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Business Strategy 101 - Anyone Have an Extra Napkin?

Posted by Tom Garrity on Tue, Feb 21, 2017

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Compass_Point_Consulting_Strategy_Napkin_0.jpgSome of the best-laid company plans were created on the back of a napkin. Lots of scribbles and doodles, but in the end, that lunch time, strategy brain dump was like gold. And it all fit on “one page.”

As businesses grow, leadership gets so engrossed in survival that they forget to stop, review, and update their “plan” for growth. Eventually, the team loses sight of the “one page napkin” (or literally lose it) and the company begins to lose its focus, alignment and direction.

The value of that “one page, napkin plan” cannot be overstated. Something infectious happens in companies when a vision is clearly articulated to the team. It creates clarity and synergy, giving the team a short list of priorities and the direction to build a roadmap to an envisioned future.

At Compass Point Consulting, I utilize the One-Page Strategic Plan developed by Verne Harnish, bestselling author of Mastering the Rockefeller Habits and Scaling Up. It takes a laser-focused approach to capturing all the important business strategy components – from core values, core purpose, and vision, to measureable targets and who is accountable to reaching those targets.

The One-Page plan can make the difference between a company struggling for direction and alignment and one that is poised to scale up and prosper. Here are several advantages leaders find by using the One-Page Strategic Plan:

  1. Clarity on who we are and where we want to be: The One-Page Strategic Plan framework allows the leadership team to work through smaller components leading to the company’s vision and BHAG, or Big Hairy Audacious Goal.
  2. Face the brutal facts: As we all know, change is a constant. By bringing smart people together with a rhythm of meetings to review strategy and progress, creates synergy, trust, and the ability to identify the biggest opportunities and largest obstacles ahead.
  3. Unleash a culture that empowers employees with responsibility and accountability: It’s a whitewater world out there, and people are easily distracted and generally have a hard time following through on challenging projects. Maintaining a focus on the priorities helps keep the team focused on the main goals.


Upon implementing the One-Page Strategic Plan and the Rockefeller Habits, I have seen my clients double their output when priorities are evaluated twelve times a year versus annually. Why? Because the company’s priorities stay front and center for all to see.

This is not simply an exercise for the sake of exercise. It’s a powerful tool. It requires engagement and heavy lifting by everyone in the room. It creates an urgency to get projects done. No one wants to show up at the next review meeting and not have accomplished what they said they would. Like I said, powerful.

READ MORE: The Secret to Growing Your Business

And there is an intrinsic benefit to implementing the One-Page Strategic Plan. It encourages debate and two-way dialogue with employees. This in turn builds a strong culture of collaboration and thinking beyond the senior team, encouraging the generation of ideas across the organization – from the bottom up, not just top down. When people contribute to the decision-making and idea generation process, they have a greater sense of ownership of the priorities and outcomes. They are invested and that is money in the bank.

If the company is not scaling up like you want it to be, then it’s time to create your own “plan on a napkin.” If you need help, I have a value-packed, one-day workshop coming up March 2 that can jumpstart this One-Page process in your business. Click here to learn more and register; use the promo code CPblog when prompted and receive a $100-$200 discount per person at checkout.

And remember – the next time you’re at lunch, ask for an extra napkin.

Tom Garrity is the Managing Partner of Compass Point Consulting, Concannon Miller's business consulting partner. If you would like more information on this topic, Tom can be reached at 610‐336‐0514 or tgarrity@compasspt.com.

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Topics: Business consulting

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