Your Strategic Plan Needs a Strategic PlanKristin Luck
Strategic planning is one of the most confounding activities for Founders and executive teams. Not only does it involve assumptions and predictions involving a number of variables like market trends or customer loyalty and spend that you may have little or no control over, but it also means deep thought and alignment around the objectives and key results you hope to accomplish as an organization over the next 12-24 months.
TOO OFTEN WE AVOID STRATEGIC PLANNING BECAUSE WE’VE CREATED THE ILLUSION THAT A STRATEGIC PLAN HAS TO LOOK TOO FAR INTO THE FUTURE OR PLAN FOR EVERY POSSIBLE OUTCOME, WHICH IS NOT THE CASE
In truth, a lot of strategic planning feels like the graph below….spit balling and hoping for the best. But you can get the most of your strategic planning process by keeping the following four tips in mind.
Image by Tom Fishburne
- Be open to iteration. Strategic plans aren’t designed to be “set it and forget it”. Understanding that your strategic plan is subject to iteration can help executive teams push past “strategy block” and be braver about making big bold moves.
- Expect the best but plan for the worst. When strategic plans or budgets go off piste it’s easy to get analysis paralysis and struggle with decision making. A strategic plan and annual budget that involves scenario planning can make tough decisions easier in the moment.
- Don’t “boil the ocean”. The flip side of scenario planning is that too often we avoid strategic planning because we’ve created the illusion that a strategic plan has to look too far into the future or plan for every possible outcome. Again, the purpose of a strategic plan is to AVOID analysis paralysis in the moment – not create it.
- Take a collaborative approach to planning. Too often we buffer the team executing on the strategy from the actual planning process, believing it’s too stressful or distracting for mid-level managers to participate in strategy discussions. Ensuring your entire team understands the objectives the company is trying to accomplish and involving them in the creation of your overarching corporate strategy gets everyone rowing in the same direction.
Still struggling with strategic planning as we move into Q2? Reach out to us for assistance.