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Bill Gaw's Top 12
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Statement of Values and Beliefs

The Statement of Values and Beliefs is designed to convey to everyone the underlying principles, both moral and ethical by which the company and its employees should be operating. This statement is very valuable because, if done completely, it will give a clear definition of what it means to work at this company and what expectations the com­pany has of its employees and the manner in which they should conduct themselves. It clearly communicates this to the employee who then has the opportunity to decide whether these standard are tenable or not. Following are some examples of value and belief statement material:

• To be customer and service oriented.
• To be in business for the long run.
• To provide an excellent quality product at a reasonable price.
• To relentlessly look for improvements and creative innovations in all areas of our business: management, quality, efficiency, sales, etc.
• To realize that change is constant and to evaluate and make use of opportunities as they present themselves.
• To provide a safe, secure and stable working environ­ment, free of prejudices.
• To remain profitable and to share a substantial part of the profits with all employees and to fund worthwhile community projects.
• To be honest and to operate with integrity in all dealings with customers, employees and vendors.
• To be a converter of wood products to consumer prod­ucts.
• To have pride in our company.
• To promote renewal of our natural resources. Long and Short Term Goals

The goals section of the Strategy Plan should contain short term goals, those which can be completed in one year or less and long term goals, those that may take up to five years to meet. The short term goals should include and initia­tives or implementations that are currently in progress so as not to lose site of them. Regardless of the duration of the goal, they should all conform to the Mission and the Vision of the company and be supportive of their achievement.

Development of the goals has no optimum format. Most companies already regularly set goals and work towards their achievement. Whatever system or process that they use currently should be used at this point in the process. Any list of existing goals that are already in place and being worked towards should certainly be worked into the Strat­egy Plan as appropriate.

Statement of Strategy

Finally, we come to the heart of the Strategy Plan, the Statement of Strategy itself. The Statement of Strategy section is the place where the detailed plans for how the company will carry out its plans are laid out. This section of the plan will be by far its largest. The goal here is to identify by functional area, how each unit of the company will support and carry out the purpose and goals of the company. Each subsection, representing the detailed plan for a particular functional area should not exceed two or three paragraphs. It should include within it any initia­tives or plans currently in progress, if they support the newly defined Mission and Vision of the company. If they are in conflict, then serious consideration should be given at some future time as to their applicability and benefit. It should also include any new initiatives or implementations that are needed in order to support the Mission and the Vision statements.

A very good method for developing the data required for writing the detailed Statement of Strategy is to use some form of brainstorming based tool. The Affinity Diagram­ming tool is a very good one that can often provide one to two hundred ideas and/or key points of focus in a usable, organized manner in just a couple of hours. Its advantages are that by following the rules of the tool explicitly, it forces the group to focus on idea development and organization while not allowing them to get sidetracked with meaning­less conversation, argument and justification.

Once a core of ideas and points of focus have been developed and sorted into logical groupings, each functional area should be assigned one or more of the grouping with which to base their portion of the Statement of Strategy upon. This base of data will carry all of the key ideas and concepts that are currently important to the companies plans for achieving its plan.
Each of these individual parts of the completed statements should be written by the functional area responsible for them off line from the planning meeting. This is a simple way to get the gist of the material in place in a fast and efficient manner. Once each individual part is complete, then it is appropriate for the entire group to re-convene and do some final editing and put the entire Statement of Strategy together.

At this time it also appropriate for the entire group to edit and make any final changes deemed necessary to the entire document before releasing it for use by the entire organization.

Completing the Process

In order for the Strategy Plan that you have just put a tremendous amount of time and energy into completing to be good use it is now necessary to release it to the entire organization. The use in this is that everyone has the same information with which to make decisions.

Each member of the planning team should sit down with all of the people that report directly to them and review the completed plan as a group. In this way any question or differences in interpretation that come up may be an­swered before the group which will enhance the under­standing of the intent and purpose of the document. This forum should be repeated throughout the organization until everyone in the company has had the opportunity to see the document and have it explained to them.

Summary

Having completed a Strategy Plan you now have the opportunity to have your entire organization working, in effect, to the same drummer. It should provide the base for decision making and will give you the ability to benchmark your activities against your intent. Having been produced via a team based approach, it should be widely accepted and not stigmatized as the doing of a particular individual or group. It must be updated periodically, annually at least, and should serve the organization for many years to come.


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