Why A Strategic
Plan Is Important
we work with a variety of businesses across a number of industries.
In reviewing the performance of these organizations, it is always
interesting to note that those businesses that perform at the
highest levels have some sort of formalized strategic plan in
place and have implemented it well. On the other hand, those
businesses that struggle have no plan in place and seem to flounder
in their attempts to be successful.
In order for
a business to be successful, there needs to be a roadmap for
success. A strategic plan helps to provide direction and focus
for all employees. It points to specific results that are to
be achieved and establishes a course of action for achieving
them. A strategic plan also helps the various work units within
an organization to align themselves with common goals.
leading cause of business failure is not having a strategic plan
in place that is being well implemented. If a business has little
idea where it is headed, it will wander aimlessly with priorities
changing constantly and employees confused about the purpose
of their jobs.
Building a strategic
plan is not difficult. It will take some thought and some feedback
from customers and others, but businesses should be routinely
garnering feedback from appropriate consituent groups on an ongoing
basis. The process of developing a strategic plan should be rewarding
for all involved and usually helps develop stronger communications
between members of the planning team.
the key to making the plan work is a commitment to seeing it
through and sound implementation. Many businesses have developed
strategic plans only to put them on a shelf to gather dust. Managers
need a well developed strategic plan in order to effectively
establish expectations for their employees. Without a plan, expectations
are developed in a void and there is little or no alignment with
common goals. A good strategic plan looks out 2 to 5 years and
describes clearly how the business will grow and prosper over
that planning horizon.
Take a look at
your business. Does there seem to be a lack of focus on where
the company is headed? Does everyone clearly understand the goals
for the business? Strategically, how will the business achieve
those goals? Is your current planning horizon longer than one
year? Are you developing annual business/operating plans without
a strategic plan in place? A strategic plan should drive operating
To develop a
strategic plan, establish a planning team that includes employees,
managers, owner(s) and customers. The team should be held to
10 to 12 people. There are a number of steps involved in the
process and it requires excellent facilitation to keep things
on track. If you need detailed instruction about how to develop
a strategic plan, visit our sister site, mybusinessbooks.com. There you can order
your copy of the widely used Strategic
Planning Workbook which provides detailed, step-by-step instructions
on how to develop your strategic plan.