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How to build a Strategic Roadmap? 4 steps to success.

In the times we live nowadays, the uncertainty provokes that “saving” the sales of the next month/quarter, will be the main objective of most of the companies.

Short-term plans are extremely needed, but at the same time we cannot forget that those short-term actions should be included in a strategic framework that gives meaning to them. Why? Because we cannot take the risk of being running like chickens with no head, with no direction.

So, it is fundamental under any circumstances, that the company uses as reference a Strategic Roadmap to guide the journey, to give consistency and to increase the probability of achieving the objectives.

What is a Strategic Roadmap and its main elements?

A Strategic Roadmap is a strategic document that guides the company through its journey to achieve the goals established.

Usually, a Roadmap has mainly the following 5 elements:

1.- The Goals, to set up a direction.

2.- The Threats & Opportunities, that justifies the presence of the Goals established.

3.- The Route to achieve them (the goals), including the Timeframe.

4.- Possible Risks we can face in the journey, and mitigation plans.

5.- Resources Estimation.

How can we create a Strategic Roadmap for my company?

I’ve been involved many times in this type of processes. Initially as Board Member, and more recently in Business Coach processes as Coach guiding the process.

The process is flexible and can be 100% adapted to the company needs, but what is true is that when you have a quick look across the different possibilities, there are 4 main Steps to be successful:

1.- Kick off session:

It’s mandatory to set up the objectives of the process, to know the stakeholders, areas where we are going to put the focus, roles & responsibilities, the operational rules & values that will guide them.

Normally, this session is done with the Leadership Team, Board, or the ad-hoc Team appointed for this purpose.

The Coach intervention at this level has a concrete objective: to build a commitment between all team members, stablish the roles & responsibilities and align the process journey with all the team members.

2.- Individual explorations with the stakeholders.

The Stakeholders involved in the team should have present their 2 roles:

  • the functional role (as responsible for a specific area or department: i.e. sales, marketing or finance)
  • and the leader role (as leader or executive member, with an “objective” view of the company topics).

Why? Because if we explore both views the outcome is going to be richer. And for that is key that the Coach has the flexibility to separate well what is said under the functional hat and without it.

3.- Team Working Sessions:

As 1st step, the Coach will share the main insights that came out of all the individual exploration. This will provoke an initial warming up moment of reflexion as a team.

And just after, and after properly set up the conditions, the show starts:

How? Using different methodologies, tools and techniques and a Coach (with experience in Strategic Roadmaps) leading the process, we will land into a complete framework with:

  • GOALS (based of OPPORTUNITIES & THREATS),
  • the ROUTE (with the Milestones),
  • RISKs 
  • and the RESOURCES needed.

We can have the ambition of doing this process just in 1 session. But it’s tough and the fresher the Team involved is, the better will be the quality of the outputs. So ideally, we should split it in different moments.

Other relevant topic is that the process can be done always by the same team, or we can involve other company members to drill down and build the route of the goals established. It’s highly recommended expanding the team in certain parts of the process, as it will add more points of view/information, and it will create more engagement through the Teams.

4.- The Go Live.

Once we have built the Strategic Roadmap document, let’s make it ownable, simple, attractive and usable. Once it’s done, we are ready for the Go Live.

The Go Live moment is crucial, the most crucial moment of the whole process. The document itself is important but could be nothing if the teams doesn’t own it.

So, create a momentum, explain the importance, involve the people, and explain what it is inside, why those goals and how works.

The higher the engagement at this stage, the higher the Success will have.

In Summary:

We all have urgent topics that we must do, but we need a consistent and shared Strategic Roadmap for guiding our journey, giving everybody the same framework, language & objectives to be achieved.

To build this “Bible” is crucial that we involve the team, as we will have 2 main gains:

  • as they own the knowledge of the company, the outcome document will be richer.
  • if everybody embraces it as they have been involved, the engagement level will be higher.

Most of the successful companies have consistency in all their plans and super engaged teams. A Strategic Roadmap is the perfect element that integrate both ingredients.

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