OpEx Solutions, Inc.

'There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently
that which should not be done at all'.

—Peter F. Drucker.





Running Start — 2018 Strategy

by John Gay, OpEx Solutions


Strategic planning for the next year, formal or informal, is what most people are busy with right now and it is sad to see that most organizations do not execute to achieve their strategic plans — 2017 is not over yet and a good push in the last quarter can enable a great finish.

So, it begs the question, “Running start or great finish?”

We have found that less than 50% of the organizations have formal annual strategic plans and less than 10% of those have tied their strategic plans to execution. It is no surprise then that the top three issues revealed in our research on operational metrics indicated
that —

  1. Operational excellence has not been moving the needle – profitability and growth

  2. Metrics are not aligned with the primary goal — mission, vision and values

  3. Metrics are fluff for leadership and do not drive action – not meaningful to the doers

While conducting a workshop on “strategy cascading” for one of our clients; the strategic plan was already in place and they had requested we facilitate a session to connect their strategy to their daily visual management. It was interesting to note that not a single departmental head (vice presidents), knew the targets for their department — “Oh! I didn ‘t know that was our target!”. It was this session that made everyone aware of their target and drove them to develop plans to achieve it. You can imagine how much of the strategic plan would have been accomplished if we had not held that session! Right now, the same organization is on track to almost accomplish their overall goal for the year.

In another case, the organization was scrambling to hit end-of-year cash targets, to the exclusion of almost everything else, including resources to execute the current plan. Strategic planning was delayed well into the new year, with cascading not occurring until mid-year. Thus began a spiral into several years of poor results.

Going back to the question, “Running start or great finish?” — Why not both? At this time of year, most organizations are focusing on the next year and a few are giving the last push to make the current year a great success. Success begets success! It is important to have a great success this year — it is not the time to give up! While some planning needs to be done for the next year, this is the time to focus on:

  • The current status of actual-to-plan
  • Identifying the gap
  • Bridging the gap
  • Garnering all organizational efforts to refocus on making 2017 a great year
  • Avoiding distractions like major focus on next year and deploying new tools

With this challenging economy and the shedding of any extra fat in the organizations, most people are busy these days: dealing with chaos, catching up with training, learning new tools, planning for next year, and a few people executing their strategic plans.

We cannot ignore planning for next year. We need to strike a balance. In our mind we need to have a ratio, 80% focus on achieving the goal and 20% for planning the future. Without a conscious decision, most people would prefer to talk and sit in meetings for next year than to make things happen in this year.

The choice is ours. Yes, ours, and each of us has a choice to make:

  • Structured, proactive and focused on executing the plans, OR
  • NEXT SYNDROME — Live in the future rather than the present, focusing on the next year, next new thing to implement, next new tool to be trained on, and be reactive to daily business

We will all be making the right choice for the fate of our organization and our people! We wish you success!!


 Training for Success


Establishing a management system that fits your organization's specific needs is fundamental in planning and setting goals that are linked to the organization's mission and vision.

Fifteen leaders from seven organizations attended Leader Training Week, the OpEx Solutions flagship training for management leaders held in Austin, Texas October 16-18, 2017. The three days of training: Integrated Management System for Leaders, Enterprise Transformation for Leaders, and Strategic Metrics for Leaders, encapsulate determining the current system an organization is using, identifying gaps, developing the strategy for transformation, and establishing meaningful metrics for positive impact. 


Planning for Success 

A strong, well-thought out strategic plan sets the stage for a successful year. Although this is widely accepted, many organizations go about their strategic planning in a rather haphazard way without a formal planning process.

The CenTex OpEx Consortium brought together management leaders in the September Leader Strategy Session focusing on Strategic Planning for 2018 to share their experience and ideas on how to better execute the process for their 2018 strategic planning.


Some of the key takeaways of the group included aligning resources, setting firm project priorities, and identifying potential gaps that can lead to failing to execute the strategic plan.



OpEx Solutions is an organization that helps identify strategic areas for improvement and provides effective high-value, low-cost solutions, training, and project management to drive significant productivity improvement through the use of operational excellence tools and systems in most manufacturing and service industries.

With a variety of offerings to choose from, we're confident of working with your organization to find and define your own way through:

  • Executive Coaching
  • World-class Training
  • Dedicated Workshops
  • Knowledge Network
  • Project Management

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us.

Find out more About Us, then look at our Stategy to make your possibilities a reality.


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For free email business advice, send your questions, comments or ideas to mnazareth@opexsolutions.org. For issues that are of particular interest to the the community, we may publish (with your permission) your questions along with our answers on this web site.

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