Many businesses don’t have a strategic plan in place. They work on the premise of ad-hoc strategies, with a lack of direction and no focus.
Even if there is a strategic plan in place, there is not much attention paid to it, even though that disregard can cause some terrible results, such as:
- Employees don’t know what’s going on;
- Drive and motivation are lacking;
- Leadership is poor at the top;
- Bad decisions are made;
- There is no accountability; and
- Revenues suffer.
I can speak from experience… I have worked in a couple of organisations where the strategic plan has been put on the ‘shelf’ and rarely referred to. Some of the more dominant personalities in this organisation were focused more on the day-to-day operational stuff, not the long-term vision.
It is important that a strategic plan is developed and implemented for a set period. Key strategic pillars based on the core business need to be identified—e.g., financial resources or sales & marketing. Each pillar has metrics and activities linked to it.
It’s important to state the plan points clearly, such as the purpose of your business; the vision, mission and core values; current industry and competitor situations; SWOT; the pillars and strategies linked to each one; tactics; risks; and even an exit strategy. There are many other points that can be discussed, but these are some of the most critical.
The strategic plan is a ‘live’ document and needs to be flexible. Regular measurement and tracking need to be done, and meetings should be set aside to discuss the strategic plan on a regular basis.
The strategic plan can be summarised into a one-page document clearly showing the strategic pillars and the metrics. This should be stuck up on a wall in your line of sight.
Having the plan visible will keep people focused. Accountability will be set, and the strategic objectives will be a priority. More importantly, the organisation will have direction, leadership will be instilled, and business growth could be a desire and not a hope or a dream!