Many clients I work with don’t do strategic plans. Most know they should. Some try. But very few engage in a formal process that would either be considered strategic or even helpful when measured in terms of outputs down the road.
- Any exercise that forces the management team to think about its goals and how to achieve them is good.
- Strategic planning is a creative, not a budgeting exercise. Budgeting is separate and comes later.
- Strategic planning is always top down – timing, process and desired outcomes must come from the top.
- Strategic planning is a team, not a functional activity.
- Honest, forthright discussion by those involved in executing strategy is fundamental to good outcomes.
- Creativity can be driven top down and bottom up. Top down: “here’s our challenge, how do we fix it?”. Bottom up: “here’s our ideas and where we think they fit”. Both are required.
- Strategic planning must be regular but need not be annual. Any plan that changes annually isn’t strategic.
- The highest level of strategic planning is defining the goal. Then come strategies, then tactics.
- Managers will always confuse goals, strategies and tactics. Working bottom up: tactics answer the how; strategies answer the what; goals answer the why.
- Planning is irrelevant without execution.