Creating an Actionable Strategic Plan
Creating a strategic plan that is feasible and will benefit your business is not as daunting as it seems. By considering a set of simple and direct questions which you would like the plan to answer, an outline can easily be formed.
At the outset of strategic planning, it is important to consider three basic questions: “Where are we now?”; “Where are we going?”; and “How will we get there?” Under each of these simplified topics, there will of course be company specific detail but by answering those questions thoroughly, a clear picture of the plan will begin to develop.
Consider your Mission statement. Whether you are developing it for the first time or adapting it for your strategic plan, the aim of a Mission statement is the same. It simply declares your purpose as an organization or business.
A helpful acronym to remember is SWOT; it stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. These aspects of your business should be evaluated when formulating your strategic plan. Strengths should be emphasized, weaknesses acknowledged, opportunities seized, and threats recognized.
The written plan itself should be succinct and “approachable.” The language should be easily accessible to all employees who are being directed by it. Also, take the time to build in a schedule and specific milestones which should be reached at certain times.
Perhaps most importantly, an actionable strategic plan is one that is NOT set in stone. Planning for a possible change in focus within the plan does not indicate a lack of direction. Rather, it is a reminder that “the planning process is at least as important as the planning document itself” and that strategic planning is never actually finished. It constantly evolves. For your strategic plan to be actionable, it must evolve as well.