Strategic Planning Kit For Dummies
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Strategic planning is doomed to failure when certain circumstances aren’t in place. If you’re aware of what you need to make the process work well, you’re more likely to be successful. Companies that jump in to planning simply assuming they’re ready will likely fail somewhere mid-plan and derail the whole process.

Having a burning platform, or a reason, to get strategic is important. Typical reasons include wanting to grow, trying to manage uncontrolled growth, or addressing the need for cost containment. If your organization doesn’t have a reason to plan, strategic planning isn’t going to be very effective.

At the end of the assessment, decide whether strategic planning is a go or no-go. If your decision is a no-go, make a quick action plan to solve the problem where you determined your company isn’t ready. If your decision is a go, you can feel confident that your organization can move through the planning process, barring any unforeseen circumstances that may pop up.

If you’re in the middle of a planning process, review the following list to make sure you have a climate for planning. Go down the list and check off any items that are true for your group. When you can check them all off, you know you have a climate that’s right for planning.

  • No high-impact decisions in the next six months (mergers, management changes, and so on)

  • No serious conflict between key players

  • Top-level commitment to process

  • Staff understands the purpose of planning

  • Adequate resources (staff time and money)

  • Organization has been around for at least a few years

  • Commitment to implement key strategies

  • Successful outcome of the process identified

  • An organizational climate that inspires forward thinking and rewards creativity

  • Agree on common language and time frame

About This Article

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About the book author:

Erica Olsen is cofounder and COO of M3 Planning, Inc., a firm dedicated to developing and executing strategy. M3 provides consulting and facilitation services, as well as hosts products and tools such as MyStrategicPlan for leaders with big ideas who want to empower and focus their teams to achieve them.

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