Consider that your strategic plan is a living, breathing entity with a finite life expectancy. Most strategic plans are designed to last three to five years, although there are exceptions; some may last much longer, as we'll see later in this article. Now that you understand where you are and where you want to go, it's time to put pen to paper. Your plan will take into account your position and strategy to define the plan for the entire organization for the next three to five years.
Keep in mind that, even if you're creating a long-term plan, the parts of your strategic plan should be created as quarters and years go by. One of the fundamental components of the performance evaluation process is the identification of a time period for the plan itself. While strategic plans are aspirational in nature, they are most effective when focused on a defined period of time. In the past, plans used to be developed for five or even ten years.
However, today's world is moving too fast and full of too many uncertainties to plan for long periods. In our experience, the optimal duration of a strategic plan is three years. This planning horizon supports forward-thinking goals and initiatives without allowing potential changes in future organizational priorities or the big picture to make the plan irrelevant. Strategic planning is when business leaders map out their vision for the organization's growth and how they are going to achieve it.
When you've achieved most of your strategic objectives, or if your strategy has evolved significantly since you first drew up your plan, it might be time to create a new one. A business plan can help you document your strategy when starting out, so that all team members are in agreement when it comes to your top business priorities and objectives. You may end up making business arguments for the things listed in your strategic plan's roadmap, but your strategic plan should be more comprehensive than that. Before you start developing the strategy and defining where you're going, you first need to define where you are.
A SWOT analysis to help you assess the company's current and future potential (you'll return to this analysis periodically during the strategic planning process). Even if you work in a relatively young company, your strategic plan can be based on your business plan to help you move in the right direction. They develop strategies to implement their goals and objectives, work to empower individuals and offices so that they can achieve and exceed expected results, and monitor progress on a routine basis. This tool can help you document and share your strategy with key investors or stakeholders as you launch your company.
During the strategic planning process, you'll build on many of the fundamental business elements you created from the start to set your strategy for the next three to five years. By investing time in formulating the strategy, you can create a three- to five-year vision for the future of your company. To turn your company's strategy into a plan and, ultimately, into an impact, make sure you proactively connect company goals to daily work. If your company is already established, consider creating a strategic plan instead of a business plan.
Executing a new strategy involves clear communication throughout the organization to ensure that everyone knows their responsibilities and knows how to measure the success of the plan. Stay tuned as we explore the importance of strategy and performance in the Federal Government and share agency success stories.