Any strategic plan can quickly become out of date as business circumstances change. For this reason, many pundits suggest that strategic planning is dead. But they are dead wrong!

Sound strategic planning is essential to the success of every business. It is the vehicle for determining which market segments to play in and how to win in those segments. It also enables the resultant set of strategic objectives to be translated into concrete short term actions for the accountable staff.

So how can the plan – which might have been great at the time of its first formulation – be kept up to date in the face of changing circumstances?

Clearly, if your strategic plan is to work (i.e. be delivered in full), you must have a mechanism for reviewing and updating it regularly. Here is the best way we have found to do this with the minimum of effort and with full accountability of the relevant staff for making progress:

  1. Begin by formulating your 1-3 year Strategic Plan graphically on a single page with 7 or less Strategic Objectives.
  2. At your monthly Management Team meeting, quickly review the current validity of your 1-page Strategic Plan, agree and make any necessary changes.
  3. At each 12-month anniversary of your inaugural Strategic Plan, conduct a 1-day workshop with your Management Team to review and formally roll forward your Strategic Plan by 12 months.
  4. At the beginning of each quarter, conduct a ‘Quarterly Project Meeting’ of all Process Managers and have them review the Projects that should have been completed in the immediate past quarter. Next, have them each formulate one new quarterly Project that best involves their assigned Key Process in contributing towards a relevant strategic Objective. Then decide how many of these Projects can be resourced via small autonomous teams comprised of personnel with a vested interest in the Project. Finalise the Project choices. Finally, the Project Managers complete their respective 1-page Project Briefs.
  5. Following the Quarterly Preview Meeting, each Project Manager briefs their nominated team that in turn conducts their 2-hour Project Planning Workshop. Then each Project team completes their Project by the end of the quarter.
  6. Repeat steps 2-5 every year