Sunday, April 22, 2007

Strategic Planning - avoid the wannabe strategic plan

One of the fascinating things I think about these days is all the nonsense that passes for "strategic planning". Strategic planning is a VERY specific process, which involves setting the course of an organization. A good strategic plan always answers the following 3 questions:

1. What do we do?
2. For whom do we do it?
3. How do we beat the competition (or absent competition, how do we excel)?

A good strategic plan also incorporates a systematic analysis of the environment, current situation, organizational capabilities, and assumptions about the future as a foundation upon which to build the answers to those questions. Finally, a good strategic plan, being a tool for creating better results, is simple and includes short-term implementation activities that make a critical difference in pursuing your organization's long-term vision.

Anything less than this is just a piece of a strategic plan that someone is calling a strategic plan so they can charge you more money for it. At best, these planning fragments will be useful but leave you exposed to many of the common pitfalls of poor strategic planning. At worst, they will waste your organization's time and money and leave people disillusioned about the entire strategic planning process.

Fortunately, the Simplified Strategic Planning process will help you avoid these pitfalls. Unlike ANY other model, it has been fine tuned through application over 25 years in hundreds of companies of all sizes.

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