Here are some questions that your strategic planning process should answer:
- What is your vision for the future? You should have this memorized before you even start. This vision rarely changes because it is the reason for your existence. It is usually stated in vague terms. It should contain no strategies, goals, nor values. This is a view of the outside world, not a description of your organization.
- What does the future look like in three to five years? This is specific. This is your practical vision. These comments represent the criteria you use to judge the rest of your plan. What do you expect to see, hear, feel? What is taking place?
- What are the roadblocks that keep you from achieving the practical vision? What are the kinks in the hose, the dragging brakes? What must change to achieve the practical vision?
- What innovative, substantial actions will deal with the underlying contradictions (the roadblocks) and move you toward your vision? These will give you your broad strategic direction. They typically build on your strengths.
- What will be your specific, measurable accomplishments in the first year? What will you accomplish in each quarter?
- What will you do in the first 90 days? Who will do these actions? When will they do them? What resources will they have? Who is responsible for tracking progress?
Now you have your strategic plan. Document it. Add it to your Operating Plan.
Now go do it.