By the end of its life, your Strategic Plan should look dog eared and worn out. It should be something that staff refer to regularly and understand back-to-front. It should deliver a united company vision that all members of your organisation can build on as you grow into the future. It should be a vision of the future and a roadmap of how to get there.
This is nothing new.
Why, then, do so many Strategic Plans remain in pristine condition?
When we work with an organisation, the biggest complaint that we hear from staff is that the Strategic Plan is something that has been “pushed on them”. As a document it symbolises “orders from upstairs” something they have to do but have had no real say in. Even before it has been opened, there is resistance to what may lie within.
To be successful a Strategic Plan must first be accepted. And to be accepted it must be a living document.
Creating a living Strategic Plan
Your staff are looking for direction. They want to know that the organisation that employs them has a plan for growth even in uncertain times. They need to know their jobs are safe and that they have an active role to play in the continuing success of the company and the security of their jobs.
This is as true for staff who are experiencing a shift in leadership or command as it is for those who have been working under the same leadership for many years.
By involving your staff in the development of the Strategic Plan, by seeking and using their input, by valuing their insight and contributions and using these to impact the development of the Plan, you are giving them ownership of the document.
A document that has been developed in consultation with all staff members is one that truly reflects the vision of the company. The process of development facilitates conversation and communication that may otherwise be missed.
By valuing and using their input in this way, you are ensuring that your teams have a vested interest in making the Strategic Plan work.
What does a good Strategic Plan look like?
Many organisations feel confined by the term ‘Strategic Plan’. They envisage a single document filled with charts and flow diagrams.
In reality your Strategic Plan can be a combination of team plans, posters, pocket-sized reminders, brochures – the list is endless. How your plan looks depends on your need. When we work with an organisation to develop a Strategic Plan we start with the need and work from there. But we always involve as many members of the organisation as we can, from the staff who clean to the CEO who leads.
When your people are involved in its development, your Strategic Plan becomes a living, breathing document. It makes staff focus on priorities, ensures they understand them and ultimately improves performance.