Previewing the Elements of a Strategic Plan

Not to oversimplify the planning process, but by dividing a strategic plan into four areas, you can clearly see how the pieces fit together. The four pieces of the puzzle are found in these questions:

  • Where are we now?
  • Where are we going?
  • How will we get there?
  • How will we measure our progress?

Each area has certain elements to show you how and where things fit. I introduce the elements in the following sections. For a bird's-eye view of this discussion, see Figure 3-1.

Figure 3-1: The elements of a strategic plan.


image What matters most is having a strategy and, therefore, an effective strategic plan. An effective plan and execution process require the following attributes:

  • Purpose-driven: A plan based on a mission and a real, true competitive advantage is key. Without it, what's the point of the plan or the organization?
  • Integrated: Each element supports the next. No objectives are disconnected from goals, and no strategies sit all alone.
  • Systematic: Don't think of the plan as one big document. Instead, give it life by breaking it into executable parts.
  • Dynamic: The plan isn't a static document but a living one.
  • Holistic: All areas of the organization are included. Don't plan based on departments first because you risk limiting your thinking. ...

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