Change Implementation Techniques for Creating a Sense of Urgency

Technique 2.21 Some "Friendly Skeptic" Questions to Appraise a Strategic Plan

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Once you have identified a potential strategy or strategies that will differentiate your organisation from your competition, conduct a reality check on the strategy by answering the following questions

(NB the words client and customer are inter-changeable)

1. a) What special capabilities do you plan to have that your best competitors cannot match?

(You may first need to identify and prioritise your competitors)

b) Why can't they match your special capabilities?

c) What actions will you take to put these capabilities in place?

2 In what way are your investment priorities likely to be different from those of the competitors?

3 a) How do you know the clients will like what you're planning?

b) What field testing of clients have you done?

c) What client input have you obtained?

4 Who will be in charge of executing each component of the plan?

5 a) Who was involved in the development of this plan?

b) Is everyone in agreement?

c) Who was not consulted? Do they have a role in executing the Plan?

6 a) On whom will you be dependent for the execution of this plan?

b) Do they have sufficient incentive to do their part?

c) Is it in their interests to do what you want?

d) Do you have to modify your reward systems to make this happen? If yes, how to modify?

7 a) Specifically, which 5 clients, by name, represent your most likely source of expanded business for the next few years?

b) Which new clients are at the top of your priority list?

c) Why?

d) What actions do you plan to take to get closer to these clients?

e) What makes you think you can get their business?

9 a) What is the one most significant thing that each of the main competitors is doing that will affect you?

b) What do you plan to do in response?

10 a) In what way do you plan to take advantage of your firm-wide network?

b) How do you plan to get the co-operation of others?

c) How do you plan to contribute to the firm-wide network?

d) How will what you are doing benefit them?

11 a) What are the staffing implications of your plans?

b) If there is the need for extra staff, where will you get the staff from?

12 a) What are the main assumptions on which your plan is based?

b) Which is the most "risky"? (ie, if it can go wrong, where will it go wrong?)

13 a) How will you know if the plan is working?

b) What indicators can you agree on, and when should you review them?

14) a) What early warning signals will there be if the plan is not working?

b) What contingencies have you put in place?

(source: David Maister, 2003)

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