So you’re looking at formalizing your strategic plan or improving the plan you currently have in place. Whether that means setting time aside for a retreat or making it a priority in part of your annual planning, creating a strategic plan is a highly valuable process that allows you to get a complete picture of your organization now, and where you want it to be in the future.
By now you’ve also realized that some of the symptoms you might be experiencing as a leader or as an organization stem from not having a fully clear and aligned strategic plan. Learn more about how to get started creating a strategic plan.
In this article, we’ll lay out your options forgetting started on the strategic planning process and choosing a path forward, including:
- Do it all yourself
- Get help with the planning & lead the execution yourself
- Get help with both the planning and the execution
- Create the plan yourself and get help with the execution
Learn how to do it all (yourself)
- This is one of the most immediate options for you to begin your strategic planning process.
- Given that change happens quickly and regularly, we believe that every senior leader, CEO and business owner should master being able to create, execute and govern/lead an organization through a strategic plan.
- That said, knowing how to do it yourself is only the beginning.
- As someone within the organization who is too close to the problem, you often can’t see it fully for what it is. That leads us to the next option.
Get help with the planning and lead the execution solo
- The main benefit of this option is having someone come in and do the heavy lifting for you.
- A facilitator leads the process, outlines everything that you need within your strategic plan, gets your team on the same page, and has discussions that surface perspectives you wouldn’t have been able to uncover yourself.
This is because your team sees you as you. If they see you somewhat regularly, they know you aren’t neutral, they may carry the baggage of personal history, or worse, (if they like you) they won’t want to create any conflict if it’s not necessary.
In addition, if you did want to lead the session yourself, you wouldn’t be able to participate at the same time.
- A facilitator brings a new energy to the room, creates a buffer between each participant, and supports valuable conversation.
- The facilitator is removed enough from the specific issues that they can be objective and bring a different perspective to the problem/opportunity.
Once the session is done, then it’s up to you to stay accountable and make sure that you follow up on the plan. The challenge is that you’re going to get busy, your team is going to get busy, and the strategic plan may fall into second behind the day-to-day.
- If you can stay on top of the execution, this is a great option that has a really high ROI.
Get help with both the planning and execution
Even if you are going to stay on top of the execution and the accountability, having someone work with you and your team regularly on execution and accountability can also be extremely valuable.
- You’ll have a safety net.
- For when you get too busy, or when your team gets too busy to focus on the strategic work.
- You’ll have accountability.
- If you and your team know that you’re meeting with a coach* to present their plan progress in 3 weeks, they are much more likely to implement those key initiatives.
*Note: Throughout this and other articles, you’ll see the words ‘facilitator’ and ‘coach’ both being used. In our case, the facilitator is the same person as the coach. They’re a facilitator during the strategic planning process, and a coach during the strategic plan execution process.
- You’ll get an external perspective.
- Get some perspective on how you’re approaching your strategy, so you won’t get stuck doing the wrong things for too long.
- Get some cover.
- The facilitator can be the catalyst for conversations you need to have but don’t want to initiate yourself. You still need to have the conversations, but the facilitator can help you navigate them and provide you with a different perspective to help you resolve it faster.
- Get an extra set of ears and eyes.
- A coach will see your gaps and help you overcome them. With someone there to support you in the long term, they can help create a staged approach for your development.
- This is the most expensive option.
- But how much is it worth to you for your strategy to be successful? Are you willing to risk your plan not getting to where you want it to be?
Create the plan yourself and have support along the way
- If you’re really good at creating alignment and clarity with your team, this can be a great option for you.
- You do the heavy lifting on the front end, and bring in a coach as needed to support people one-on-one and as a group.
- From a systems perspective, if there’s a problem with the system design (ie: the creation, alignment, buy-in of the plan), there’s no going back.
- You’re trying to fix problems downstream without having the sufficient resources to address the cause of the problem.
For this option, you can get a coach or a bunch of different trainers that can come in and give you just-in-time training and guidance. If you’re a CEO, consider a peer group to support you in identifying what these needs and challenges are early on, and learn what others have done to address them.
Regardless of what you choose, getting support to create and execute your strategic plan is one of the most important decisions you can make.
Since your strategic plan dictates everything, including what every employee works towards for the coming years (potentially hundreds of thousands of work hours), it’s crucial that you get the right support at the right time.
For more information on how we can support you with creating and executing your strategic plan, visit our services page or click the button below to request a complimentary consultation: