The simple answer is, yes, of course, you need a strategic plan. A “friend of the Forum” was speaking for one of our executive groups several years ago, and he posed this question, “Imagine getting ready to open a box of jigsaw puzzle pieces. What is the most important piece?” He paused briefly for effect and then said, “It’s the picture of the finished puzzle on the top of the box.” Is that not the perfect metaphor for why you need a strategic plan? How can you know what to do at what time with what resources unless you have a clear vision of your destination?
A professionally created strategic plan can serve other multiple purposes. For example, by including the team members in the development of the strategic plan a committed team is created with a clear directional compass for every plan, action and decision. Many insightful leaders will keep the strategic plan readily accessible in their office. This enables a quick check to see if a request or suggestion from a team member is consistent with the strategic plan. Another advantage for a strategic plan is that it provides an effective orientation for a new team member……..this is who we are, where we are headed and the plans for getting there.
Strategic plans should not be lengthy multi-page documents. They need to be convenient working documents and can be 1 or 2 pages in length. We have our proprietary version that has stood the test time and continues to get positive feedback that we appropriately call the 1-Page Strategic Plan. In about 6 steps we start with the Values and Vision with some analysis of the specific business environment, a listing of the most unique strengths and end with the specific strategies that reflect where we are, who we are and our desired destination.