In strategic planning, the quality of the plan depends on the quality of the information collected and analyzed to guide the plan. The Baldrige Criteria ask how you collect and analyze information about your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats; early indications of major shifts in technology, markets, products, customer preferences, competition, or the regulatory environment; long-term organizational sustainability; and your ability to execute your strategic plan.
The goal is to build a sustainable organization that can survive change in whatever form it takes. Andrew Winston has created a tool to help navigate the forces that may affect your organization’s survival. He calls it the Sustainability Forces Wheel.
In “A New Tool for Understanding Sustainability Drivers” (HBR, July 13, 2010), Winston describes the three rings that make up his wheel and his idea to “spin” the wheel to line up different forces on each ring, which could then spur discussion among leaders about what that combination might mean for their organization. For example, he looks at the issues that currently line up at 9:00: “Consumers increasingly want to know what’s in products and where they come from; technology is enabling more data on a product’s origins; and there’s no denying the rising concerns about chemicals and toxics in our bodies and our children’s bodies. If your company operates in the consumer products world, how are you handling this trifecta of concerns?”
From a Baldrige standpoint, your strategic planning process should include a systematic approach to identifying the factors that are likely to impact your short-term and long-range plans. Only then can you confidently develop plans that will help build a sustainable organization.
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