Strategic Planning: Searching for a Cure for the Common Strategy

Contributed by Pamela Wasley, CEO.
Strategic planning, for many companies, represents the classic definition of an oxymoron. The annual process is neither strategic nor does it incorporate meaningful planning. To jump in a car and start a vacation with a general idea of the destination, but no specific route or budget in mind, is most likely something most of us would not do, particularly if the well-being of our family was at stake. But year after year, under the protective label of “Strategic Planning” it is precisely what occurs in countless businesses. Strategic planning, when done correctly, provides a direction, purpose and a foundation for all team members working toward a common goal. Like the well-planned vacation, it creates enthusiasm and purpose that all can share.

What Constitutes Typical Strategic Planning?

With apologies for hitting close to home, it falls in such statements as:

  • Let’s do what we did last year only add 10% to the budget
  • Make sure the plan has sufficient content to justify the retreat
  • Make sure we discuss the plan quarterly – it is indeed a necessary action
  • It is a long way to December so not to worry about the slow start
  • If we target enough areas we are certain to balance out in the long run
  • If only customer A, B and C had hit the sales we were expecting …….
  • What do you think the stakeholders want to hear?
  • Our mission is clear – any questions – it is right on the wall where it has always been

Sounds familiar? We have all been there and done that at some point in our careers – I’m sure anyone reading this can easily add to the list.

Strategic Planning, the Way it’s Supposed to Be

Let’s contrast to some elements that prove to make the process and output of strategic planning of value to the entire company. Under proper facilitation, the outcome will include:

  • Re-affirmation of vision, mission and values to test the viability of your actions
  • Definition of the critical few action items that will constitute the areas of focus
  • Assigned responsibilities, measurements and accountability to the critical few
  • Definition of growth initiatives that are budgeted including well-defined target outcomes
  • Assurance that the entire team is trained and on-board with their goals and responsibilities
  • Regularly scheduled review meetings to measure goal attainment – no excuse for cancellation
  • A process that is fun and constructive rather than an edict

Successful strategic planning is one that allows you to take control of your destiny, define and measure expectations rather than looking back and saying−if only!

So how would you like more of a guarantee that your strategy will work this year? So here’s the Cure for the Common Strategy.

We have seen Strategic Planning done every way possible and the variety of outcomes. The best results we have seen come from a combination of planning, visibility, simplicity and a year round focus. Based on this, we have gone out to some of the best and put together a package of tools and expert services for crafting a winning strategy, sharing it, and measuring progress. Here’s a little more information.

The Cerius Strategic Planning Service

  • An objective, guided process by a former executive who has been successful in forming and executing excellent strategies
  • Start with a self-assessment tool for evaluating your company’s strengths and weaknesses
  • Participate in up to 1.5 days of on-site workshops led by a Cerius contract executive
  • Receive a one-page strategic plan that’s easy to understand and execute
  • Track progress for the next 12 months via a CEO Web dashboard

Get the objectivity, expertise, and tools necessary for a winning strategy. Send us an email today to request more information on this program.


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