Shamrock Advisory, LLC
Jim Connor or Rick Brown
Enter the Balanced Scorecard. The diagram at the left, as put forward by Robert Kaplan and David Norton from the Harvard Business School is now widely utilized. The concept is straight forward, lose the idea of solely using financial metrics and production reporting and balance this emphasis with people skills, market knowledge, technology and innovations that the organization needs to flourish.
While we like the Balanced Scorecard, Shamrock does not a believe in the often confusing dash boards and circular diagrams that tend to be theoretically sound but practically inoperable. We believe in using a handful, say 10 at the most, of metrics which are simple and easily measured and communicated to all employees.
We believe that the simple "stop light" to show whether a metric is satisfactory, or is falling behind is just fine to chart progress. We believe all metrics should be communicated to all employees and that each metric has an owner. Those metrics can and should be compiled of sub goals by department, area, function, whatever the case may be. To the extent possible everyone in the organization should have a measurable goal that rolls up to a higher level metric. It should be clear to the employees how the goals and objectives which they own becomes part of the overall strategy.
Strategic Planning is a process involving the whole company and all employees. We need everyone to buy in. It requires patience to be successful in the implementation. Top down plans will fail every time, not because the plan is flawed, but because the people don't own it.
At Shamrock we view the planning process as importantly as the plan itself. An effective planning process involves multiple layers within the organization. It solicits the help and the ideas of many employees, perhaps including customers, suppliers and investors. The planning process is an idyllic quest for perfection. In the initial stages nothing is left off the table, all points are considered and discussions in large group settings or small groups are open and honest. The objective is to leave no stone unturned, to abandon the old paradigms and search for the ideas that are disruptive, challenging, even revolutionary to move the organization to reach for unthinkable objectives.
Organizing the strategic planning process requires a skilled moderator and we believe we have that experience. We have participated in and led organizations in the planning process many times. We speak from years of experience as new thoughts are put forward, drawing upon rich seasoning in most situations. With that experience, we draw out ideas, break complex situations into simple common sense alternatives, and artfully craft creative solutions from the input of many knowledgeable participants. Rest assured though that the plan will be your creation, not Shamrock's.
Generally we begin through data collection on both the external and internal environments that the organization finds itself. The data collection is largely done through one on one interviews, basic research and discussions with industry personnel if required. The external environment documents the markets served, the market needs, the competition, SWOT's on how well we meet those needs. Internal environments typically focus on the employees who will have the best view. Again through the interview process we will collect the information. Our qualifications in sales, technology, manufacturing, essentially all functions. We conclude with an assessment vs. the competition and industry norms with a GAP Analysis. Many companies will have already gathered this information, either as part of a planning process, budgeting or forecasting or simply through industry conferences and associations.
The above process provides the basis to develop the strategies, and the action plans to build the company upon.