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Updated: Oct 30, 2023

In the ever-changing world of business, finding effective strategies to grow can be overwhelming. Often, strategic planning sessions start with a flurry of ideas, but turning these ideas into action is easier said than done. Harvard's research on strategy offers a refreshing perspective: simplicity is the key to real and lasting growth. This revelation has paved the way for a straightforward and practical approach to planning – the 3-Pillar Framework for Strategic Planning.

The Power of Simplicity: A Harvard Inspired Framework - Harvard's research has uncovered a fundamental truth: growth thrives in simplicity. Instead of drowning in a sea of ideas and initiatives, focusing on a few key priorities is the real game-changer. In a world where businesses are pushed to do more with less (setup for failure), these simple priorities become even more crucial. The 3-Pillar Framework focuses on just three core aspects that truly matter for a business. It tells us that to transform, we strategically must do more on less and it must be simple enough that everyone can get involved in supporting it to succeed. It starts with the simple question of which of the 3 pillars is our strength and which is the weakness holding us back?

Pillar 1: Building Customer Relationships (GET) - The first pillar is all about connecting with customers. Understanding their needs and preferences doesn’t have to be complicated. By simplifying how we approach our customers, businesses can find out what works and what doesn't. What strategies are bringing in valuable customers, and which ones are holding us back? From a traditional perspective this would cover business development, marketing and sales, which begs complexity. Versus the simple question of how do we get more business and what is holding us back?)

Pillar 2: Creating Lasting Impressions (DELIVER) - The second pillar revolves around creating exceptional experiences for customers. Simplifying how we deliver our products and services can lead to genuine customer loyalty. By focusing on what customers genuinely love, businesses can keep improving and offering better experiences. (From a traditional perspective this would cover production, operations, customer service and customer support, which begs complexity. Versus the simple question of how do we deliver for the customer so they love us?)

Pillar 3: Building Strong Foundations (SUPPORT) - The third pillar emphasizes the importance of efficient and scalable operations. Simplifying internal processes and using easy-to-understand tools can enhance productivity and innovation. By simplifying our operations, we can reduce risks and develop for scalable growth. What parts of our operations work smoothly, and where do we face challenges? (From a traditional perspective this would cover leadership, management, HR, finance, accounting, supply chain, IT, IS, SOP processes, systems, etc., which begs complexity. Versus the simple question of what do we need to develop or improve to make our business more resilient and scalable?)

Putting Simplicity into Action: A Journey Towards Transformative Growth - By embracing the simplicity of the 3-Pillar Framework, businesses can cut through the complexity. Asking basic questions within each pillar, like what's working well and what isn't, becomes a powerful way to identify areas for improvement. Teams can quickly figure out what they’re doing right and where they need to focus their efforts for real impact. The figure below shows proven examples of strategies that drive the most growth and value for businesses:

Conclusion: Navigating the Path to Transformative Growth - In a world filled with complicated strategies, simplicity emerges as the guiding light. The 3-Pillar Framework, inspired by Harvard's insights, provides a clear roadmap for strategic planning amidst the chaos. One way we make this pervasive and transformative is the 3 pillars are included in every person's role success scorecard (RSS), so they can define how they in their role strategically contribute to the growth of the business. By concentrating on GET, DELIVER, and SUPPORT, businesses can achieve growth that's not just significant but also sustainable. Embracing simplicity, businesses can confidently move forward, ensuring that every step taken leads them closer to success in a constantly changing market.

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