Having a clear, unambiguous strategy for an organization provides a sense of common direction and outlines measurable goals. While vision and strategy are important, execution is key. It’s all too easy to write a lengthy strategy document, file it away, and forget about it. Thus, it’s crucial, that once you have a strategy, you communicate that plan throughout your organization to affect change. One tool that allows you to easily do just that is a Strategy on a Page, or SoaP also known as a one page strategy or a strategy on one page.
A strategy on a page is a one-page summary that visually displays the organization’s strategy. A strategy on a page is also known as a one page strategy or strategy on one page. Effective SoaPs are often the preferred tool for communicating a strategy throughout the organization and to stakeholders. The idea is to condense all the salient concepts of the strategy down to its simplest form so the strategy can be conveyed simply and succinctly. This simplest form promotes laser-sharp focus on the organization’s plan, priorities, and direction.
Writing a SoaP
The structure of the Strategy on a Page is designed to give your audience a quick overview of your organization’s core purpose, where you’re going, and how you intend to get there. Some SoaPs have a graphical theme which convey the subject matter and the “why” of the organization.
SoaP plans vary greatly from one another but may include these core elements:
· Mission: The organization’s purpose or reason for being.
· Vision: The future of the organization.
· Values: The principles and philosophical ideals that drive the organization.
· FocusAreas: The largest and distinct segments of the strategy.
· Objectives: Statements of what you must do well to achieve the strategy.
· Initiatives/Activities: Actions an organization takes to achieve objectives.
· Metrics: Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that indicate progress/success.
Take a look at the examples below to see how these elements can be integrated into your one-page plan.
As these examples show, SoaPs can be more or less detailed; however, the breadth of your effort should focus on making sure you can get the long-term goals and core activities onto the page. This takes some serious thought and effort! It can be easy to write a 100-page business plan, but to synthesize the complex down to a few clear elements takes time and reflection.
Below are a few tips to help narrow down your strategy to one page.
1. Reevaluate your strategic plan to begin to think about the most important strategic elements that you should include in your one-page document. Revisiting your mission and vision statements, which lay out what your organization is trying to achieve, can help in providing an overarching context of your strategy.
2. If your organization has a balanced scorecard, the most important elements from the scorecard should be reflected in your SoaP. (If you don’t yet have a balanced scorecard, Bâton’s SMS+ Services can assist you through this process.)
3. Decide what focus areas best tell the story of your organization’s strategy. Typical focus areas include Financial, Customer, Internal Process, and EmployeeLearning and Growth but you might also consider focus areas such as Innovation,Environment, or Community. We recommend having between 3-6 focus areas.
4. Decide what objectives are critical to the organization’s success. As a rule of thumb, include no more than 15 strategic objectives. This number forces you to eliminate more trivial objectives and keep only the vital few. Objectives will typically begin with an action verb.
5. Some organizations also include key initiatives in their SoaP. If you do include these, think about what activities and outcomes are needed to achieve your objectives. Most organizations will have 0-2 initiatives underway for every objective.
6. If you have major transformative initiatives which span across focus areas or across the organization, these can be shown in their own area on the SoaP. Organizations may have 0-4 transformative initiatives.
7. In general, break longer sentences into their core meanings to reduce the number of words used to describe objectives and initiatives.
8. Weed out repetition and overlap from the list. If an item appears in two places, pick the most appropriate place for the item.
9. Once the strategic plan is distilled to its essence, create a layout that expresses the plan in a simple and memorable way.
For further help with this process, download Bâton’s collection of SoaP examples to see other organizations’ one-page strategy to help inspire one that is right for your organization and stakeholders.
Focus and simplicity are crucial for communication and successful execution. You may have an excellent strategy but if people don’t remember it and act in alignment with it, that strategy becomes ineffective. A SoaP resolves that issue by keeping strategy front and center. Take advantage of this one-page visual by posting it in conspicuous places around the office. Use it in documents, presentations, meetings and post it on your website. By making strategy a part of everyday life, the arbiter for daily decisions and interactions will remain grounded in your organization’s long-term goals.
Baton Global has compiled some of our favorite SoaP examples that we hope is inspiring in the development of your organization's SoaP.
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