Resourceful spends time each year building a strategic plan. We take the time to step away from the day to day of the business and think about where we’ve been and where we want to go and then build a plan to take us there. We do our planning in September or October, so we have time before year end to ensure we get everything in motion for a great start to the new year. This year was no different. We had three great days away determining what we need to focus on in the coming years to move our business forward.
Unfortunately, many organizations aren’t yet thinking about 2020. Some choose not to do strategic planning; seeing little value in spending time visualizing the future and determining what needs to be accomplished to get there.
“Plans are of little importance, but planning is essential.”
Having a strategic plan provides a guide for the organization, as Graham Kenny wrote in Harvard Business Review. The exercise of determining an objective and assessing the steps to be taken increases the opportunity to be nimble and adapt when change happens. The only constant is change. You need to do some of the leg work before the new year to ensure your organization can adapt and hit the ground running.
Other key considerations in establishing a strategic plan:
With your plans and initiatives in place, you can identify appropriate metrics to track and monitor your progress.
- What specific metrics will help you monitor progress on a regular basis?
- What metrics will show you if your efforts have been a success?
- What data do you need for those metrics? Do you already collect it?
- For the data you do not already collect, how will you collect it?
- Who will be responsible for monitoring the metrics and reporting out progress?
You have plans for the year. Now you need to consider the costs associated with these specific initiatives.
- Will there be training required for the team? How much of an additional expense will it be to get the appropriate people up to speed on where they need to focus?
- Is there new technology required for the initiatives? Or changes in how current technology is used? How much will it cost to implement or update technology?
- Will there be an increase in typical expenditures due to the year’s focus? Additional marketing materials? A revamped website? More preventive maintenance on capital equipment?
- Do you need to hire new people or engage consultants with specific skills to ensure you can achieve your goals?
Leadership has identified what needs to be the focus of 2020 in order to achieve the goals. It’s critical the team knows what they need to focus on.
- Have you spent time explaining to the team what will be changing in the new year?
- Have you explained the desired outcome from the initiatives, including the benefits the focus will bring to the organization, customer and entire team?
- Have you provided an explanation of how the initiatives impact their specific role?
- Follow up with each team member in the coming months in preparation for the initiative kick off to ensure there are no questions and everyone is feeling good about what they need to do.
Strategic planning creates a useful guide for the organization and ensures everyone is headed in the same direction. A solid strategic plan establishes achievable goals, sets budget boundaries and helps define expectations for team members. In the midst of these turbulent economic and political times, there has never been a more important time to develop a forward-thinking strategic plan.