“One cool judgment is worth a thousand hasty counsels. The thing to do is to supply light and not heat”. Woodrow Wilson
Strategic Plans can be strange creatures. They contain our best and most hopeful thinking; at the same time they are a temptation to hasty action. The worst plans are hurriedly conceived and hurriedly implemented as if the war can be won in a single battle. They also can become a macho expression of the gung-ho attitude of the team creating them.
To have an effective plan, strive for balance and poise:
- Be sure, but not dogmatic – Dogma requires a blind adherence to a point of view. No management group should be so sure of their strategic plan that they are not open to considering new information.
- Be decisive, but not hasty – Having arrived at a set of conclusions through a well-constructed strategic planning process, action must be decisive. However, planners often ‘front-end load’ the actions to be taken, unnecessarily straining their organization’s ability to deliver.
- Be clear but not simplistic – The thinking of the planning team must be successfully reflected in the written plan. This must be clear so it can be easily communicated, but not reduced to simplistic notions and acronyms.
- Commit to strong strategic management – The strategic planning process must be supported by strong strategic management practices such as 90-day check-ins on progress and ‘tweaks’ to the plan based on interim plan reviews.
How have you managed to effectively implement your company’s strategic plan? What other points of advice would you add to this list? Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments section.