Speed is not important, but momentum is your friend
It is an oxymoron of course. Leaders of organizations of all stripes do strategic plans. Some do them every year, others do a strategic plan every time there is a change of leadership, and others only when they are obligated to surrender one to some overseeing authority.
They come in all shapes and sizes, some are a page, some or more than 100 pages. Some of these plans look more like business plans, and others look more like pipe dreams. It doesn’t really matter as long as there is some planning going on. Like every good plan, the actual document produced and approved at the conclusion of the exercise is just an artifact, the value of planning is really in the process, if it’s done correctly.
How many times have you made a cheat sheet just to find that you no longer needed it?
Our firm is currently serving an exceptional organization in developing a strategic plan, unusual because their approach to strategic planning not only has the necessary and important near-term horizon, focused on critical success factors such as revenue, growth and engagement and mitigating risk; but there is also the longer-term horizon focused on generational change.
It is incredibly encouraging and refreshing.
The leaders of this association are sticklers for process and detail and accountability, it is one of the reasons they are one of the largest and most successful associations in the country. But they are also visionary. They are establishing a strategic plan that will not only chart the immediate future of next steps and immediate needs to address; but then extend the planning to include the future of the next generation of professionals that will follow. There is expert analysis, there are plenty of research and industry smarts and institutional knowledge, and then there is also equal parts faith, passion and optimism. These folks want to “future-proof” their association. They are like parents of their professional offspring, they are working to make it better for them, then it was for themselves.
This may be partly driven by the fact that the association is in an industry that often operates as a big family and has many members that do business as families; but nonetheless, it is a good example.
Of course, the plan is responsible and will stay driven by the core values, available budgets and identified key performance indicators of the leadership team; but this plan looks out 25 years—asking the questions: What should we do now that we can measure in decades, not quarters, and what do we want our association to look like in 2019 but also in 2050?
Does your plan do that? Maybe it should.