Saturday, February 17, 2007

Strategic Planning - the power of discipline

This is the first of a series of short posts on how to increase the power of your strategic plan.

1. Be Disciplined in Your Strategic Planning

This is a funny way to have more powerful strategies...and it's important in two different ways. First, you should have the discipline to create a strategic plan.
This means you have to take the time - even make the time - to sit down and write out exactly what your plan is. I've seen companies succeed without a formal strategic plan, but I've seen a lot more companies fail. One of the key things to do here is to set dates when you are going to get things done. In many companies, it helps to have an outside facilitator who will set and keep you to this schedule.

The second way you need to be disciplined is in actually following what you say in your plan. It does no one any good to, for example, say we are going to be focused on a given market, and then turn around and sell everything to everyone who shows up with money to spend. It's very, very powerful to mean what you say and say what you mean in your strategic planning, so be sure to think long and hard about anything that may be an obstacle to that. If you don't, your plans will lack credibility, and ultimately, it will be very difficult to get people to support your strategic vision. If you do follow through on what is in your plan, however, people will see a winner - and enthusiastically support the next thing you plan.

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