If you were asked to get in your car and simply drive- it will probably take you quite aback! At the very minimum, you would like to know the destination, route and other trip details. Even though stepping out on a road-trip without a proper game-plan would be considered ludicrous, it’s amazing how many organizations operate that way! This is not only the case with mid and small size companies but also with major Fortune 500 corporations!
Even though words like Strategies and Roadmaps are some of the most used (and abused words) within management teams, one seldom sees clearly chalked out roadmaps and defined strategic actions that will help them traverse that journey.
So, what are Strategic Roadmaps?
Similar to the route-maps which are used for road-trips, a business road-map helps us to define our starting point, our destination, i.e. the business goal/ objective which we wish to achieve and possible routes that can get us there.
Roadmapping was pioneered by Motorola in the 1970-s to plan their technological capabilities so they can meet their strategic and commercial objectives. Since then this strategy and methodology has come a long way.
Roadmaps help us to carry out strategic actions that link our assets and resources (including Human Capital) to our corporate vision, values, goals and objectives. Roadmaps helps us to define how a particular group within an organization intends to carry out its function for a given length of time while also supporting other groups within that organization to meet individual group and corporate goals & objectives. Roadmaps also help to point out where one may need added support from another group within the organization or possibly outside vendors or other internal/ external stake holders.
Graphical representation of roadmaps makes it easier to identify and represent the often complex links and dependencies between goals & objectives of various groups within an organization. They also help to initiate dialogues and workshops with teams and stakeholders to ensure that all parts of the organization are truly moving in the same general direction towards the shared vision for success.
Tactical roadmaps on the other hand help us to further drill down into details and define how an item from the Strategic roadmap will be worked out. It would provide action steps and task level details for work that will need to be completed by a specific timeline, budget and set of resources. Usually such tactical maps are simply referred to as action plans during roadmapping workshops.
When properly implemented, Strategic Roadmaps can reduce workforce stress and encourage better communication & collaboration between various groups within an Organization. In addition, it also helps employees to better understand their role and how they contribute to the team, department and organization. By clearly understanding their funtion within the grand vision-mission-goals framework; employees feel less stressed and better engaged. You may want to read: Understanding Employee Engagement
Questions you may want to ask in your team are:
1. Does your team have a strategic roadmap in place for the function it performs within your corporation?
2. Do you really understand how, i.e. with what level of efficiency, you are truly contributing to your corporate vision and success-objectives?
3. Are you sure that you are truly utilizing full benefit of all your assets? This includes budget, software applications (technology), tools & techniques (architected processes) as well as people-resources?
If you are not able to answer any of these questions with a firm clarity, then you should definitely consider Strategic Planning (with actionable roadmaps) as your key initiative in 2015. In today’s uncertain economic times, where any task that improves cost-efficiency is very much applauded; chalking out such Strategic roadmaps will help your team to work in an efficient, streamlined manner and in full alignment to your shared corporate goals & vision.