Executives Learn from Navy SEALs – Game Changing Skill 4: Strategic Planning

Strategic Planning Strategic Planning

How do you define strategy? Do you know what initiatives are necessary for achievement? Is each team member unconsciously competent in performing their responsibilities?

For the purposes of this skill, we define strategy as the overarching methodology utilized to meet the needs of achieving the mission.  We form these strategies into initiatives:  those activities that must be performed in order to gain traction and give the mission its mobility.

If our mission or goal is to take the beach, we may deploy several different strategies to accomplish this goal.  We could drop in from the sky, we could swim up to the beach, we could land a Zodiac on the sand, or we might drive up from the land side.  Each strategic initiative must be assessed for relevancy and risk as well as probability of outcome.

Each approach must be carefully thought out with assumptive reasoning, as much intelligence as can be gathered, and as much experience as the individual team members might have.  With the collective in hand, we must assess our skills as a team and determine what approach will best achieve the mission.

The developmental scale is as follows:

1.      The Mission

Determined by the top ranking officer.

In business, this is the CEO working with the senior executive team and the Board.

“Penetrate the building, locate and secure the President, bring him out alive and with minimal collateral damage.”

2.      Recon Team

Determine Ops Force and Building Layout while gathering any and all relevant intelligence that could affect the mission or the team.

In business, this is assessing our structure from facilities to environment, as well as gathering our reporting metrics for a look-back and a plan forward.  We might also look at our competitors and assess their market position.

Reconnaissance and Intelligence

Many times in the business community, we find ourselves reacting to information that may not be factual.  The importance of having vetted factual information on which we can act successfully is of paramount importance to the strategy we’re trying to deploy and keeping our commitment constant to advancing our organization in a game-changing manner.  Reacting to information both internally and externally is only a surety when we have vetted information that allows us to prepare adequately for the natural and reasonable risks in our path to achievement.

   3.   Strategic Initiatives

Based on the mission goal, the reconnaissance intelligence, the team capabilities, the team “kit,” and the experience, skill, and education of the team members, design the strategic initiative(s) necessary to achieve the mission goal.

Remember to utilize all the game-changing skills you have learned thus far.

Once you’e outlined your strategic initiatives, carefully assess each one and select only two initiatives out of all the concepts discussed.  Be sure to discuss all suggestions before proceeding to the next step.

   4. Assumptions

State the assumptions that the team has made in designing their Strategic Initiative(s).

   5.  Mission Domino

The Mission Domino is the outline of all the specific actions that must take place in order for the strategic initiative to be effective at achieving the mission.  These may be individual actions or team actions; situations or outcomes; etc.  This is where the devil in the detail makes the big picture look easy.  Again, remember to use all of the game-changing skills you’ve learned thus far.

 6. Risk Assessment/Contingency Planning

Reviewing your initial Strategic Initiative(s), Assumptions, and the Mission Domino, consider any and all activity that may present risk.

For the purpose of this exercise, consider risk in two categories.

First, what is the probability of the identified risk happening on a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being of small probability and 5 being a show-stopper?

Second, assess the impact of the threat should it occur, on a scale of 0% to 100% with 0% having no impact and 100% being a show-stopper.

Identify and discuss all potential risks.  Once identified and assessed, create a mitigating response to each threat.

   7.  Train

Identify your training needs based on the Mission, Vetted Facts, Intelligence, Strategic Initiatives, Assumptions, Risk Assessment, Mitigating Response(s), and Team strengths.  Advise your Instructors of any additional training needs you have.

   8. Execute

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