68,000. That’s how many pages were generated in one quarterly planning update back in the day at Kraft Foods. I know because I collected and laid out all the binders –holding just the final presentations from all the business units down to the category level– on the Kraft board room conference table so the CEO and others from his leadership team could see the insanity firsthand. All I had to say was “68,000 pages” and I made my case.
Countless organizations spend enormous time developing strategies, tracking plans, and making presentations to update progress. To be honest, for some it becomes a badge of honor and a chance to impress the bosses. However, it generates massive amounts of non-value-added work, wastes time and resources, and generates lots of paper that eventually ends up out of date and on the shelf.
Importantly, we know there are significant risks if you take too long to develop strategy.
There’s an alternative to the madness. Dane Manufacturing is an example of what planning can actually be like: one day to plan 2023 for two multimillion-dollar business units, no paper involved, move on to execution. Strategy at the speed of business™.
Dane is one of the largest metal fabricators in the Midwest and is also the parent company of Dantherm Cooling. Dane has developed leading edge strategies that have enabled exceptional growth. Since they have their strategies in ThinkPoints®, when it came time to assess 2022 and develop plans for 2023, it took one offsite meeting. That’s it. At the end of the day, they understood their issues and progress in 2022, updated plans for 2023, and walked out with their strategies in place and a few follow ups. No PowerPoint presentations. No binders. No paper. Everything digitized and ready to go.
This could be the way any company, large or small, does strategy: a few days; everyone using the same approach; minimal paper; strategy on one digital page viewable by selected executives and team members; short cycle times; presentations only for serious issues that need a deep dive; strategies linked throughout the organization. For large companies with a deeply entrenched planning process like Kraft had, it takes considerable effort; like changing a bad habit. For others, it's, well..., fast.
Strategy at the speed of business™ only takes the desire and the tools to do it.
You provide the desire. We provide the tools.