Strategic Planning Evolved
– The QUAD Model

Mike whiteboard

In our last post “A 5 Step Brand Development Strategy for Growth-Driven B2B Marketing” we provided detailed information on a step-by-step strategy for a growth-driven marketing plan.

With this article, we are going to present you with a new and innovative way to help you tackle the sometimes overwhelming task of developing your strategic plan.

No worries, our system – QUAD Model- is a very easy to follow systematic approach designed for business process improvement and connected to values.  QUAD Model is an adaptive opportunistic approach to strategic planning.

Companies big and small sit at the crossroads of complexity and growth. Bringing together design thinking, agile, lean, and other business methods, QUAD Model is an evolved business planning system focused on clarity and action.

The QUAD Model spawned from a need for reform and is now our simple tool for strategic planning and problem-solving. Our desire is to share it in hopes that it connects real-world action to the values that drive us all.

A new generation of strategic planning

The old strategic planning tools are outdated and often leave companies empty-handed and confused about how to take their “fifty thousand-foot views” and turn it into action. QUAD Model amplifies and aligns visions and goals with the necessary steps to get there. Here are the sections that make up each step:

1. Learn – The Big Picture

The Big Picture QUAD represents why you are in business and the values that drive your culture. Your position is what sets you apart and your promise is the most important aspect of your service that you want to offer. This QUAD is your anchor, keeping solutions and improvements connected to your “why”.  The four (4) components of this section are:

  1. Values: What are some things that drive you as individuals and as a team? (ex: Apple – Innovation, Inclusion, Simplicity)
  2. Vision: Can you visualize the impact you want the business to have? (ex: Apple – “We want Apple to be a reflection of the world around us.”)
  3. Position: What are the three things that make you unique? The likelihood of sharing all 3 with a competitor is not likely. (ex: Apple – great products, think different, simple to use)
  4. Promise: What can you confidently promise to your customers? (ex: Apple – “We want Apple to be a reflection of the world around us.”)

2. Map – The Road Forward

The rationale for The Road Forward QUAD is to develop a path laying out where we ultimately want to be and the phase lines to get us there. The information here is all driven by the previous “Big Picture” section.

  • 10 Year: Also known as your big hairy audacious goal (BHAG). We start this far out in time because you should design a future state that is bigger than what you can see now.
  • 3 Year: Three-year goals should paint an achievable picture for your people. This should be the factor that attracts employees who are on board or pushes people out who don’t fit.
  • 1 Year: With the three-year picture in mind, it is more realistic to determine what you must do in the next 12 months to stay on track. Keep one thing in mind, less is more.
  • Quarter: Even though this is technically 3 months out, in terms of the pace of business, it is right on top of you. Goals here should be based on that reality but serve as the foundation for Year 1.

3. Focus – Focus & Solve

The Focus & Solve QUAD is where we take the big pieces from the Quarter Quadrant and develop action items for each. The best way to do this is to develop a “how” or “what” question for the goal. This approach also brings us into a brainstorming phase where the team can offer new ideas on how to accomplish the goals at hand.

  • Solve 1: Select your top priority from the quarter quadrant from the previous section. Reframe the priority into how or what question. Now brainstorm solutions…..
  • Solve 2: Form your question first….. Now brainstorm solutions…..
  • Solve 3: Next Priority
  • Solve 4: You get the idea

4. Apply – Take Action

Now we are into the breakdown of larger pieces we want to accomplish. The following are actionable items tied to each larger element. Each action is paired with an assigned owner and given due dates to be accomplished. Here’s an example of typical actions to complete and how they are assigned and tracked:

1  Write marketing plan w/budget  Sarah / Lynda 12/15/17
2  Brand identity refresh  Mike / Craig 1/1/18
3  Find someone to do video (houses/agents/area)  Mike / Craig 11/15/17
4  Source out everything (create cost list)  Pierce Forward 11/15/17
5  Identify what needs to be outsourced  Sarah / Lynda 12/15/17
6  Identify digital tools Pierce Forward 11/15/17
7  Analyze website user patterns Pierce Forward 11/15/17
8  Develop social media strategy (content calendar) Pierce Forward 11/15/17

What happens next?

This point is crucial for the success of the entire project. Often teams get this far and lose steam because they get back to their usual daily workflow and find they don’t have time to work on these “extra” things. It is critical to decide early on if you want to champion this project to ensure its success or enlist the help of one of our QUAD Model Champions.

Let Us Help You Get Started

If you’re thinking about implementing QUAD Model in your business, schedule a free Discovery Call with us. Our call will give us an opportunity to explain how our system can help.  Here’s what you can expect in our Strategic Planning Workshops:

  1. Discovery Session: A discovery session is a deep dive into your business to examine the challenges you’re facing and gain a shared understanding of what success looks like.
  2. Charting The Path: The discovery session will allow us to chart a path forward and develop the quickest, cheapest, most effective, and least risky way to solve the problem.
  3. Reporting & Project Plan: After the session, you’ll receive a report that includes the detailed requirements of the project, ways to avoid any potential risks, and a plan of action to get your business from where it is now to where you would like to be.
  4. Implementation: This is the most critical step that takes your new plan and makes it a reality. The implementation phase is run by one of our expert QUAD Model champions and includes one-on-one team member calls, task completion checks, Champion reviews, and on-call support.

Meet the QUAD Model Facilitators:

QUAD Model Facilitators - Craig Pierce, Mike McKearin, Heather Grant, Drue Stinnett


Download the free QUAD strategic planning worksheet Strategic Planning Worksheet - QUAD Model

This free QUAD Model strategic worksheet has everything you need to connect high-level vision with boots-on-the-ground action steps for any business or organization.  This is a modern mashup of tried and true problem-solving methodologies including Design Thinking, Lean Manufacturing, Six Sigma, and others.

QUAD Model Strategic Planning Worksheet

If you need help with your brand development strategy and executables, feel free to reach out to us. Your strategy is a critical piece to building a successful brand and we would love to help. It’s what we do.  Send an email to or call 978.660.7590 to get started.

This article was originally prepared and published by WE·DO Worldwide. WE·DO Worldwide is Pierce Forward’s digital agency partner.

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