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Strategic Planning: Keeping Your Ideas Organized

Is your company stuck getting started with strategic planning?

Writing a strategic plan involves organizing a disarray of thoughts, goals, demands, and information into a concise but comprehensive document that people can then use as a road map. Many organizations use strategic plans to memorialize overarching goals that can otherwise get lost in the daily grind of immediate tasks and problems small businesses or organization needs to address regularly.

Unfortunately, writing a strategic plan often becomes a committee group affair, allowing everyone to have input but making the process very difficult to steer to completion. Internal politics get involved as well as specific interests. A number of generic approaches describe strategic plan writing in terms of establishing a representative team, define a vision and goals, spell out steps on how to achieve those goals, and possibly define some tools to measure outcomes. This is all fine and good but if the process simply operates like a predetermined exercise, then the results will mirror the effort put into the strategic planning.

Vivid and power strategic planning starts with a full and candid evaluation of where the business or organization and where it has come from. These are the roots of the entity and can’t be ignored to fully appreciate what is needed to reach forward.

While each organization of any medium size has its divisions and internal leaders that feel they understand what is needed, they all only see a piece of the whole picture. Frequently, it is only the owner or leader that truly comprehends how the entire organization actually moves and functions in totality. Because of this fact, the team that gets picked to write a strategic plan often starts with a basic handicap. They end up trying to cobble their distinct perspectives together, but they miss the overall picture. The related team weakness comes out in the writing.

An independent expert in develop strategic plans can help immensely in guiding and mediating a writing team because he can offer an objective, outside perspective. This view can help ask critical questions to flush out a past and current state evaluation which then builds a full foundation for developing forward-thinking plans. Granted, each division representative will want to paint his area in the best light and as a critical component of the organization. At the same time, they will also be cognizant not to set themselves up for lofty goals and tasks that can’t easily be met, potentially resulting in visible failure. The outside expert can weave a path for the strategic plan development that marries these two seemingly disparate views into effective plan commitment.

Finally, writing expertise can help define custom metrics that provide valuable feedback and plan status in terms of meeting stated goals and interim progress. A strategic plan is only as good as the willingness to make it happen as well as the ability to achieve those tasks as desired. If the plan is written in such a way that it’s practically impossible to implement, the document becomes useless and eventually gets shelved, ignored out of operating necessity. Instead, reasonable metrics that provide a challenge but objectively measure results gains people’s trust, both internally and externally, in leadership implementing the plan.

CSR has the expertise and experience to help a company or organization realize the value of strategic planning and put the relevant details together in a usable, concise organization. Plans that confuse or conflict internally become useless and have no meaning in practice. CSR can ensure the guidance needed in the development process that will make a strategic plan a living, real direction to follow and support.

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