How often does your organisation refer to its strategic plan? Is the document front and centre? Or is it sitting in a filing cabinet gathering dust?
If yours falls into the latter category, it’s time to take your strategic plan and bin it!
Writing strategic plans is like a disease of modern management. But while the art of writing a plan might make us feel better, we need to question its purpose.
Binning your plan may sound extreme, but time and again organisations invest in expensive consultants to complete this work, only to find that the execution phase (points 4-7 below) has been overlooked.
How do I know this? Because I’ve witnessed it firsthand across numerous organisations we’ve worked with, and through interactions with the 1700 people Kiikstart has mentored to successfully change and execute ideas.
Every organisation needs a compelling and actionable strategic plan that can be relied upon day-to-day. A good strategic plan should anchor your organisation and not only support your objectives, but lay out the path, actions and timeframes to achieve it.
Below, I’ve covered the seven must-include elements for your strategic plan.
- Clearly defined (and prioritised!) objectives
Be as specific as you can regarding your organisation’s objective/s. Consider the end game for your business if they execute on these. Then prioritise your agreed objectives in the best order to achieve this result. Question throughout the process what matters to your stakeholders – both internal and external – and why.
- A Set Strategy
Your strategy, or strategies, covers the ‘what’. From past experience, many strategic plans stop with only a list of what needs to be done, but without laying out the further steps. Read on!
- Supporting tactics
Your supporting tactics cover the ‘how’. As Nell Edgington from Social Velocity asserts, “A good strategic plan includes a tactical plan so that the broad goals are broken down into individual steps to get there.” Ensure you’re really clear about the specific actions you must undertake to achieve your end objective.
- Task assignment
Ensure that you assign the right people to each tactic. Consider your team’s skills, experience and expertise to find the person who will add the most value when executing that part of the project. Also ensure you involve your key players in this process. Writing for Forbes, Aileron says one of the most common strategic planning mistakes is not involving “those charged with executing the plan” from the start.
- Identify supporters
Be sure to also identify your broader network of supporters. Look beyond your organisation and consider your broader networks, and prospective partner opportunities. A well-conceived strategic plan can be a compelling resource for prospective funders.
- Set timeframes
Strategic plans have a limited shelf life, so ensure you set achievable timeframes for each strategy and tactic. You should allow enough time to keep your team focused and on their toes, but not so little time that the quality of your work is compromised.
- Track your progress
As part of your plan, be sure to also identify how you’ll assess and track your success against each objective. Consider accountability mechanisms and the programs and people who will do this work and keep your team on track.
My final piece of advice is to avoid overcomplicating your plan. This is your roadmap for success, but it doesn’t need to be a particularly lengthy document.
Keep it concise and stick to these tips, and you’ll be well on your way to strategic supremacy. Happy planning!