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How to Ensure That Your Strategic Plan Stays On Target

How often do you review your company’s strategic plan? Hopefully you realize that it’s not a “one and done” document but a living roadmap that should be referred to on an ongoing basis. You’ve established goals, objectives, strategies, and tactics, and it’s important to track these items to make sure that you’re on the right track. If you’re not, you’ll want to modify and adjust what you’re doing to stay the course.

There’s no hard and fast rule about how often you should review your plan. Many companies look at their plans once or twice a year, and that’s fine. You may determine from your own experience how often is most effective for your company. Just giving it a cursory review every two or three months might work well for you. This will provide you with an opportunity to monitor progress made toward achieving outcomes and evaluate what’s working and what isn’t.

When you do review your plan, make a list of key questions to help you where you are with relation to where you want to be. Some of these questions might include:

Is there a clear connection between your mission and vision statements? Your mission statement defines what your company’s business is, while also articulating your objectives and your approach to reaching those objectives. Your vision statement, on the other hand, states the what and where you want your company to be in the future. Often, a company will combine parts of its mission and vision statements to create a statement of its purposes, goals and values. You’ll want to make sure that all your goals and strategies align with your vision and support your mission. It’s crucial that you focus your time and energy on achieving your vision.

Is your plan doable? Sometimes, leaders have a tendency to jam too much into a plan, which creates a situation of trying to get more accomplished than what is actually is realistic. While it’s always good to be ambitious, it can create a bit of chaos when you’re attempting to do a million things in the time it actually takes to do a hundred. When you revisit your strategic plan, you’ll realize if you’ve done this. Some of those “seemed like a good idea at the time” ideas might be better of deleted or moved to the next fiscal or calendar year.

Do the components of your plan complement each other? A good strategic plan written with clear goals and objectives in mind will contain components that support the company’s mission and vision through integration. In a way, it’s like all parts of a machine working in unison toward a common outcome.

Is there anything that needs to be added after the plan has been published? Sometimes market factors or other occurrences dictate that strategic plans need to be modified to accommodate them. Maybe it’s new competition in the marketplace, a shift in customer behavior or expectations, or a new technology that directly affects your work. In those cases, regularly revisiting plans provides the opportunity to add new items, or even delete those that are no longer relevant.

How are we doing with regard to revenue projections? All good leaders know how important it is to ensure that financials are doing what they expect them to do. If there are significant differences between projections and actual numbers, you’ll want to address them sooner than later.

By doing regular reviews of your strategic plan and making necessary adjustments when they’re called for, you’ll help ensure that your mission and vision are on the way to being accomplished.