Evans Incorporated

The Gap in the Strategic Planning Marketplace – and How to Fill It

by Bob Etris & Jesse Lambert

“As in the game of chess, dynamic organizations that seek targeted growth must extend their vision beyond the next move, maneuvering toward the end game, with a watchful eye on time.” – Jesse Lambert, Principal and Strategic Planning Practice Lead.

Why Strategy is Relevant?

Come on, we all want to be “more strategic”. When you find yourself working on a project or new assignment, and you get the sense it’s going nowhere fast, the natural inclination is “we just need a better strategy.” We have all felt that way, more often than we’d care to admit. So why is strategy so important? Strategic planning ensures that an organization is able to successfully respond to changes by 1) formulating the organization’s future mission in light of changing external factors (e.g., regulation, competition, technology, and customers); 2) developing a sustainable approach to continue to realize its mission; and 3) enabling an organizational structure that deploys resources to successfully realize its short and long-term goals and objectives.

A Strategy Lacking a Human-Centered Approach is Doomed

Change is at the core of any strategy, and at the core of any change you have people. Executing a strategy successfully hinges on your organization’s leadership, culture, and ability to motivate human beings towards a common goal. Some of us love change, and some run from it. Some of us understand things we hear the first time around, and others take time to digest new information. We all process and internalize change, including something as complex as an organizations’ strategic plan, in different and nuanced ways. In this way, strategy and organizational change management go hand in hand – because a strategic plan, without change, is nothing more than executing what you’re doing today indefinitely into the future.

Strategically Planning to Make a Human-Centered Difference

The Evans strategic planning solution is designed to meet a broad range of stakeholder needs. Generally, organizations focus on the functional requirements of the solution, but the optimal strategic planning solution must address social, psychological, and even emotional needs as well.

Functional – The Evans strategic planning solution delivers a set of Core Strategy Artifacts, a Contextual Factors Evaluation, a Strategic Plan, a Strategy Execution Plan, and a Stakeholder Strategy Plan. These products enable our clients to address their current operating environment (e.g., constrained, growing) and market conditions (e.g., optimistic, pessimistic), motivations/drivers (e.g., public service, shareholder profit), organizational structures (e.g., flat or hierarchical, organized labor), and culture (e.g., legacy preservation, entrepreneurship, market disruption, etc).

Social – The Evans solution ensures that strategy development and implementation is designed with people in mind, from the executives advocating strategic change to the managers and employees carrying out the strategic change, through understanding of individual needs and motivations. Our approach draws on non-traditional strategic planning disciplines such as organizational development, human factors, executive coaching, and industrial and organizational psychology to design a strategy with people in mind.

Psychological – The Evans solution bolsters clients’ recognition of strategic planning as a valuable and necessary practice by identifying and countering any skepticism based on feelings, assumptions, or past experiences.

Emotional – The Evans solution gives our clients the confidence that they 1) can achieve strategic control over the direction of their organizations through proper strategy implementation, and 2) have the tools and techniques to implement the strategy in a way that matches the unique qualities of their organizations.

By embracing these design principles in our approach for each client, we help you avoid being left with simply proud words on a dusty shelf – we engage people at the right levels of the organization to realize the vision of a better future.

To find out more about how Evans’ human-centered approach to strategy can enrich you and your organization, please contact Jesse Lambert, Principal & Strategic Planning Practice Lead, at jlambert@evansincorporated.com or (703) 969-9680.

  1. This is great, Jesse! Thanks for sharing! I love how you clearly laid out the human-centered difference in the way Evans helps clients with strategic planning.

  2. Thanks Kaitlin. In short, the human-centered distinction is all about designing a strategy with the right people involved at the right time, building the trust and commitment that will then enable successful execution of the strategy. If anyone would like to talk more about how our approach stands out, please contact me at jlambert@evansincorporated.com or (703) 969-9680.

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