Leaders from all types of organizations whether non-profit, for-profit, private, and / or public often under seriously under the significance of good. This is a significant mistake since the benefits of strategic planning can define an organizations entire future in terms of longevity and the achievement of its' mission.
An organization that unwisely decides not to undergo a strategic planning process thinks that they are making the right decision. The truth of the matter is however that they are unknowingly choosing their own organizational death or future failure over the long term. As the old saying goes, a failure to plan is simply a proactive plan to fail and time will not needlessly be kind just because the cause is a good one. The vision and mission of an organization must be a priority for success.
Strategic Planning For Success
A truly progressive organization or at least one that is seeking to be progressive will have a strong desire to succeed. To pursue success in whatever form, an organization must choose to develop a comprehensive strategic plan. Comprehensive is undeniably the operative word in regards to organizational success and in order to maintain the comprehensive characteristics the strategy formulation process must include the following basic factors:
– Staff and leadership training and development
– Cultural unity and team building
– Strategic change management
– Strategic agility (ongoing evolution and adaptation)
– Vision casting (plan communication and marketing)
– SMART goals and objectives (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely)
In addition to these noted basic components the following are identified as mission critical success factors and must also be present for plan success:
– Model for decision making
– Sound and appropriate organizational structure
– Customized metrics and strategic plan monitoring
– Plan evaluation, measurement, corrective action, and adaptation
To ignore these basic and critical success factors is to ignore the very purpose for which the strategic plan was first conceptualized and created substantially which is the actual execution of the plan. A great plan must have all of the noted components to set the stage for rising above mediocrity and bringing about excellence!
Wrap Your Strategic Planning In Excellence
Many leaders know or learn how to plan to plan but are conceptually ill equipped to effectively execute the plan once created. Some actually have even become obsessed with the process of planning alone and continue to go through a series of repeated process and analysis over and over again. This cycle of repeated process addition has sometimes been compared to being on a process hamster wheel and can even be characterized as “Paralysis of Analysis” or “Strategic Agility Inability.”
Activity is not necessarily an indication of progress. In order to truly be effective in executing any strategic plan one must move from the process phase and actually begin implementing the plan. Effective implementation involves wrapping your plan in excellence.
To wrap a strategic plan in excellence, top leadership must be fully committed to embracing and owning the process of plan execution. Execution should not be deferred by delegation to others. Of course all good leaders must sometimes delegate a task which is not necessarily problematic. The key is that one can delegate the authority but the responsibility must remain with the leader.
Therefore the responsibility for the execution of the plan rests directly with top leadership. Every good or great plan is created for the ultimate purpose of skillfully executing the plan over a prescribed timeline and must not simply sit on a shelf collecting dust.
Commit To Paying the Price for Strategic Planning
As previously mentioned many leaders make the mistake of misjudging the true value of strategic planning. The leader undervalue error is generally caused by an inability to recognize the plan as being more than just an enhanced administrative process so they will not always pay what it is really worth. The reality is however that the intrinsic benefit of strategic planning is actually immeasurable in value. The financial costs of professional strategic planning can range between five-thousand and fifty-thousand dollars depending on the size of the organization, and the agreed upon scope and scale of the project.
In an earlier empirical study on management decision making which also incorporated Journal of Management History information the findings showed that there is a good deal of support for the study's hypotheses. A strong and positive relationship was formed between formal strategic planning and firm performance. The test results also verify the moderating roles of environmental turbulence, organization structure and firm size on the strategic planning-performance link.
What this is basically confirming is that the cost of strategic planning is well worth it. There is always a price to pay for success and a price to pay for failure. If one must pay a price, then why not choose to pay the price to be successful.
Leaders must make the decision to spend the money simply because their organization future is at stake. The culture of scarcity and continuous off cycle contractionary policy must be abandoned. Strategic planning must become financed and become part of the annual budget process. Simply put, what gets budgeted gets done. The undertaking of strategic planning goes beyond the financial commitment of paying the price for success with your treasure, but also your time and your talents. Without a customized plan (and they should always be customized) you send your organization to begin dying a slow death. Your next steps if you are wise will be to choose a qualified consulting firm, make the decision to spend the money, and get going to realize your future success. So what will you do? Will you choose to die, fail, or go forward with your strategic plan?