How can you know if you are doing the right things, at the right time with out a Strategic Plan. Just like Alice in Wonderland, if you don’t have a vision of where you want to go, it doesn’t really matter the path you take. Many leaders are frustrated with the poor results they’ve seen with past strategic plans and have abandoned the effort entirely. Some create a huge binder each year and it sits on the shelf until next years planning session. Others are intimidated by the word ‘strategic” and never even attempt one.
Don’t let the fancy name scare you, a “Strategic Plan” is just an outline of what you want to do with your company, when, how and with what people and stuff to help you get there. It can be pretty simple, and get more detailed as you start laying out goals and objectives. It is however, essential to have one in writing that your entire team can follow and keep them focused on the same goals.
I recently presented an Education Component in our monthly group meeting on Time Management, and we challenged our Peer to Peer group members to base their actions on a clear vision and set of goals for the year. This would allow their teams to be working on the right things, in the right order, to get there results you really want. Once you know where you are going, and the plans to get there, THEN you can change practices to optimize your time and be more productive. Strategic Plans allow you to accomplish this.
Strategic plans answer the questions of “where will we play and how do we win.” They are a great tool to help you create budgets to anticipate cash flow, set hiring and employee development plans, capital and technology requirements, marketing and much more. This plan needs to be in writing so everyone can align their efforts around a focused target, and make decisions based on a bigger picture. However, they also need to allow for the fast changes of the market and geo political activities that may require you adjust along the way.
* Just for clarity of the process, Vision and Mission create Goals, Goals will lead to setting Objectives, which are the foundation of your Strategic Plan. This plan will have tasks and projects, who will be responsible to get these done, and when they are due. Together, this keeps your team focused and moving in the right direction.
Your Strategic Plan needs to be realistic, measurable, updated annually, reviewed quarterly, and lived out daily. The process of assessing the situation, seeing how this affects your plans, create adjustments as required, and put them into action, needs to be an ongoing effort to maximize the results. It’s not that you change the Strategic Plan, you just factor in new conditions that can allow you to get to the goal in a more efficient manner.
Your Strategic Plan is driven by the Vision and Mission that you create. If you have not created a written Vision and Mission statement, here is a great link to help you understand the difference between these, and how to create these for your team. (Click the photo to learn more about the difference between Mission and Vision)
If this seems like too daunting of a task, start with a simple plan that you and your team can effectively handle in a timely manner. Then increase it to cover more items each year as you successfully accomplish your goals and create an environment where people will take on activities based on a clear and compelling plan. Tackle the top five things about your company that will have the biggest impact on the bottom line and then add more each year to cover the key areas of your company, i.e. Quality, Sales, Marketing, Manufacturing, Technology, Culture, HR, etc. Here is a link to a Forbes article on Strategic Planning that has a template and some examples to get you thinking. Strategic Plans
Our Renaissance Executive Forum members have the opportunity to share their vision, mission, and plans of their organization with the trusted members of our forums. This is a great place for them to air out their plan before they share it with their company, and get wise input from other top executives who have done this before. This accountability and insight allows our CEO’s and Owners to have the confidence to lead with excellence.
If you need some help with creating your Strategic Plan, email me and I’ll send you a simple one-page plan to help you get started. Contact me any time at info@REFDallas.com or (469) 269 – 5148.