Every business will see benefits from regular strategic plan development. However, organizations that operate within fast-paced industries, such as those in technology sectors, will see additional benefits from shorter intervals between planning sessions.
Developing a long-term (one, two or three year) strategic plan is a great way to map out your company's vision, mission, values and priorities and to define where your organization sees itself at the end of that period, but it doesn’t allow for agility or adjustments along the way. While longer intervals may work well for companies that are less impacted by market transformations, organizations that need to adjust to rapid changes and advancements should review their strategy more regularly, at quarterly or monthly intervals.
During ongoing strategic plan reviews, you will not overhaul your entire long-term plan. Instead, you will review goals and metrics, assess progress and deviations, review your sector's socio-economic landscape, and maintain organizational and team alignment. By adopting an agile strategic planning process, your organization can become proactive, rather than reactive. Instead of a document that is filed away and forgotten, your strategic plan instead becomes a cyclical, living process that permeates throughout your organization.
Here are the three biggest benefits that your technology (or fast-paced) organization will gain from adhering to regular strategic plan reviews:
- Your organization will be proactive and agile
Most technology companies are familiar with the values of agile project management methodology, and agility is just as prized when it comes to strategic planning. If your organization reviews its strategy regularly, your team will have the opportunity to proactively adjust to external factors (through a PESTLE trend analysis) and to understand what is working well or where there is room for improvement (through a SWOT analysis).
By focusing on adapting your strategy before you encounter a roadblock (i.e. scenario planning), you can save your organization valuable resources by having a plan for various scenarios before they arise. On the other hand, organizations that avoid strategy reviews tend to not notice roadblocks until they are arrive face-to-face with them. This may result in extended downtime due to reactive (rather than proactive) adaptation.
- Your organization will know what success looks like
Without clear definitions for success, how will you know if you’re doing well or when you’ve arrived at a goal? Through developing strategic priorities (areas that your business wants to focus on), defining clear KPIs (metrics for success within priority areas) and setting associated goals, your team members will be able to work towards these priorities with a strong understanding of what success looks like.
Additionally, assigning clear, actionable goals to specific team members or departments will increase accountability and strategy buy-in. Your people will know what they are doing and why they are doing it - Essentially, they will understand how each task supports each initiative, and know exactly which aspects of the plan that they are responsible for carrying out.
- Your organization will experience better team alignment
Involving your people in the strategic planning process is a great way to foster organizational alignment. If your employees understand why your organization exists, who you serve and why you serve them, as well as where you want to be in the future, they will be able to make better decisions in their daily work that support the company’s mission, vision and values.
Furthermore, if staff (or leaders of each department) are engaged in the entire strategic planning process, they will have a chance to share their thoughts and contribute their ideas, which will likely increase engagement and accountability. This also helps to foster a culture of strategic thinking across your organization. Though you cannot force cultural evolution, you can foster it through inclusive strategy development, as well as through having a leadership team that demonstrates a commitment to strategy implementation and growth.
While these outlined benefits are a product of regular strategy reviews, they are not an inclusive list. If you’d like to learn more, check out our PDF on the benefits of a strategic planning meeting: