Q: What is a Strategic Plan, when do I need it and how do I make it work?

Q: What is a Strategic Plan, when do I need it and how do I make it work?

Without a strategic plan, it’s hard to accomplish anything. Whether you’re hosting a holiday dinner, coaching little league, running a business or managing a large corporate division – you need a good strategic plan. But what exactly is it, when do you need it, and how do you make it work? That’s a good question! Let’s explore.

What is a Strategic Plan?

A strategic plan is typically a written document used to communicate your organizational goals, the actions needed to achieve those goals and all of the other critical elements developed during the planning exercise. It enables your team to focus on a small set of desirable, clearly articulated outcomes in order to produce desired results.

When do you need a Strategic Plan?

An effective strategic plan can be a powerful organizational development tool. It can serve as a blueprint for your company’s growth and it can keep your business on track throughout any expected or unexpected changes that may come your way. Here are a few examples of when you should consider a strategic plan:

  • When you have departments going in different directions
  • When you need new insights from other peoples’ perspectives
  • When your priority initiatives are being given secondary treatment
  • When you need new ways of thinking about old problems
  • When you need to sharpen your focus on critical success factors for pushing your company forward
  • When you need to narrow down a huge menu of potential choices to a manageable few
  • When you need to build a new team that needs to be focused on a common vision
  • When you need to communicate a virtual strategy that is locked in your head

How do you make a Strategic Plan work?

1. Choose your planning team carefully

Include those who can, and will, contribute positively and those who are positioned to drive the successful implementation of the strategies within the plan.

2. Identify your company’s current position

Conduct internal and external audits to get a clear understanding of your industry, your competitive landscape and your real competencies.

3. Determine priority issues

Where do you want to take your organization over time? What’s your mission and vision? What are the priority issues—those issues that require your full and immediate attention. Once you have these jotted down, determine what your organization must achieve to address these priority issues.

4. Make people accountable

A plan will get you nowhere without action! Communicate your strategic plan and make sure members of your team understand the critical role they play in both strategy development and strategy implementation of the strategic plan. But, don’t stop there. Make sure you monitor progress regularly at monthly or quarterly review meetings and refine as necessary.

5. Link your strategic plan to your budget

Make it official by estimating the resources required to accomplish all of the action steps within your strategic plan. Those resources should include: people, money, facilities and equipment.

Strategic planning takes time, energy, and focus. Take the time to do it right – It can help you take your company to the next level.

Strengthen your business. Produce the results you want.