What if you could uncover within minutes how to advance your organization to the next level? What if you knew
- Which area to work on with priority?
- How to get results as fast as possible?
- Gain the most significant return-on-investment?
We all have been there. There are many ideas about what one could improve. But which one will lead to the most noticeable improvement? Which one will make the most difference?
How to answer these questions within a few minutes is the topic of this article. The Strategic Audit Template, which you can download here, is the tool for the job.
I recommend you download the template before reading on because I will walk you through how to best use it.
This strategic audit template is the short version of our full strategic audit. We call it the Fresh Eyes Assessment. With it, we cause significant growth (revenue, profit, etc.) in a short time. We even use it for turning around organizations that have fallen on tough times. With the insights we gain, we return the organization to being profitable. Often it takes only a few months to do that after a strategic audit has pinpointed the most crucial area/s.
Even though this template is short and quick to fill out, it will give you valuable insights. It will pinpoint which area/s you might want to work on to get the best possible return on your investment.
The strategic audit template helps you assess eight different aspects of your company. Strictly speaking, it is ten aspects since the first category has three subcategories.
You will answer a total of 10 questions, with a rating of 1 to 10 (where 10 is best). Each of the strategic audit categories comes with the question:
How well do you think your organization is doing in this category?
Which Categories Are Part Of The Strategic Audit Template?
The categories are:
- Vision, Mission, Legacy
- Work Environment
- Sales & Marketing
The first category has three subcategories, i.e., vision, mission, and legacy. Confusion about the difference between a vision and a mission statement is common. We give you our definition (the template spells that out, too):
- We recommend that a mission statement be short and memorable and tell the world your purpose. It is excellent if you can say the mission statement in 8-12 words. And it is terrific if you can express your company’s purpose anytime. Imagine someone waking you up in the middle of your sleep. Can you say it then? If your team members can say the same thing, too, you know your organization knows its purpose. Everyone is on the same page with the organization’s mission/purpose.
- The vision statement contains your vision for your organization’s future. It includes a lot more detail, and parts of it might be confidential. In the vision statement, a business owner or team fleshes out his/her/their vision. The more detailed it is, the better (up to a point). Some parts might be confidential. Your exit strategy, intentions of mergers & acquisitions, or longer-term plans are examples.
The Strategic Audit Template is Simple, Yet Sophisticated
We have kept this strategic audit template simple so you can get your answers fast. Which area should we improve to get ahead the fastest and gain the most return on our investment? We focus on the eight critical areas that affect all organizations, from small to large.
Yet, we have also built in more sophistication. We give you a few essential questions to consider while you estimate a rating for any given category.
For example, let’s consider the aspect of “Legacy.”
The big question is, “How sustainable is your organization? To what extent do you have plans to create a LEGACY?” Okay, in this case, that’s two questions, and we ask you to rate them as one.
To help you rate your organization’s status in this category, we give you a few questions to think about:
- How future-proofed is your organization?
- Which key people are near retirement?
- To what extent have you prepared for transferring critical knowledge? We are talking primarily about undocumented expertise that is only in someone’s brain?
- How well prepared is your company to deal with a critical person being gone or absent? What if the absence was for a long time, and there was no notice?
- To what extent has the current owner/s contemplated what legacy he/she/they want to leave behind?
- Which risks do you see, and how could you mitigate them?
If you think each of these questions would deserve their own rating, you can do that. Then form the average for the rating of the category. Please do not get too hung-up about it. An estimated rating per category is good enough.
I invite you to complete the strategic audit in a few minutes. Chances are if you don’t, you may put it off to another day when you have more time. Often that day never comes.
Jotting Down Your Thoughts
As you read through the template’s guiding questions, you will think of ideas, challenges, or both. Jot it down. A bullet or two is enough.
Ask yourself, “If I had a ‘magic wand’ with which I could do anything in this category, what would it be?” Jot that down. In the template, there is space for that in the fourth column of the table.
I’ve Filled Out The Strategic Audit Template; Now What?
Great question! I’ve got two recommendations for you:
- Take a look at the template you filled out:
- Which category did you rank the lowest? What was your “magic wand” answer in that category? This area is likely the area for you to tackle first. Extra attention in this area will give you the highest return on investment.
- Which aha’s occurred to you during this brief exercise? If you had several, which are the top three? Of those, which one is #1? This method provides another clue about which area to improve. Again, it is an area of high return-on-investment for enhancing your organization.
- Email the template to me and schedule a 15-minute complimentary conversation. No strings attached. I am down to earth, and I don’t bite. 😊
Gain Valuable Insights For Your Strategy in a Few Minutes
In summary, the Strategic Audit Template is a fast way to get a fresh look at your organization.
Of course, an outside expert can do a detailed strategic audit. As we call it, the Fresh Eyes Assessment sheds even more light on your organization’s opportunities and challenges. It brings an even fresher perspective to the table.
Yet, you can get a good sense of what your top priority in improving your organization needs to be. All you need is this strategic audit template and a few minutes of your time.
I hope this Strategic Audit Template is helpful to you! Let me know how you are doing, and I appreciate your feedback.