Strategic planning needs to be current; it needs to be a framework and a guide that organizations use on a routine basis – not something that is put up on a shelf never agreed to, finalized or executed.

Effective strategic plans should be structured enough so that smaller units of the organization have a clear understanding of how their organization fits into broader strategic initiatives. This is true whether the process used is bottom up (employee driven) or top down (leadership driven). The ultimate strategic planning document should be written as a framework with all key elements - simple enough that smaller organizations can see how they fit in it.

Metrics and performance expectations need to be made clear and incorporated into the planning document. Most importantly, there needs to be a way to determine on a regular basis if the plan is still relevant and the metrics (or success measures) have been met. That’s why timetables and metrics are needed. Without measurements (outcome/or impact measures are preferred), a strategic plan is a paper exercise.

Many plans are not developed for implementation and leaders do not insist on their application or relevance. Accountabilities must be included in strategic plans for proper execution. When accountabilities are shown by department, organizational leaders, managers and supervisors need to be functionally aligned so they can properly communicate performance expectations to every member of the organization.

Strategic plans that are too detailed and require an exhaustive effort can immobilize employees instead of empowering them. Strategic planning should empower workers, instead of devouring their time. Empowerment only comes through dialogue about the strategic plan, expectations of employees and by involving them throughout the process.

5 Quick Tips for Effective Strategic Planning

1.Develop a simple framework for your plan using the simplest language. For example, one or two words to refer to goals or value statements.
2.Distribute the shortened version of the strategic plan to every member of the organization.
3.Communicate expectations regarding performance and individual/organizational accountability.
4. Post key elements of the plan in visible places at the worksite. Create business cards for values statements, mission or vision statements. Make this information easy to see and recall.
5.Review regularly company wide. Use quarterly meetings to review progress. Reward success. Update annually.

Being aware of what’s wrong with Strategic planning and using 5 tips above will help your organization use the process to be a boost for your organization.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Devona E. G. Williams is a consultant, professional speaker and author with a focus on business leadership and strategic management. Williams is President and CEO of Goeins-Williams Associates, Inc. an award winning performance management improvement firm of Clayton, Delaware: