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What are your Strategy & Plans?

A story from Alice in the Wonderland is paraphrased below, where Alice was walking through a forest and suddenly came upon a very large tree at a crossroads.

From nowhere, a Cheshire cat appeared in the tree and asked Alice, "Can I help you?"
Alice said, "Yes, please. I 'm lost and need to know which road I should take."
The Cheshire cat asked, "Where are you going?"
Alice said, "Gee, I don't know!"
"Well," said the Cheshire cat, "then it doesn't matter which road you take."

Many reasons are typically given for not planning. Reasons such as, "We are too busy with our work and we have no time for planning." and "Why plan when things always change." The truth is that most of the time, people don't plan to fail but they fail to plan. A structured strategic planning process helps companies to take a broader view of their business and environment in formulating plans that are workable and reduce the risks. Plans are not static but dynamic, they provides templates for companies to deal with changes in the environment.

One important aspect of planning is that it helps you get where you want to go, and to know when you get there. It is far better than just getting where you end up and wondering if this is where you want to be, or complaining that you really wish you were somewhere else.

Strategic Planning is a Journey

When you start creating a strategic plan you begin (or continue) a long journey. A strategic planning session accomplishes a number of objectives. These include:

  • Improving communication between cross-functional organization management personnel
  • Clarifying organizational culture, directions, roles, and responsibilities
  • Clarifying terminology used within the organization
  • Establishing a common (shared) vision for the organization to pursue - one that meets both the needs of the institution and its groups and individuals

These sessions can help energize the journey. They also help management identify: where to go, and who can help achieve the vision.

Types of Plans

There may be several types of planning occurring within an organization:

Project Plan

It is the detailed activities, responsible individuals, and timings required to complete a specific project, such as a four-month Business Process Reengineering project.
Project plans are the most commonly developed plans and, therefore, are the type of planning most of us have the most experience doing. Project plan have tangible and measurable outcomes. The duration is generally fixed, with a specified starting date and a targeted completion date. The project plan has served us well in completing projects such as the design and development of a new products, or organizing and implementation of Enterprise Resource Planning Software.

Tactical and strategic plans have the same general objectives as the project plan, but generally have different planning time frames and as a result, different levels of specificity.

Tactical Plan

The overall activities, measurable outcomes, responsible individuals, and targeted completion dates required to succeed during a relatively shorter period of time, such as an organization's two-year human resource plan to support the strategy or fifteen-month manufacturing plan.

The organization tactical plan defines the outcomes required for the organization to be successful during the year, To achieve the tactical plan's outcomes it is generally necessary to develop a number of project plans. The tactical plan must be monitored regularly during the year (monthly or quarterly) to measure progress toward the targeted outcomes, to reassess priorities, to progress toward the targeted outcomes, to reassess priorities, to re-deploy resources, and to make other necessary adjustments.

Strategic Plan

The overall directions and targeted outcomes required to achieve the organization's mission. A strategic plan requires the organization to take a longer-term perspective than normally considered necessary for operational situation. It might, for instance, define what business the organization will need to be in to meet competitive pressure in the foreseeable future.

An organization's strategic plan defines the outcomes required to successfully achieve its targeted outcomes over a time frame, typically three to five years. To achieve the targeted outcomes it is generally necessary to develop a number of tactical plans. The strategic plan must be monitored regularly (quarterly or annually) to measure progress, reassess priorities, and make other necessary adjustments.

Needless to say, project, tactical, and strategic plans should not be static documents. Each needs to be a dynamic description of what the organization is trying to achieve during the specified time frame. Also, all of the organization's plans should reflect and support what the organization is trying to accomplish.

Bottom Line

Strategy is not just something that is nice to talk about. It is formulated through structured process. Strategy is not just for the management, it should be communicated to all stakeholders of the company to guide their actions & energy.

The bottom line is that each company should have a clear and well communicated strategy. The corporate strategy should be supported by various tactical and project plan. These help the company to focus its resources to achieve its vision and mission.



Link to Strategy Planning Service

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