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Revisit Your Strategic Plan

Organizational leaders should revisit and re-evaluate their strategic plan annually, or even more frequently if the organization has significant ongoing change or there is a major event – such as a merger or acquisition.

Why Revisit Your Strategic Plan

As the organization changes internally or is impacted by changes externally – it grows, new talent joins, new leadership takes over, new competition enters the market, etc. – it is essential to revisit and reevaluate the strategic plan to ensure it still makes sense. And generally, even if all stays the same, revisiting the strategic plan enables for ensuring it is continuing to meet the needs of the organization by ensuring the right projects are being completed at the right time.

Abudi Consulting Group assists one of our global clients in evaluating their strategic plan every November by facilitating a strategy planning session that includes a SWOT analysis. Executives review what strategic projects were accomplished during the year and utilize the SWOT analysis to understand where to focus efforts for the upcoming year. This ensures a regularly updated strategic plan aligned to the vision, mission and core values of the organization, and to the needs of the organization’s customer base.

Get Started

To get started, dust off last year’s (or was it the year before??) strategic plan. Use that as your starting point. Each year, we prefer to update (or create if not done previously) a SWOT1 Analysis for our clients. This enables for determining focus for the strategic plan. Compare the SWOT Analysis to the strategic plan to look for any discrepancies. Review the strategic plan, keeping these questions in mind:

  • What projects have been accomplished?
  • What projects are still to be done?
  • What projects no longer make sense?
  • What projects need to be added?

Who Should Be Involved

We prefer that more than less are involved in developing the strategic plan. This doesn’t mean to imply that we believe every person in the organization must be in a meeting to participate in strategic planning, but rather should be able to provide input to the process. Let’s look at this more from a client example,

Each August, Abudi Consulting Group begins the strategic planning process for one of our clients, with a goal of completing the strategic plan by no later than Dec. 31. This process starts with a meeting with the executives and the Board of Directors to learn about areas of focus for the organization. We follow this up with an update of the SWOT Analysis (using the previous year’s SWOT Analysis as a starting point) and then with a review of the previous year’s Strategic Plan. Then, to ensure involvement from throughout the organization, the following takes place:

  • We send an online survey to all employees asking for their perspectives on where the company should focus with a goal of: improving the work, better supporting clients, and to improve competition in the marketplace
  • We invite employees to a variety of focus group sessions to share their perspectives on the organization as a whole – what’s working, what’s not, what do they see as needs from customers and partners. We also use these sessions to probe deeper into some comments from the survey.

As projects are selected to be accomplished for the year, we get employees involved to lead and participate on cross-functional teams. If an employee has suggested an initiative that should be done and is subsequently selected as one of the strategic projects to be accomplished as part of the strategic plan, that employee often leads the initiative.

Take These Steps

At a high level, here are steps to take to revisit/evaluate and develop/update your strategic plan and launch the right projects at the right time to accomplish the organization’s objectives:

Evaluating/Data Gathering

  • Pull out documentation that is necessary for a review/complete picture of the current organization: e.g., previous strategic plan, key performance indicators (KPIs), SWOT Analysis, employee engagement surveys, sales and marketing plans, operational plans, financial statements/reports.
  • Evaluate documentation, considering the following questions:
    • What has been accomplished?
    • What has not yet been accomplished?
    • What doesn’t make sense any longer?
    • What are employees saying?
  • Facilitate a meeting with the Board of Directors and executive leadership in order to review/confirm vision, mission, core values and strategic goals/objectives of organization.
  • Look for discrepancies between #1 and #2 above. Discrepancies help you focus on where changes are necessary in the strategic plan in order to meet the objectives of the organization.
  • Launch a survey for all employees to gather some data and perspectives of employees:
    • What’s working?
    • What’s not?
    • What do you see happening in the marketplace/with customers?
    • Where can improvements be made in how the work is done?

Updating/Developing the Strategic Plan

Use this information/data gathered to update/develop the Strategic Plan (and also to update the SWOT Analysis based on changes in the industry, marketplace, organization, competition, etc.) When developing/revising the Strategic Plan, focus on utilizing the company’s strengths to maximize opportunities for the future and to minimize external threats to the organization (this is where the SWOT Analysis comes in!). Consider areas of weakness that make sense to address to achieve strategic long-term goals.

Ensure alignment to the vision and mission of the organization, resources available, budgets, etc.

An updated plan should be shared with the leaders at all levels so that operational/tactical plans can be developed.

Sharing with the Organization

Once a plan has been developed, share either the entire plan (if the organization is comfortable doing so) or components of the plan with the organization. In communicating about the plan, be sure to thank employees for their participation and show/communicate how they contributed specifically to the plan. For example,

Contributions from the Marketing Department indicated that more investment needed to be made in marketing technology in order to enable for better meeting the needs of Sales and end customers. To that end, one project being initiated is a research of technology. This project will be led by Sarah Jones from Marketing.

In addition to senior leadership sharing the plan, such as at an all staff meeting, each department head should also share the plan with their staff from the perspective of the impact on their own department. The focus here is on projects that may be undertaken by individual departments in order to achieve the strategy of the organization.

Launching the Right Projects at the Right Time

You will likely have a number of projects you want to launch to make progress against the strategic plan. But all projects shouldn’t be launched at the same time! Prioritize the projects to be completed, considering impact on the business, resources available, budget monies available, and any other number of factors relevant to your business.

Want to read more about strategic planning? Here are some related blog posts:

Strategic Planning: Develop Your Plan
Strategic and Operational Planning: Engaging Employees to Participate
Best Practices to Communicate about Your Strategic Plan
Selling Your Strategic Plan to Employees

Need help with your strategic planning? Contact Abudi Consulting Group to learn more how we work with clients to assist and support strategic planning initiatives.

1 Strengths – Weaknesses – Opportunities – Threats Analysis

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