Examining three distinct levels: strategy, plans, and tasks.

It’s crucial to differentiate between strategy, business plans, and operational tasks. Let’s illustrate this using the analogy of menus and food.

Strategy revolves around fundamentally understanding what we do and why we do it. In the context of food, it could mean defining ourselves as vegetarian or vegan. By making such distinctions clear, we not only clarify our business’s focus but also identify what falls outside our scope. Being crystal clear about our strategic objectives lays the groundwork for developing effective business plans. For instance, if our strategy is centered on veganism, our business plan wouldn’t involve purchasing meat to prepare beef bourguignon.

Business plans, in essence, outline how we intend to execute our strategy. Building on the previous example, if our strategy is to cater to vegan preferences, the business plan becomes the blueprint for achieving this goal. Just like the precise instructions found in a recipe book by culinary experts like Jamie Oliver or Gordon Ramsay, a good business plan provides clear steps and strategies for implementation.

Operational tasks encompass the nitty-gritty activities involved in executing the plans. These could range from sourcing ingredients to cleaning, mixing, and managing cooking processes.

It’s essential to maintain a clear distinction between these three levels—strategy, business plans, and operations. Combining them into a single document risks convoluting the process and diverting attention from crucial strategic decisions to minor operational details, such as oven temperatures.

I propose a structured approach involving three separate sets of meetings:

Firstly, a meeting to establish the high-level strategy—defining our core business and identifying what we don’t do. For instance, if we’re a plumbing business, we focus solely on plumbing services and refrain from venturing into electrical work or carpentry.

Once the strategic direction is set, subsequent meetings can delve into the implications and requirements for realizing these strategic objectives. This involves discussions on resource allocation, training needs, staffing requirements, and financial considerations. The CEO will document these discussions, and the board will approve them, ensuring alignment with our strategic vision.

Finally, regular follow-up meetings, possibly on a quarterly basis, will track progress on projects, address any challenges, and evaluate overall performance against predefined key performance indicators (KPIs). These KPIs serve as benchmarks for assessing our execution of the plan and our progress toward achieving strategic objectives.

Simplicity is key.

I advocate for simplicity at every stage. Just as a restaurant provides a clear menu divided into categories like starters, mains, and desserts, we should present our strategies, plans, and tasks in a similarly straightforward manner. Avoid inundating stakeholders with unnecessary details better suited for operational teams. Their role is to make informed decisions based on strategic objectives, not micromanage implementation.

In conclusion, while attention to detail is essential, let’s ensure we maintain clarity and focus on the bigger picture. Just as a skilled chef oversees the cooking process in the kitchen, let’s assign responsibility for operational details to those best equipped to handle them, allowing decision-makers to concentrate on strategic priorities.

Tim HJ Rogers
Consult | CoCreate | Deliver

I support people and teams to grow, perform and succeed unlocking potential as a partner Consultant, Coach, Project and Change Manager. Together we can deliver projects and change, and improve the confidence, capacity, drive and desire of the people we work with.

ICF Trained Coach | MBA Management Consultant | PRINCE2 Project Manager, Agile Scrum Master | AMPG Change Practitioner | Mediation Practitioner | BeTheBusiness Mentor | 4 x GB Gold Medalist | First Aid for Mental Health | Certificate in Applied Therapeutic Skills

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