Top down strategy is dead, but executives still have to lead, and they do so by setting forth strategic plans. Those strategic plans help guide how even the most complex companies behave. Strategy will always matter most, but in the digital era, where we have unprecedented levels of communication and connection with our co-workers, the most effective strategy planning is executed holistically rather than from the top-down. The most important question then, is how does the digital era affect strategic planning?
Meet Social Strategy:Or Strategic Plans Gone Digital
Even social businesses (e.g. KickStarter, which relies on a crowdsourcing-as-service model) fail to bring social strategies into the boardroom. For most organizations, “social” means nothing more than CRM, marketing, and product feedback cycles. Few realize the exponential rewards that are hidden within every company’s “Collective Consciousness,” which is precisely what digital era strategy leaders need to tap into.
Imagine a business where every employee, customer, executive, board member, and investor could share his/her perspective on the organization’s performance with the CEO before the next strategic planning session. Pretend for a moment, that the executive leadership team collaborated and strategically planned around up-to-the-second data that accurately reflected the business’s health.
Stop imagining! The age of social strategic planning is here, and it all starts by connecting every part of a business; here we say by connecting all 9Lenses of a business. Business leaders need to find social tools that don’t just collect data, but organize it and make it meaningful. The best social tools use schemas to map and interrelate business data end-to-end, cut through the clutter, or at least organize data in a super useful way, to make insights actionable.
Too few organizations are successfully applying social principles such as:transparency, collaboration, innovation, and connected learning to strategic planning. That’s probably because it’s difficult to know how. Enterprise scale collaboration and insight collection technologies are only emerging, and many executives are still struggling to discern the best way to integrate these new digital solutions.
Regardless of how you chose to take on social strategy, remember, you need to listen and learn from everyone affected by you business’s decisions. Your employees, customers, investors, and advisers have knowledge that you need to set effective strategic plans. Find a way to hear “the crowd” across your entire business, and connect rather than segment the input. Now you’ve got a thousand strategists pushing information to the top in a way that enables good decisions, instead of the top dictating a strategy that a thousand innovative employees think is bunk. Or, worse, nobody knows if it is or isn’t because the business isn’t connected.