Goals Based Strategic Planning - Part IX (DO's and DONT's)

DO’s

•DO commit to the strategic process completely. Once you decide that your organization needs to develop a strategic plan, make a total commitment to the planning process. Be prepared to provide the Core Team with time, resources and access to information and personnel as appropriate.

•DO be selective especially when completing the SWOT and identifying the most important strategic factors. Make certain that they are tailored toward your particular specific needs, culture, environment and the nature of your business.

•DO remember that your strategic plan is both an internal and external document. Make certain that you create the document with appendices so that it can be distributed in pieces (see the chapter on work product). Otherwise, you may inadvertently end up giving away competitive or confidential information outside your organization.

•DO monitor the performance measures at regular pre-planned intervals to ensure that the strategic goals and objectives are being met.

•DO collect regular feedback from participants too ensure that they understand and agree with the planning process. If not, find out what they do not like and how it could be done better.

DO NOT’s

•Even though strategic planning is a disciplined process, DO NOT expect it to flow smoothly from one step to the next. It is a creative process, and you will often find new analysis and information uncovered in the current week of planning may override decisions that we made in the prior week.

•DO NOT assume that the strategic planning process is a one-size fits all methodology. You should adapt and personalize the planning process to suit the specific needs of your organization.

•DO NOT try to create one plan that covers the strategic and tactical elements for the entire organization. It is better to have an overarching strategic plan and several operational plans that may or may not be appendices to the strategic plan.

•If any individual or individuals do not buy-in to a certain aspect of the plan, DO NOT proceed from that step until consensus has been achieved. Remember, at the end of the process, all the planners need to be on the same sheet of music.

LESSONS LEARNED AND MISCELLANEOUS FAQs

1.When should an organization conduct strategic planning? There is no simple answer to this question. The timeframe for performing the strategic planning process depends on the nature and needs of the specific organization and its immediate external environment.

2.Should you use an outside consultant? The short answer to this question is yes. strategic planning is a very subjective process and can be easily derailed. An impartial facilitator that can act as a moderator and not a content generator will enable you to keep on track.

3.Why is the planning process equal to or more important than the work product? Since most of us are action oriented, a very common mistake in the strategic planning process if to place primary emphasis strategic plan work product. In the end, this work product is just a document. The real benefit of strategic planning is the planning process itself.

4.What is the typical schedule for strategic planning? In the most likely scenario, it should take roughly two months from the time the Core Strategic Planning and the Extended Strategic Planning teams are formed before you have the work product. Various factors will influence this timeline.

5.How should I communicate and implement my strategic plan? Document and distribute the plan to the entire organization and consider inviting review input from all. NOTE: Make certain that appropriate levels within the organization receive the appropriate copy of the plan (ie with or without sensitive appendices). You do not want your balance sheet or budget to end up in the wrong hands.

6.What are the benefits of properly implementing the strategic plan? The key to success is in the effective implementation of the plan. Organizations that do a good job of developing and implementing their strategies can create a competitive edge.

While there are many very real ancillary benefits of properly implementing the strategic plan, they all fall under the umbrella of the primary benefit that is to optimize the organization's potential through the formulation and realization of an appropriate future vision.

Author:.

Dr. Uchil is an entrepreneur, business-owner and author embodying almost three decades of management and consulting experience. Prior to founding The Uchil Group and Uchil, LLC, Dr. Uchil spent over eighteen years in a variety of senior management roles at several large consulting organizations. In addition to his PhD in Business Administration Dr. Uchil also holds an MBA in Consulting Operations Management, a BSEE in Electrical Engineering and a Diploma in Electronics and Telecommunicati...

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