What is a Strategic Roadmap? A Path to Make Your Change Vision a Reality
Creating the strategy to guide your business or change is as important as it is complex, but building your strategic roadmap is a different challenge altogether; yet one that is no less important. After all, what good is a strategy if you have no path to execute it?
Not to be confused with a strategic plan, the more visual and dynamic roadmap brings together execution and implementation. While your strategic plan will outline the high-level objectives of your change, the strategic roadmap will turn these into actionable steps, detailing how they will be achieved.
Your strategic roadmap becomes all the more pivotal when your strategy demands significant change, acting as a North Star for your business and, most importantly, your people throughout the journey towards implementation.
However, if you want to engage your people properly, your roadmap needs to be clear and compelling. This is what separates the good from the great, and a great roadmap needs to be creative, strategically aligned and accessible for all of your key stakeholders. Read on for some practical guidance on achieving this based on our deep experience creating strategic roadmaps for our clients.
Why does your strategic roadmap need to be people-centred?
If your people are involved in your change at an early stage, including the shaping of your strategic roadmap, there will be greater buy into the vision and the steps to delivering it. The sense of ownership they feel will cascade to their different departments and colleagues so that everyone’s working together to implement the company’s roadmap, not just the CEO or leadership team’s roadmap.
We helped facilitate this for an oil and gas client, and I found myself buying into the roadmap as much as anyone there because it had been built by the whole organisation. It meant everything they were doing was part of that roadmap, so if it wasn’t on the roadmap, it wouldn’t get done. Each item was tied to a strategic objective to achieve the overall vision, so everyone bought in, cared about it and wanted it to be successful.
Once you know you’re involving the right people, you can prioritise being strategic. Recent engagements we’ve worked on have really started to accelerate once the right stakeholders were involved, because a lot of the noise and business-as-usual conversations are cut out, leaving a focus on overarching objectives and securing stronger strategic alignment.
Best practices to create a strategic roadmap
Creating an effective strategic roadmap is worthwhile, but not easy. A lot of upfront work is required to develop it, but you also need to continuously review and adjust it to ensure the full roadmap, and the change it supports, is delivered and embedded.
In our experience developing strategic roadmaps for our clients, we see a lot of the same success factors as well as the same mistakes. So, we’ve put together some best practices for building a strategic roadmap:
- Use change management methodologies: Delivering your strategy will require many of the same skills and tools as delivering any change. Therefore, you should take a methodical change management approach to creating your strategic roadmap, using structured frameworks and proven models such as ADKAR to help your people accept and embed the changes.
- Assess your current state: Because your strategic roadmap is so people-centric, you should assess your employees’ current skills and capabilities to maximise your chances of successful implementation. By identifying skills gaps, then investing in training or hiring to address them, you will ensure your teams have the necessary skills to effectively execute.
- Tell the story of your strategy: Develop a robust communication and engagement plan tailored to your diverse stakeholder groups to keep them informed, address their concerns and build inclusivity, bearing in mind that different groups will have different communication preferences. For example, in a recent engagement, we developed a suite of dynamic Power BI dashboards to demonstrate the progress of our client’s roadmap. These satisfied the preferences of those who absorbed facts and figures well, but they were also highly visual to engage less technical colleagues. Regardless of your communication styles and channels, your key stakeholders should be equipped to consistently communicate your strategic roadmap. You can do this by providing tools to help them tell the story of your strategy, such as engagement decks, key message frameworks and rich pictures.
- Resource allocation: Resources should be allocated strategically, considering financial, technological and, of course, human aspects. This will ensure all of your initiatives are adequately supported for successful implementation and realisation of business benefits, be this increased productivity, reduced burden on employees or improved ways of working.
- Continuous evaluation: You should regularly assess and reassess your strategic roadmap, as it’s intended to be a dynamic document evolving alongside internal and external factors. Consider feedback from across your organisation, changes in your business environment and, hopefully, the achievement of milestones. If your roadmap is truly aligned to your strategy, and you are regularly reviewing it, you should be able to anticipate and proactively respond to new influences or challenges before they start to impact (or derail) your roadmap.
If you’d like to see how these elements work in practice, you might be interested in our recent case study, which goes into detail about how we helped our renewable energy client to build a strategic change roadmap for a global change.
A well-crafted strategic roadmap is not just a static document; it’s a dynamic tool that guides organisations and their people through complex change so they can achieve their goals. It helps to connect the dots between your overall vision and day-to-day operations as well as make that connection clear for your teams so they buy in and work towards your objectives.
Using the guidance we’ve given you here, you can start to navigate your path to success with confidence and agility, armed with your people-focused roadmap.
Please feel welcome to get in touch if you’d like support with any aspect of creating and delivering a strategic roadmap, or with any other change challenges you have.