Strategic planning is most important for organizations, be it small organizations or large ones. Likewise, implementing the strategic plan is also important. Without proper implementation, you are likely to move forward in a haphazard way, not knowing which ideas are to be implemented immediately, and which ideas are to be saved for the future. Strategic planning gives you a complete roadmap for the unseen future of your organization, and this roadmap can help you take decisions on the way.
The problem which rises for many organizations is that they become too myopic when they focus on Strategic planning. This may be due to many reasons, however short term strategic plans are of no use. In fact, they are not strategic plans at all, they are tactics and techniques. For implementing a strategic plan in the long term for your organization, the below mentioned 4 steps need to be taken into account.
1. Give time to strategic planning – Sitting once or twice a quarter is not enough for implementing a strategic plan. A strategic plan needs review at least once a week. Thus, the top management of the organization should specifically assign time to sit and discuss the strategic plan of the organization, and whether the organization is on the right path. When should you hold such meetings, depends on the depth of the organization. Smaller organizations need to keep it lesser, but larger organizations might need more frequent strategic plan meetings.
2. Be creative – Do not get bogged down by what is already planned or what was already going to happen. Think out of the box to refresh your business and to take it to new heights. It may happen that while you are sitting frequently for your strategic plan, you might come across a phenomenon which was unobserved before by you. You should creatively consider such anomalies and at the same time come up with unique and creative ways to increase business during strategic planning time. This time is not for analysis of the past or forecasting the future, it is also for creativity and careful expansion and also a bit of calculated risk taking.
3. Get out of the routine – Adding on to the above point, after months of meetings, it might happen that the same old routine of the strategic plan is being observed. You need to get out of such routine work and push yourself for the betterment of the organization at all times. If your targets are easily achievable, then your strategic plan is not aimed high enough to challenge you. At the same time, the plan should not be very tough also. Thus, from time to time, revise the strategic plan as per the need of the organization and get out of the routine of just following and implementing a strategic plan.
4. Act on your plans – This is a fourth and final problem facing small business entrepreneurs and even some large organizations. Due to lethargy or bureaucracy, you fail to act on your plans. Your plan may be to achieve 50% growth in this year, but the steps which are taken may help you achieve 20% only. Thus, there is a huge gap in implementation. This gap needs to be identified and the strategic plan needs to cover these gaps. Ignoring these gaps will cause the failure of your planning.
Thus, in essence, making a strategic plan for your organization is not the end, in fact it is the beginning. A strong strategic plan needs to be followed up, edited, changed, and implemented upon, to make it a success. As an organization or as a business owner, you need to ensure that all the above steps are followed for the success of a strategic plan.