If you are like me, you enjoy strategic planning when it is new and shiny. There’s a level of excitement with a new plan. There’s hope and enthusiasm!
However, the most difficult part of planning for me, and many of my clients, is when we need to sustain implementation over the long term. More energy is needed for updating and monitoring the plan than I ever thought – this is the non-sexy part of strategic planning.
This is why at The Haines Centre, we created the Yearly Strategic Management Cycle. It is a process to ensure we achieve sustained superior results. It reminds us to circle back to keep the strategic plan updated and relevant throughout the year.
A strategic plan is more important after it has been around awhile.
Why? Because when it is initially created we are excited about implementing it, we can remember most of it. However, as the months move along, other things capture our attention and we can forget what we intended to do. Having an updated strategic plan reminds of us of our commitments to help the organization reach its goals.
One of the keys for ensure long-term success is visiting the strategic plan regularly (at least quarterly).
These regular reviews give us the opportunity to check our future scan, view our current situation, review our key metrics and gauge our progress on activities. We can take action NOW to get back on track or take advantage of a new opportunity instead of waiting for the annual review.
The second key to success is conducting a full review of your planning annually. This means you look at your results and your actions. Then you update the strategic plan to leverage off the things you did well, improve upon other areas and add new initiatives.
I mentioned it takes energy to keep a strategic plan updated. It takes more energy to restart the planning process after you’ve disregarded the last plan. You must overcome the static friction of people ignoring the existing plan and persuade them that being part of this year’s planning process is worthwhile.
Many groups I facilitate through strategic planning have had poor results prior to working with me. The plans were created, but left on someone’s shelf and the rest of the organization went on with “business as usual.” Convincing the skeptics that this planning process is going to be different, takes time and energy – more time and energy than if they would have used a strategic management yearly cycle to keep the rhythm of strategic planning going throughout the year.
Using a Yearly Strategic Management Cycle will help you generate desired results over time, and help you manage your organization strategically throughout the year. It may not be sexy, but it will help you reach and exceed your goals!
If you are interested in talking about the Yearly Strategic Management Cycle and being more strategic as a leader, contact me Valerie.MacLeod@HainesCentre.com