What the Hell is A Strategic Plan and Why Do I Have To Have One?
The words creating, refining, structuring, following and applying a strategic plan get used over and over again; frequently in the titles of blogs and posts that shout at us how to do this better. I run into people all the who don’t even know what strategic plans or programming even are, much less how to create and use them.
I went back and made sure I really understood what each term meant and how they would apply to what we wanted to accomplish. However, as with so many things, there are hundreds of versions of strategic plans, programming models and templates. Choosing which style will work best for different projects and organizations wasn’t as straightforward as I would hope.
In other ( simpler) words
- A strategy is where you’re headed. The strategic plan identifies the specific goals you want to accomplish.
- A program is the series of activities that will be implemented to achieve those goals.
- A plan includes the steps to make the program work and what exactly what will need to be done to achieve those goals. The plan is walking through the program, following each next step, and working through the decision tree about what precise order for how things will happen, and who will be doing them.
It’s interesting to note that a strategy and programs and plans have a lot of crossover. In fact, ideally, all these working parts will mesh beautifully and everything you plan for will come to pass.
In real life, though, sometimes things don’t work according to plan, so it is important to choose some measurements to check and see how you are doing, and if the plan needs to be adjusted and tweaked along the way.
A picture is worth a thousand words:
While this is simplified, it works just fine. Plug in your own phrases and words, mess with them a little and see what this looks like for you.
The process of doing this will illuminate other aspects of your program that might require more attention or detail.
And why you might want to care:
If you don’t know where you are going…
…it won’t matter how you get there.
Having clear goals that reflect your mission and vision, and then making tangible, with measurable steps about how those goals will be realized will save you much pain and heartache. Maybe for Nike’s Just Do It works for them, but an investment in planning will pay off for your organization in much more visible ways.
Strategic planning doesn’t have to be big, scary and complicated. If you would like a little guidance in identifying what you want and how to get it, click here, we answer all emails!
Image credit: http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/d9/a7/bf/d9a7bf8e81aff0832693e969bf0847ce.jpg