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One-Page Strategic Plan – OPSP

What is a One-Page Strategic Plan (OPSP) and Why Your Business Needs One

Every business needs a One-Page Strategic Plan (OPSP) to make the most of opportunities, promote growth and achieve success. Is another, better tool out there than a traditional, complex strategic business plan? According to Verne Harnish, author of “Scaling Up: How a Few Companies Make It…and Why the Rest Don’t (Rockefeller Habits 2.0)“, the guru for fast-growth companies, “if you want to get everyone in the company on the same page, then you need to literally get everything on one page.”

Leaders need to step through seven deceptively simple questions who, what, when, where, how, why and then decide what not to do – often the hardest question. This is how to run your long term strategic planning process.

OPSP – The One-Page Strategic Plan is a succinct yet powerful tool to help you craft a potent business strategy. You can scale up and transform your organisation, using this deceptively simple business tool to show the way.

  • Set and communicate a clear one-page strategy for your company
  • What are your three brand promises with guarantees?
  • Focus and align your entire team with your core values, core purpose and BHAG (big hairy audacious goal)
  • What is your profit/x? What one number explains your economic model? How do you make your boat go faster?

A One-Page Strategic Plan (OPSP) can help your business achieve incredible long term results as a result of alignment, accountability and execution.

one page strategic plan OPSP 
Dominic Monkhouse
OPSP – The One Page Stratic Plan you need to Scale Up

Click here to download the full PDF version of the OPSP template.

Click here for a filled-in example of the OPSP template for inspiration.

Getting started on your OPSP – One-Page Strategic Plan

Column One – Core Values or Beliefs (should and shouldn’t)

As your company grows and your culture evolves, you’ll start to need a framework to retain control over your beliefs in the long term. And this is where your core values come in. Values are the definition of your company’s culture. They’re a shorthand way of capturing behaviours that you see as non-negotiable in your business. A strategic plan may be necessary but the right people doing the right things is essential.

How to create core values with value? That’s the question I am often asked by clients. I recommend using the process outlined by Jim Collins called Mission to Mars. You don’t need some generic values posted on your wall. You need a behavioural framework you can hire with, promote with and fire with.

Once you have your core values, you need to put them to work. It’s important to put time and effort into this. So important that it’s the seventh of the Rockefeller Habits, the execution framework for scaling up designed by Verne Harnish. So how do you bring these game-changers to life in your organisation? A strong set of behaviours linked to core values can be used to catch people doing the right thing. Then managers can give specific praise in the context of the one-page strategic plan. You’ll find it gives them a fantastic vocabulary for coaching conversations.

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Column Two – Core Purpose and BHAG

What is core purpose in business (and how do you find it?)

Core purpose is not the same as vision, mission or values. It’s a visceral and emotional connection to why you’re doing what you’re doing. The difference you’re going to make to customers, your staff and the wider world. The legacy your company is going to leave.

I start by asking the founder(s) why they started the business. This purpose may still be valid. David Tudehope began Australian business Macquarie Telecom Group “To make a difference in markets that are underserved and overcharged”. When we reviewed this recently, it was clear that even though the business now encompassed cloud services, this purpose was still the driving force behind the company.

The One-Page Personal Plan – OPPP to uncover purpose

When the founders are no longer in the firm or the purpose needs work, I often begin by having the executive team complete the One Page Personal Plan – OPPP. Here we uncover the purpose or the legacy desires of the group. Why have they come together and what outcome are they seeking for the firm.

What is a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal)?

There are many acronyms in business, some more useful than others.  This happens to be a good one. Trademarked by Jim Collins in the mid-1990s, a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) replaces the more traditional five-year plan with a longer-term goal that reaches 10, 15 or even 20 years into the future. So far into the future, that the executive team who create it are unlikely to fulfil it. It is the journey your purpose can take you on.

Column Three – Objectives

Here the Verne Harnish template and I diverge slightly. I am usually prescriptive in selecting three years as the time frame for the fiscal and non-fiscal goals in the column. I believe this is the right time scale for today and the BHAG to come to together in a way that isn’t a total guess. However, Verne is right that whatever the number it should represent the timeframe in which the firm expects to double revenue or headcount. It might be only one year.

We need to settle on the 3 to 5 key capabilities or strategic thrusts that will enable this time-bound goal to become reality.

Then work through what you will be world-famous for and end up via some catalytic mechanisms with three brand promises with guarantees.

The brand promises with guarantees seldom jump out. That is why we tend to settle for being world-famous for something. We need to define the core customer in some detail and understand their needs to get to a meaningful brand promise. It’s usually not enough to speak only in rational terms. We also need to know how we want our core customer to feel when they do business with us.

Column Four – Goals or Objectives

Given the three year plan and today’s actual numbers, where will you be in one year from now? What are the fiscal and non-fiscal numbers? What widget will we sell to deliver the goals or objectives?

What are the five – no more than five – corporate objectives for the year? Which key results underpin our progress towards achieving these. This framework is called OKRs – objectives and key results.

Column Five – Quarterly Objectives

Scott Allison wrote in Forbes: “Those are companies where a month or a quarter is more like a year for a regular business. When you’re growing that fast you need some guiding principles or rules to run by.”

Scott is referring to the rapid cadence in Scaling Up companies following the Rockefeller Habits. Focus is the key to getting more done. However, this is often the hardest question to answer in completing the One-Page Strategic Plan: what not to do? Then who is accountable for the delivery of the objective. And what does done look like? Otherwise, how will we know it has been achieved.

Column Six – Theme

How to get the team aligned on the quarterly objectives in the strategic plan? Pick a theme for the quarter and decide on the critical number or measurable target. (This is Rockefeller Habit number two).

Column Seven – Accountability

This is how you turn the one-page plan into an execution framework. Initially, starting with the executive team then cascading down through the organisation so that everyone has their top five objectives and key results for the quarter. In addition, every team member has up to three KPIs, daily weekly.

If you want help completing your One-Page Strategic Plan (OPSP) or assistance implementing the Rockefeller Habits come to the next Scaling Up Business Growth Workshop.

Written by Dominic Monkhouse, Certified Scaling Up Coach and host of Mind Your F**king Business Podcast podcast. Learn more about Dominic here.

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