Friday, March 23, 2007

Getting started with strategic planning

What do I do to get started?

This is one of the most difficult parts of the whole strategic planning process. Getting started with strategic planning can appear to be a daunting task, even if you are using a simple template like Simplified Strategic Planning. Here are a few tips to help you get started:

1. Set a date - sounds simple, but if you have a process with a schedule, committing to that schedule will help a lot.
2. Don't wait until you are ready - sadly, a lot of companies get stuck with this. There is no time when you are more ready to do strategic planning - so just start NOW.
3. Don't wait for data - you might do a better job of strategic planning with more/better data, but, again, there is no substitute for just doing the plan.
4. Don't overcommit - do NOT use a process that takes more time than you can commit to strategic planning. A good model, like Simplified Strategic Planning, should cover everything from gathering data through implementation with just a few days invested.
5. If in doubt, take a class - a seminar on strategic planning is a great way to get started - especially if you can bring your whole team.
6. When all else fails - or even if it doesn't, you will get a LOT from using a real strategy professional. The very best do NOTHING BUT strategic planning, and have done the strategic planning process hundreds of times. A professional will get you going - and coach you to do a better job the first time than you would even with years of experience.

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