Strategic Planning: Dreams, Nightmares or Reality? Day 1

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In the words of an old Japanese proverb, “Vision without action is a dream; action without vision is a nightmare”. Take a moment to translate this thought into your organization, particularly when it comes to strategic planning. If you are like many leaders out there, you are probably being asked to be responsible for strategic planning for your organization or department. Statistics show the percentage of organizations that actually achieve the goals of their strategic plans to be quite small. So, why is this true?

Although there are numerous factors that can impede an organizations ability to achieve its’ strategic goals, there are four common trends that I have continually come across throughout my years of consulting: Lack of Vision, Missing the Reality Check, No Plan of Execution, and Unclear Accountability.

So how can leaders build and move their strategic plans from dreams and nightmares – to reality?  Consider the top 10 tips we’ll look at this week:

Tip #1: Know your long-term vision.

Before you embark on any strategic planning effort, ask yourself this question: Where does the organization or department need to be in the next 3-5 years? Failing to determine where you want to be over time is like jumping on the next available airplane without really planning your trip, and as a result, regretting the destination. Know your long-term vision first so that you plan your strategic objectives with intent and purpose.

Tip #2: Be a proactive planner.

Get in the habit of pre-scheduling time in advance to work on your strategic plans. For example, if you know that during the same time each year executives will count on you for a new strategic plan, then make sure to calendar the time needed in advance for plan development. Be generous with the time you allocate, as you may need time to socialize a strategic plan draft with key stakeholders for feedback, and complete multiple revisions prior to review and approval with executives.  Strategic planning is an activity that is vital to an organization or departments’ ongoing success, and there’s nothing worse than being rushed in such an important process. Make it an ongoing priority and give it the time it deserves!

Written by:

Corinne Sinnigen