When creating a strategy and plans, organisations usually need a framework for defining the main goals and the time frame for achieving them. Strategic priorities are one type of framework for strategic planning. They examine past problems and unachieved goals and articulate future needs and a path forward. Customers’ voices need to be heard as well.
Priorities can be detailed and determine plans precisely. However, overly detailed strategic priorities in a large organisation do not necessarily reflect the priorities of the organisation’s lowest levels. Companies sometimes completely ignore one department’s specific problems, inadvertently risking significant effects throughout the production chain. At best, strategic priorities guide operations while also leaving room to consider lower-level needs. It is wise to involve as many different processes and departments as possible in the planning of priorities because doing so ensures that all losses are sufficiently addressed and that people commit to the resulting plans. This is also how it´s done at Aurelia Turbines, involving different stakeholders as one strategy and action planning steering group.
Strategic priorities can be organised according to the company’s operations. For example, a manufacturing company can have strategic priorities for People development, Quality, Productivity and Safety. When defining their priorities, companies can also consider business elements such as marketing development and business growth – while not forgetting operational costs.
How is a strategy formulated in practice? The following steps are one approach for translating a high-level idea into a concrete task:
- Company vision
- Company strategy
- Company priorities
- Company roadmap
- Department (or business unit) priorities
- Department (or business unit) roadmap
- Department (or business unit) detailed plans
For large global companies, the road from a company vision to concrete shop-floor action may involve additional steps due to their numerous divisions. Intermediate steps should not be skipped because doing so risks operations not being optimally aligned with the company’s goals.
Crucially, however, there is no one correct way to turn strategy into practice. Each company needs to find its path.
It is also crucial to communicate the strategy, priorities, and planned actions to everyone involved. The priorities need to be visible and remembered to make sure those are guiding everyday work. Visual communication is usually the best way, and this can be done by placing the priorities, for example, on a production hall and office wall. Repeating makes it stick.
Aurelia Turbines ensures that the development activities in our operations directly support the company’s purpose of supplying world-class gas turbines – all the way from strategy to practice.
Stay tuned. Our story continues next month.
The author has extensive experience in the practical implementation of continuous operational improvement.
The original article was first published on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/from-strategy-practice-tomi-pinom%C3%A4ki/