Why do you need a Strategic Plan? -

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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text margin_bottom=”20″]Does your organization have a clearly articulated strategic business plan that everyone understands and supports? Why do you need one and what is the impact of not having a written strategic plan?

Who should be involved in the preparation, review and approval of your business strategic plan? In this first of a series of blogs about strategic plans, I attempt to answer the first question: WHY?

When asked, most CEOs will say that they have a business strategy, but the true test is to ask three people (senior managers and board members) and see if they can all articulate roughly the same strategy for the corporation.

In fact, many organizations do not have a clearly written strategic plan that has been approved by the board and communicated to all staff and key stakeholders. Without a clearly articulated strategy in place, everyone on the team is pulling in a different direction trying to achieve what they believe to be in the best interests of the corporation.

As Porter outlined in his famous HBR article, strategy is the creation of a unique and valuable position for an organization, requires that you make trade-offs and involves creating “fit” among the corporation’s activities. When faced with the day-to-day challenges of the organization, a CEO often finds it difficult to focus sufficient energy on creation of a strategic plan.

Why do you need a written and approved strategic plan for your corporation?

The main reasons are as follows:

  1. Creation of a medium to long-term roadmap for the corporation so that everyone understands the end target and direction. The plan should consider the 3 to 5 year objectives in light of the current situation and the expected changes in the business environment over that period of time. A common road map means that all (or at least most) of the corporate energy is being expended to reach the same common objectives.
  2. Engagement of the senior team and other key stakeholders to define and refine the vision, mission and approach for the target period. Two heads are better than one and several are better than two to get to a quality output. Engagement also means that people take ownership in the plan and will channel their efforts and energy into reaching the common goal.
  3. Engagement of the board of directors, advisors, funders and other external stakeholders to review, suggest changes and approve (board) the strategic plan. This brings, not only a superior plan, but also brings the energy and support of a broader team of people to help achieve your objectives.
  4. A strategic business plan may be required by funders for NFP corporations and generally will be required by financing groups (banks, venture capital firms, etc.) for private and public corporations. Without a clear plan for achieving corporate growth, funders, lenders and investors are unlikely to believe that your corporation is worth the risk.
  5. Finally, having a clearly articulated strategic plan will support the view that the CEO is a strong and thoughtful leader who can leverage the full resources of the corporation to achieve success over the longer term.

How should you start the strategic planning process?

Many CEOs believe that they need to isolate themselves from the day-to-day activities of the organization and the rest of the team for a couple of days and write a strategic plan or build a slide deck. Others never manage to take the time to put their thoughts down on paper. Both approaches are problematic and generally will hold the organization back from achieving true success.

Development of the strategic plan should be a process that starts with engagement of all key stakeholders to get their views, inputs and ideas. A detailed review of the current situation can be captured in a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis, a tool to shine a light on the state-of-play for the organization. Once there is a degree of alignment then the strategic plan can be detailed, reviewed, approved by the board and communicated to all of the stakeholders.

In the next article in this strategic planning series, I will outline the basic steps to formulate your strategic plan and who should be involved at each stage.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text margin_bottom=”15″]

We love to work with organizations to articulate and communicate their strategic plan. Learn more about The Business Sherpa Group’s Strategic Planning services.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][mk_circle_image src=”https://www.businesssherpagroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Claude-Haw.jpg” image_diameter=”300″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]

 About the Author

Claude Haw is the Executive Leader for the Strategy & Governance practice at Business Sherpa Group. He has been directly involved as a senior manager, CEO, founder, funder, mentor, advisor and board member of more that 30 private, public and not-for-profit corporations over the past three decades. Claude loves working with energetic and passionate people to take their business to the next level.[/vc_column_text][mk_contact_info email=”chaw@businesssherpagroup.com”][/vc_column][/vc_row]