You Think You Have A Strategic Plan

Let me share a glimpse into my life as a management consultant who specializes in strategic planning and business transformation.

Here is my side of a simple conversation that I have had more times than I care to remember:

Do you have a Strategic Plan? Oh, great! May I see it? Sure, I’ll sign an NDA. OK, thanks. Ummm, this isn’t a strategic plan.”

Strategic Planning is one of those things that every leadership team claims to do, but, few actually perform.

Certainly, the management team may have an annual Strategic Planning Offsite…and, yes, the walls will be plastered with flip chart pages. Following the meeting, a document will be produced. However, when I review the result, I often find that the “strategic plan” is nothing more than a set of long-range goals and an annual budget.

Like I said, “Ummm, this isn’t a strategic plan.

With the above scenario as a backdrop, here is this week’s tip from my book, The Best Practices Enterprise:

Strategic planning is an ongoing, continuous process used to identify, document and oversee all of the strategic, tactical and operational-related initiatives underway (and intended to be done) within an enterprise in order to achieve its vision. It is not budgeting. It is not an annual event. It is not trivial. If done correctly, it can set you apart from your competitors forever.

Program-centric strategic planning is an essential element of a Best Practices Enterprise™.

What Is Program-Centric Strategic Planning?

Program-Centric Strategic Plans organize initiatives into projects and programs. Projects are initiatives that are performed once and are done. Programs are initiatives that are ongoing by nature and will continue into the future. Programs can spawn one or more projects and/or programs (depending on the needs of the organization). A Program-Centric Strategic Plan, one that truly reflects the firm’s strategic direction, is perhaps the most important management tool that an organization can have at its disposal. It is a detailed, road map into the future. It can be used as a ‘screen’ from which to measure the merit of new ideas and notions. It can keep an organization on-track. It can identify trade-offs to consider. It can help manage risk. Indeed, once established, the Program-Centric Strategic Plan holds the “formula” for success in the new millennium.

Please take this tip to heart. As I shared in the first tip of this series, businesses are heading into a time when they will be in a continual state of transformation. The business environment will force firms to move faster than ever before. Organizations will need a strategic plan that allows for rapid and dynamic change – one that they keep current and evolve as opportunities arise and better ideas are formed.

Let me now if you need some assistance getting a Strategic Planning Program going at your place.

As always, please share, comment, and otherwise pass it on.

I’ll bring you another free tip in a few weeks.

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