Any strategic plan can quickly become out of date as business circumstances change.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 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 and agree any necessary changes.
3. At the same monthly meeting, review progress made towards execution of the Actions required to deliver each Objective in full.
4. After the monthly meeting, update the schedule of short-term Actions required to fulfil the latest set of Strategic Objectives.
5. On 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 3-year Strategic Plan by 12 months.
6. Repeat steps 2 – 5 every year
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