Posted on September 13, 2013 • Posted in What We're Thinking About

Strategic plans.

We spend thousands, even tens of thousands of dollars, creating them.  Countless hours are spent bringing people to the process, writing, rewriting, and seeking its approval.

What happens next?

Too often, it is forgotten – something to be put in a time capsule that we can look at many years down the road that provides fodder for our perceived priorities at the time.  You look at them and think,  I wish I knew then what I know now.

Some folks from the Monitor Institute shared the history of the strategic plan and the growing debate about their usefulness in an article in the Stanford Social Innovation Review.  To sum it up:

We think that what is necessary today is a strategy that breaks free of static plans to be adaptive and directive, that emphasizes learning and control, and that reclaims the value of strategic thinking for the world that now surrounds us.

In other words:  do plan, but don’t think you can’t alter your course.  Learn from the strategies you’ve executed so you can make informed decisions about the direction your organization needs to go.

While your strategic plan should be fluid, your commitment to executing it should be disciplined.  Use it to create more detailed one-year business plans outlining the initiatives necessary to meet your goals that year.  Review the business plan monthly to check on progress, learn from experiments, and make adjustments.  When you are ready to develop the following year’s business plan, start with a review of the strategic plan.  With all you’ve learned over the past year, it is likely you’ll have some changes to make to the strategic plan first.

Have a question about strategic planning?  Ask Hammond.

-MC

*As Dwight D. Eisenhower once said.