7 Top Tips Before A Business Writes an Executable Strategic Plan

Leanne Hoagland-Smith

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Having a strategic plan is necessary in today's global market place where at every chamber or networking event another competitor has joined what many business owners already perceive to be a tight marketplace. Yet, before you, as the small business owner or the chief executive officer, begin crafting or writing that essential strategic plan, these 7 tips may ensure that your efforts are executable.

  1. Identify Your Purpose Personally
  2. Knowing your purpose is the foundation for your future business actions. As the chief executive officer or small business owner, your purpose along with the creation of vision, values and mission statements will expedite the decision making process and ensure alignment and consistency of those decisions.

  3. Define why you are in business
  4. This may sound simple and it is. However, this question does create a top of mind awareness that is invaluable when working through a strategic planning process.

  5. Use a Qualitative/Subjective Evaluation for the Executive Management Team
  6. Have the key management decision makers take the time to independently review:

    • Quality
    • Production
    • Cost effectiveness
    • Turnover
    • Strategy
    • Safety
    • Waste & scrap
    • New products or services
    • People development
    • Time management

    Then through a facilitated and collaborative debriefing, those same executives will begin to identify some of the gaps within the executive team including leadership. This preliminary action may reveal that the top decision maker may require some business development or executive leadership coaching.

  7. Compare Last Year’s Wins and Losses
  8. Reviewing last year’s total revenue – the wins – to the missed opportunities – the losses – illustrates the importance of creating an . This tip builds motivation or WIIFM for the executive management team to follow through with the decision to take this proven business building action.

  9. Use a Quantitative Organizational Survey or Assessment
  10. Data is critical to when building an executable strategic plan. However, the real essence is finding honest data and not what management wants to hear. The evaluation tool should be representative of all levels of employees within the organization from the executive team to the support staff. Also, the data should be organized to align with known predictors for organizational success such as the Baldrige criteria. This assessment, evaluation or survey tool should:

    • Be Internet accessible
    • Have a proven historical track record
    • Work with any industry including education, healthcare, manufacturing, not for profits and professional services
    • Include face to face interviews with a sampling of all employees
    • Provide for a variety of reports
    • Be affordable
    • Deliver quick results within 2 to 3 weeks depending upon the size of the organization
    • Focus on strength as well as weaknesses
    • Furnish a mini-action plan

  11. Consistent Goal Setting and Goal Achievement Process
  12. An executable strategic plan revolves around the ability to consistently set and achieve goals. Given that goal setting and goal achievement is not currently part of the K-16 curriculum, those responsible for executing the strategic plan should all be using the same goal setting and goal achievement process to ensure that the measurable results are achieved.

  13. Assess Your Commitment Level
  14. Why are you taking the action to create a strategic plan? Is it because of an excellent sales presentation from a business consultant? For a variety of reasons, some executives have been convinced to write a strategic plan. Yet, the finished plan may lie in a desk drawer or on a bookshelf unopened. Additionally, during the strategic planning process, the consultant, executive business coach or facilitator may be asked to assume greater responsibility than appropriate because the client's commitment level is weak. For a strategic plan to be truly executable requires a 110% commitment from the top decision maker along with the executive leadership or business development skills necessary to pull it off.

Strategic planning does not differ from any other organizational change management project in that taking predetermined preliminary steps will greatly improve the success of this critical decision to build the business by taking it to the next level of success. After all, if you are going to invest your resources of people, time and money, doesn’t it make sense that you prepare the ground before digging the foundation?

Leanne Hoagland-Smith coaches small businesses to large organizations and high school students to entrepreneurs to double performance by closing the gap between today's outcomes and tomorrow's goals. Please feel free to contact Leanne at 219.759.5601 or visit http://www.processspecialist.com/ and explore how she can help you from the free articles to the improvement tips.

One quick question, if you could secure one new client or breakthrough that one roadbloack, what would that mean to you? Then, take a risk and give a call at 219.759.5601 to experience incredible business.

Mention that you read this article and receive a complimentary strategic planning checklist.


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