First, take a deep breath. This looks a little bit complicated, but it isn’t.
Describing it, however, can be complicated. So, please take your time reading through this and ask questions – that will help us improve the content.
Below I go through the purpose of the strategy on a page and how to use strategy on a page as a tool. I then describe how to get started with the template, complete with an example and then introduce our downloadable models.
The purpose of the strategy on a page
The Strategy on a Page allows you to capture your entire strategy in one model. Focus areas are on the left, and most detailed actions are on the right. Every action flows directly into a strategic focus area so that everybody knows how every detail ties back to the objectives.
The model is also flexible enough that you can break it down by team. Breaking it down like this happens in larger companies where there may be a dedicated team to one focus area. They can break that focus area into more detail and still show how their focus area ties back into the whole.
How to use the strategy on a page as a tool
I recommend creating a strategy for one year. Pick when you want to do your annual plan, plan for four quarters, and fill in your strategy on a page. Then as you have regular weekly, monthly and quarterly meetings, you update your metrics.
In your next quarterly planning session, you’re the fourth quarter that you are planning is in a new year, so create a new strategy on a page. Next year’s page will be rough, with only a few line items and a few metrics. Throughout the year, you will add line items and metrics. By the time you get to next year’s annual planning, you will have a nearly complete document to work with.
How to get started with strategy on a page
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Start by capturing your focus areas in the focus area column. You should have four to seven focus areas. These may be Finance, Marketing, Operation, and HR – which are traditional focus areas, or something different that is more aligned to your business.
In the example sheet, I have used the AC/DC model (Attract, Convert, Deliver, Complete), but this is just an example. Part of your strategy is deciding on your focus areas.
Next to the focus area, set a goal. Each focus area may have multiple goals.
In the next column, define a metric related to the goal, just as each focus area might have multiple goals, each goal can have multiple metrics.
There are three aspects to defining a metric.
- Define a target value; this is what you want the metric to be.
- Define a “by” date; this is the date by which you want to achieve the target.
- Capture the actual value; this is what the metric is today.
If you want to achieve a million dollars in revenue by the end of the year and your current revenue is $250,000 then:
- Target is $1 million.
- By is end of year
- Actual revenue is $250,000
Logically, in boxes, this looks like this:
As you go through the year, you can update your actual metrics to track progress.
The models to download
I have both a spreadsheet and PowerPoint version of this tool available. The Spreadsheet is a bit unwieldy but has the advantage of being more flexible; you can add lots of goals and track your metrics more effectively.
If you want, you can track metrics over time and add charts. But I find this to be overkill for a strategy document. The idea of strategy on a page is to capture high-level metrics, not all of the detail.
The PowerPoint is less detailed but adds a couple of slides on focus areas and how to plan for the next year.
Here is what the PowerPoint slides look like: