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By Monica E. Oss

Last week, at The 2019 OPEN MINDS Executive Leadership Retreat in Gettysburg, one statistic really surprised me. How many strategic plans actually get implemented? The answer: 10%. Not just for health and human service organizations, but for all types of organizations. Even though 65% of organizations have an agreed upon strategy, only 14% of employees actually understand the strategy, and 90% of organizations ultimately fail to achieve their strategic goals (see Strategy 101: It’s All About Alignment).

Ravi Ganesan, President of Core Solutions, Inc.
Ravi Ganesan, President of Core Solutions, Inc.

That was the opening challenge to the audience presented by Ravi Ganesan, President of Core Solutions, Inc., in his presentation, A Data Driven Strategy – A Blueprint For Organizational Success. His presentation on the state of planning had two big takeaways for improving the strategy implementation success rate—the importance of using data in planning and the need to adopt agile planning approaches. Mr. Ganesan explained that data-driven strategy (DDS) leverages the power of big data starting with data-informed strategy and transforming the organization through data-driven decision making. Agile principles give organizations the ability to adapt rapidly and cost-efficiently in response to changes in the business environment (see For ‘Agile’ Organizations, Change Management IS Performance Management). He noted:

We still need long-term plans, but the idea that you will have a five-year plan will be very difficult in an environment where changes happen very fast. How do you work in an environment where change is fast, and the need to replace that five-year plan with what can be achieved in the next 3, 6, or 12 months? Put another way, what’s the minimum product I would accept moving forward in smaller increments at a time?

Mr. Ganesan raised the issue that traditional multi-year planning is fading—and that many organizations are operating on an antiquated strategic timeline. Executive teams need to marry DDS and agile strategy for success.

If you are unfamiliar with the concept of “agility” in strategy, it is basically a process for taking a large plan, executing it in shorter segments, and changing the plan over time as the market landscape changes. The fundamental concept is tracking your success on each plan element, pivoting away from likely planning failures based on the data. The key is a rapid learning and decisionmaking cycle—led by a dynamic (and adaptable) leadership team (see Managing at the Speed of Change: What Does It Take to Be Nimble? and Speed Is The New Management Competency).

Mr. Ganesan noted that while the well-known adage “life is a marathon, not a sprint” is true in many instances, it is no longer true for planning. Business planning needs to be considered in “smaller chunks” and more executive teams need to think in an agile fashion about what can be done next quarter, not next year.

For more on the overlap of data-driven agile strategy, check out these resources from The OPEN MINDS Industry Library:

  1. Who Do You Need To Lead An Agile Organization?
  2. For ‘Agile’ Organizations, Change Management IS Performance Management
  3. Anticipating The Looming Strategic Surprises
  4. Add ‘Speed’ To Your Treatment Tech Planning List
  5. Metrics-Based Managing As ‘Cause & Effect’
  6. ‘Agile Innovation’ Needed For The Challenges Ahead
  7. Does An ‘Agile’ Workforce Want Your Jobs?
  8. Who Do You Need To Lead An Agile Organization?
  9. For ‘Agile’ Organizations, Change Management IS Performance Management
  10. Implementing A Strategic Plan? Go From Vision To Project Plan

And for even more, join Mr. Ganesan on October 30 at The 2019 OPEN MINDS Technology & Informatics Institute at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for his session, “Leveraging Artificial Intelligence To Improve Clinical Care: A Tech Demo.” In this technology demonstration attendees will learn about big data, the differences between artificial intelligence, machine learning, and deep learning, and how to use those tools to proactively mitigate risk in your clinical and business processes.

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