Setting Up Your Strategic Plan for Success
The problem with most strategic plans is that they end up on a shelf collecting dust.
I have gone through the strategic planning process (or so I thought) many times over the years that I have been in business. Most of the time, it was a waste of time. The plans failed due to lack of buy-in, lack of follow through, and lack of accountability.
So, how do you go about making sure that not only is your plan actionable, but that action is actually taken?
The key is to take your time, and don’t skip any steps. But how much time and what are the steps?
I’m sure the time question will have a different answer for every company. I can only tell you that our most recent strategic planning process has taken 6 months to complete, with our strategic planning team meeting almost every week. In the past, we might have spent a weekend or a long day or two on the process. However, this time we used the planning process laid out in Traction, by Gino Wickman. Wickman is a strategic planning consultant with many years and companies worth of experience.
His recommendation for the greatest chance of success, based on working with 100’s of companies, is to use the following order:
- Establish your company Core Values
- Measure your people against your Core Values – Any Lack of fit? (Make adjustments)
- Put together an Accountability Chart to clarify Roles, Functions and Reporting
- Assign the “right butts to the right seats” on the Accountability chart
- Install a regular, productive meeting schedule
- Establish a Score Card: What are the Metrics that will control your business?
- Set a Long Term Goal
- Identify your Target Markets and your positioning for those markets
- Identify 1 year, Quarterly, and Monthly Targets for Revenue, Profitability along with any other critical milestones necessary to move you closer to your Long Term Goal
You’ll notice that the typical strategic planning activities don’t start until Step 7. The key to strategic planning success is first establishing Steps 1 through 6. The other key is taking as much time as you need and making sure your strategic planning team is all on board with each step before continuing on.
I would recommend that you pick up a copy of Traction. It’s a helpful “how-to” book for strategic planning and should increase your chances for strategic planning success.
Wes is president of TMR Direct, an inbound and direct mail marketing company. He frequently covers topics about integrating offline and online marketing efforts, marketing strategy and transforming businesses. Connect with Wes on LinkedIn and Twitter .