term crisis, changes in board leadership, or leadership changes. Distractions can prevent the appropriate allocation of resources to the strategic planning process. Additionally, new leadership or board members may not reflect the same philosophies or priorities. Keep in mind the following steps in strategic planning:
Goals – High-level goals set by the executive staff, taking into consideration the Voice of the Customer (VOC) and Voice of the Business (VOB).
Strategies – Initiatives and/or best practices that directly support the goals.
Tactics – Projects that align with the strategic goals and strategies that are focused and clearly defined to get results.
Metrics – Be able to measure the results of the tactics. Must be quantifiable and sustainable over time.
Accountability – Teams must be accountable.
Planning is nothing without proper execution of the plan. Once the plan is established and resources are allocated, it is crucial to communicate the plan clearly and execute the plan. It is estimated that up to 30% of all strategic plans fail. Successful organizations use real-time performance tracking with constant monitoring to track progress. Monitoring must be accompanied by accountability and the willingness to adjust when the situation dictates. Execution, monitoring, and accountability will all help an organization to confidently executive strategies.
Six Sigma can actively support strategic organizational implementation. We understand that the better an organization manages processes and changes, the more successful they are. Six Sigma leaders must be actively engaged and connected during strategic planning so they can more effectively apply the methodology.
See discussions on LinkedIn