Strategic planning should a be a regular process that construction companies undergo to best define their future. As discussed in part 1 of our Strategic Planning guide, your strategic plan will be vital for keeping your company on task, identifying areas for improvement, making course corrections, avoiding pitfalls, and ultimately heading in the right direction.
In part 1, we focused on mission statements, defining goals, and understanding your company’s position through a SWOT analysis. All of these steps are vital for laying the foundation for the strategic planning phase.
Now let’s assume that the foundation is laid, and we dig deeper into the process. Strategic planning can be a labor-intensive endeavor, as it challenges business owners, managers, and employees alike to take on a 30,000-foot perspective of how their business’s current performance aligns with future goals. While strategies are vital to the success of organizations big and small, a poorly crafted strategic plan can create a myriad of subpar practices and risky pitfalls. For that reason, it’s important to take your strategic planning sessions seriously. Further, make sure you keep an open mind. Field ideas from everyone.
Live Your Mission, Vision, and Goals
In part one, we highlighted the importance of a mission statement. This mission statement, in turn, should be based on the long-term vision and goals of your construction business. We’re going to dig deeper into the strategic planning process in this article, but remember, your strategy is guided by your vision, mission, and goals. Your company should embody all of the above.
The business world is fast-paced and data-driven, but standing out in a competitive market requires more than cutting-edge technology and a strong marketing platform. Be it on the back of a business card, on conference room walls, or in a television advertisement — many firms will dedicate enormous amounts of time drafting a vision, mission, or value statement that will lay the foundation of what they are striving to become.
With opportunities and threats constantly emerging, however, sustaining a business in today’s fast-paced marketplace requires company leaders to not only place emphasis on the vision, mission, and value statements behind their strategic plan — but also live by them. Let’s outline out how to create an action plan that will balance your company’s short, and long-term operations and goals with your overarching mission statement.
Your action plan will document many of the steps you have to take. You’ll need to outline them in a logical manner. What needs to happen before a goal is accomplished? What steps do you need to take to support further actions? For example, do you have to hire a key tradesman, such as a plumber? Do you need to acquire certain equipment? Once this is done, how do you progress?
Your action plan will outline this.
As you outline your action plan, you need to determine who is going to do what. Don’t be beholding to job titles. Focus on skills and capabilities instead. Locate various stakeholders in your construction business. Many of these stakeholders will be internal, such as your employees. However, external stakeholders, such as subcontractors should also be considered.
Inclusion is empowering, so try to be inclusive throughout the process. The more people you have working on your strategic plan and towards your goals and vision, the better. Of course, you shouldn’t burden people with responsibilities that they are not ready for. Listening is a very important component of the strategic planning process, so talk with placeholders.
Utilizing Fact-Based Analysis
Your strategies should revolve around the “four Cs”, meaning your company, climate, competitors, and customers. You could add a fifth “C”, as well, “contractors.” Many construction firms work closely with subcontractors.
Each component must be analyzed both separately and in conjunction with one another. It is important to respect the individual factors with each, while also connecting them to the big picture. Minimize assumptions. When considering your company, do so objectively.
When looking at internal factors, it often helps to pull in an objective view, such as a consultant. A consultant can also be helpful when examining competitors. A neutral mind can help you see and understand things that will most likely be difficult, given your close proximity to your construction business. An outside party might see things differently than you.
When considering customers, talk with your customers. Surveys, customer studies, and other actions can be enlightening. Likewise, understanding your customers will shed light on your climate. Every company is impacted by the climate it operates in. Make sure you understand this climate.
Take Your Time When Making Decisions
Some companies try to rush through the strategic planning and decision-making process. This can be detrimental to your efforts, especially for small construction firms. You shouldn’t dally or spin your wheels, but at the same time, you shouldn’t rush to make a decision for the sake of making a decision. Instead, take your time.
Patient, fact-based decisions will help you meet your milestones and long-term goals. This produces “attainable actions”. It also helps ensure that your decisions are well-informed and will produce results for your business.
Conclusion: It’s time to pull the ripcord
Talk is cheap. Eventually, you have to put your strategic plan into action. This is, without a doubt, the more important step. You need to bring your strategic plan to life. Your strategies and actions should become part of the DNA of your company. Employees and managers should see and feel the impact of your strategy planning day-to-day. This is one of the best ways to measure the performance and impact of your strategic plan.