It’s that time of year when business leaders and their teams scramble to fill out templates, create Power Point presentations, and attend what seem like endless meetings all in an attempt to comply with the company’s strategic planning process. In many cases, however, rigorous debates and conversation about the strategic choices and innovations required to grow the business, increase productivity and further develop talent will not even be discussed. Many of these plans will be made in silos and will miss the chance to address the biggest challenges and opportunities facing the company such as competitive threats, disruptive technologies, and strategic partnerships. The old way of planning is failing to deliver value. That’s why many of our clients have abandoned their traditional strategic planning process and adopted OGSM as a way to direct and align their businesses.

OGSM is a simple, yet robust method of defining success and providing a common roadmap for getting there. OGSM stands for:

* Objectives – what we need to achieve as an organization

* Goals – financial and operational performance measures

* Strategies – the choices we will make to achieve our objectives and goals including key initiatives to deliver the strategies

* Measures – numerical statements benchmarking progress toward implementing each strategy

The Objectives and Goals define and measure what the company needs to achieve, and the Strategies and Measures define how to get there and when we know we’ve arrived or need to change course. The deliverable of the OGSM method is an OGSM itself – a one-page dashboard that provides transparency of priorities and metrics and defines how the company will win with their customers. The OGSM is being used by many of our clients to deploy and link organizational goals with each person’s work and break down organizational silos across functions, geographies and up and down the line.

Unlike many strategic and annual plans, the OGSM is not kept in a binder or in a Power Point presentation only to be updated once a year. The OGSM is a living and dynamic tool that our clients regularly use to run their business and monitor the progress of their investments. Because the OGSM method begins and ends with data, it supports fact-based decision-making and holds individuals and teams accountable for results.

The president and chief operating officer of one of our clients told us, “I think the primary benefit of OGSM is that it helps everyone get on the same page. I’ve never found a better or simpler process (once you get through it) in keeping a company aligned.” Another client, a VP of Global Operations, noted, “One of the first things I did was take the team through an OGSM process that cascaded through all the regions in the world and all the plants in the world. OGSM provides a common language and forces key metrics. It keeps us on track.”

To facilitate the implementation of the OGSM and business strategy, many of our clients are using myOGSM, ArchPoint’s proprietary cloud-based system for managing, communicating, and visualizing strategy execution. The tool has revolutionized how companies create, update and execute business strategy by automating many of the manual processes and spreadsheets currently used to manage the annual planning process.

If you feel that your strategic planning process is more a waste of time than a value added activity, I encourage you to visit and to learn more about OGSM, a planning process that works.

Craig Berkowitch is based in San Antonio, TX, and is a partner with ArchPoint Group.