Once a Strategic Plan is completed, it is often challenging to make sure it is used and not just checked off the to do list until the next planning cycle. Here are some important ways to ensure your Strategic Plan becomes an important part of your organization.
- Make sure ownership resides at the top of the organization. This means the CEO/President, Executive Director, Board president or other senior-level person, not a staff person.
- Involve key stakeholders in every department and at as many levels as practical to ensure your success. If you are a non-profit or not-for-profit organization, involve your Board, staff and key volunteers. The more people who are involved in the conversation, the greater the support, commitment, insight and ideas.
- Use it as the guide for your organization’s future. After spending considerable time developing the plan (which is based on research presumably and you believe the results), use it — or modify it if market, economic or other conditions warrant.
- Communicate the importance and state the conclusions. The plan should not be a secret known by a few people. Communicate the direction and the details of the plan so people understand where the organization is headed and the role they play in accomplishing the goals.
- Tie organization objectives to personal performance objectives. This is a sure-fire way to make sure everyone is focused on the components of the strategic plan and has some skin in the game. With everyone rowing in the same direction, you’ll achieve your objectives.
- Review and monitor progress. An integral part of your strategic plan is how you will measure your results. With metrics in place, determine how frequently you should monitor progress. It should be often enough to impact what you are doing.
- Make it a part of overall management. This is not the end of the project. Your strategic plan should be so central to the running of your organization that it is referred to often as a management tool. Incorporate reviews and discussions into a regular management system.
- Incorporate into your business planning. As you develop your annual budget, take time to make sure it is coordinated with your strategic plan. Strategic planning should be part of your annual business planning. As you plan the direction of the organization, plan the budget to support it.
Thank you for reading. I welcome your questions and comments.
If you enjoyed this topic, here’s another perspective on the topic from Forbes.