A good strategic plan serves as the focal point for how an organization manages itself and its business as it moves toward both long and short-range success. It provides…

  1. Direction for aligning organizational units, staff, and their activities.
  2. Criteria for decision-making. All decisions should support some portion of the plan.
  3. The basis for performance management for organization units down to job performance standards.

Too many strategic plans, however, languish in desk drawers, never to be implemented. Four of the primary reasons such poor performance are…

  1. Uninspiring visions
  2. Poor buy-in below executive leadership
  3. Insufficient resource planning
  4. Inadequate implementation management

Here’s what leaders need to incorporate into their strategic plans to overcome those insufficiencies:

Enticing, Easy to Communicate Vision

Consider the vision statement, “We will be the best facilitation development and management company in the United States.” The executives that developed it liked it. But middle management and down. It was a yawn.

With help, they changed it to, “We build the best damn dams in the country!” The entire company loved its minor titillation and its simplicity. They couldn’t wait to share and talk about. Keep in mind the vision statements must appeal internally as well as externally. If it doesn’t motivate internally, its external appeal will be pointless.

Creating Buy-In

Involvement creates buy-in. The more employees involved in creating a strategic plan, the better. Many organizations interpret “involvement” as meaning involved in making the final decision. That would be both unwieldy, unproductive, and to be avoided at all costs.

What works would be involving as many people as possible in discussions, unit by unit, of what to include in the plan. Once the information from those discussions has led to final executive decisions, further unit by unit discussions about the rationale for final decisions are important.

People want to know that their thoughts have heard and discussed. That’s the involvement needed to generate their understanding and buy-in.

Avoiding Under Resourcing

During the development process, leaders typically make sure that they have enough resources to accomplish the objectives defined in the plan.

What they rarely consider is the resourcing needed for the new initiatives and demands that inevitably arise within months of a plan’s completion. This leads to under-resourcing of the plan and stress for those trying to carry it out.

A resource development plan must be a part of any strategic plan and account for the current objective plus another ten to twenty-five percent. The more volatile the industry, the higher that percentage needs to be.

Implementation Management Planning

Many a well- developed strategic plan fails from poor implementation. The established, automatic routine of daily organizational life too often allows little or no time for the changes a new plan may call for. A through-going implementation management plan is needed.

Such a plan would include…

  1. Incorporating the strategic plan into performance management structures and processes.
  2. Incorporating the plan into whatever action tracking process the organization uses.
  3. Developing or identifying how and what part of the organization will monitor the plan’s implementation. Monthly progress monitoring and identification and resolution of the conflicts that always arise and inhibit implementation of the strategic plan must be included.

A good strategic plan keeps organizations focused. It is a dynamic plan that gives direction to organizational decision-making and performance management. In plain language, a good strategic plan is essential to an organization’s success.

Be sure that your organization’s plan has an enticing vision, a critical mass of buy-in, sufficient resources. And be sure to thoroughly incorporate into your organization’s daily work. Explicit attention to these issues will pay dividends!


 Check out Dr. Broom, an organization development psychologist, at his website at www.CHumanS.com

He is offering one-hour free consultations.

You’ll be surprised the difference a single hour can make!

CHumanS.com © Please contact us for use of our materials. All rights reserved.