If you have read much of my perspective, you already know that I have a bent against strategic planning – the tired, old, conventional strategic planning, that is.
Why is this? Because it rarely works! It fails more often than not. I am talking with an increasing number of organizations who are sharing with me their nightmare experiences with strategic planning.
Let’s keep this one short. Another reason strategic planning fails:
The “It’s MY Year” Syndrome!
This is when an organization lives a cycle where every new board chair, resource development chair, or other Grand Poobah comes into their office with the intention of creating the BEST plan ever. The problem is, the last plan is only a year old, and it died early too, like the one before it. I have even seen organizations whose very BRAND message changes each year! Stop it! How will your stakeholders ever figure out who you are if you keep changing it?
How does an organization gain continuity and traction in executing their strategy?
A strategic plan must transcend board terms!
It’s the guide for the organization, not just the profile of the leader.
You get the point. Here are 5 tips:
- Don’t create a new strategic plan every year. Use a 3-5-year window.
- Build an ANNUAL plan each year that focuses not on strategy, but on operations and execution of strategy. This scratches the planning itch of the board chair, but for the right purpose.
- Engage your upcoming board leaders early in the strategy development process. Get them to own it BEFORE they become board chair. Then, when they become chair, their job (and desire) will be to support the plan, not reinvent it.
- Make your strategic vision part of your everyday language. Talk about the plan often. Keep it alive by celebrating it, inspiring vision toward it, and keeping the organization accountable to it.
- Make ALL board meetings based on the strategic plan! Strategy is the level at which the board should be functioning — NOT operations. When you make strategy (and your progress against it) the focus of every board meeting, you sustain the momentum and commitment to the plan.
Key word: CONTINUITY. Get this right, and your plan may not die on the shelf!
Learn more about our approach to strategic planning HERE.
Have an awesome day!