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Culture is Not Enough

A couple of years ago I publish a post on LinkedIn about the change in Manchester United created by Ole Gunnar Solskjær replacing Jose Mourinho as manager.

I don't know much more about football than the little I knew back then (and this post is not about football anyway) but I think that what has happened with Manchester United men's football team sort of proves the title of this article - the culture has been restored and there is no lack of talent on the pitch but the lack of consistency may indicate there is little in the way of a plan.

I have been hammering on here about how important culture is as the basis of any strategic plan, and I don't retract anything I have written, but culture alone is not enough. It may eat strategy for breakfast but without a plan what to do after breakfast there is little chance you will make it to lunch.

Metaphors aside, an organisation may have a great spirit and a wonderful team but if there is no practical, measurable plan in place it is hard to develop in the right direction.

To create a plan you need to:

  1. Know your final destination - where do you want to see the organisation when you will be able to sit back and say "we've made it"

  2. Identify your current position - like the navigation system in your car, before calculating the route you need to know where you start from. In organisational terms this includes competitive position, SWOT analysis, stakeholders mapping, etc.

  3. Decide on your next year goals - you can't plan in detail your journey until its end as too many things will change along the way so focus on what you want and can achieve next year

  4. Figure out what you need to do to achieve your yearly goals - you may need to hire (or fire or replace) some employees, enter new markets, launch new products, reorganise your facility, etc. Whatever it is, make sure you know what you need to do

  5. Do the numbers - go through your Profit and Loss report line by line and, looking at last year's figures decide what are going to be the figures next year, quarter by quarter

The last 2 elements - what you need to do and the financial implications it will have is your work plan. Make sure you assign champions to each goal and follow up execution on a weekly, monthly and quarterly basis. It will all add up to your next great year. And then do it all over again...

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