“No matter how brilliant your mind or strategy, if you’re playing a solo game, you’ll always lose out to a team.” ~ Reid Hoffman, Co-Founder of LinkedIn
We’ve talked before on this blog about how employees have felt like their companies are in a constant state of change since the pandemic. It can be hard to get your feet under you again if it feels like your company doesn't have a clear vision of the future.
For some, vision is just something the CEO handles. While it is great for the CEO to have a vision, the plan to reach that vision must permeate the leadership team and the rest of the company to be realized.
That’s why we encourage companies to engage in Strategic Planning and Strategy Execution. This blog discusses a strategic plan and why it is essential for your leadership team and other employees. In part 2, we’ll discuss Strategy Execution and how a Strategic Plan can help you serve your clients or customers in ways that are more effective and drive better ROI.
What is a Strategic Plan?
A strategic plan is a tool that defines your organization’s goals and the actions you will take to achieve them. Typically, a strategic plan will include your company’s vision and mission statements, your long-term goals (as well as short-term, yearly objectives), and an action plan of your steps.
We like to think of Strategic Plans in terms of the questions they answer for a company. Some questions look at the current landscape of the company; others look at the future the company wants to create, while others get more into the actual tactics that will help them reach their goals.
- What's happening in our industry now?
- How does our organization fit into the larger scope of our industry?
- What does our company look like now?
- What is our vision of the future?
- What must we do to achieve that vision?
- What levers do we need to pull to get there?
- What are the objectives that we want to accomplish?
- What are our short- and long-term goals?
- What is the talent that we need to get us there?
- Who needs to be involved in reaching these goals?
The leadership of many companies thinks they have a Strategic Plan, and everyone follows it. If you ask people how they define that plan, do they all say the same thing? Or are they even aware a plan exists? Alignment around the plan is imperative. If departments work toward goals that do not align with the plan, achieving the plan’s overriding goals and vision is difficult, if not impossible.
Why is a Strategic Plan important?
You can see why a Strategic Plan is so important, but more than just having it in place is needed. The plan is reliant on action. Its importance comes from how it inspires the rest of your company. Many leaders feel that their teams aren’t aligned with the company’s overall goals or prioritizing in a way that connects them to the bigger picture.
Sometimes, people get so caught up in checking off their to-do lists that they don’t connect those tasks to the organization's greater purpose. Without purpose, individual work may fall flat, and workers may even experience higher rates of burnout if they don’t see the connection between their work and what the organization is striving to accomplish.
So how do you make sure your team ultimately embraces the Strategic Plan? One way is to ensure that everyone can provide their input in some form. The more inclusive you can be while developing the plan, the more likely people will embrace it.
Having a wide variety of perspectives involved in creating the plan can make it more innovative and ground it in reality. Employee input from different organizational levels – those closer to the work or the customer – can provide helpful insights when developing your plan.
Strategic Planning Part 2
Next month, we’ll share more about how you can activate your Strategic Plan, help engage your employees, and garner stronger connections with your customers.
Please reach out if you’d like to learn more about how our team can help you develop and implement your Strategic Plan.
Lori, Denise, and James
Lori Heffelfinger, Denise Kirwan, and James Jackman