Mention the words, ‘strategic’ and ‘plan’ in the same sentence, and many people conjure up the image of a high cost, low value exercise. Often those plans have included the commensurate three-ring binder—the fatter the binder, the more expensive the plan.
Many of us have also had the chance to suffer through a strategic planning ‘retreat’; a day-long exercise rich in brainstorming, flipcharts and sticky dots, but short on Objectives, Action Plans, and Follow Through.
Hopefully those feel-good but unproductive planning experiences have not deterred you from tackling a planning exercise in your own business. In every case, it’s not the concept of strategic planning that’s flawed, but rather the process used to conduct the exercise. Actually those negative experiences can inform us on how to better conduct an effective planning exercise.
In reality, effective strategic planning is not a yearly event, but rather an on-going undertaking in your business. It just makes common sense when you think about it…we need to be strategic every day of the year, and it’s the well designed plan that’s referred to on a weekly if not daily basis, that guides us in our decisions.