Doing the work to review a strategic plan can be one of the most cumbersome steps in developing your organization’s strategy.

We have not found a way around the challenge that at some point, someone (ideally multiple executives) must read through a strategic plan to make sure that everything makes sense, fits together, and paves the way for implementation success.

3 Equations to Review a Strategic Plan

When you review a strategic plan, go beyond the blah-blah

We’re going through the steps to review strategic plans with multiple clients right now; it’s that time of year. Beyond the line-by-line read, I wrote out these three relationships the other day to help assess their overall plans:

1. Patience > Aspirations for Change

There is always a need to find the right balance of impatience and patience when driving major change in an organization. You need a level of impatience, refusing to stick with the status quo and pushing aggressively for change. At the same time, strategic patience is important because change can take longer than leaders want. If your plan involves dramatic change, make a check before you move forward to make sure your organization is up for how long it will take and what dramatic change will involve.

2. Innovation Strategy ≠ Competitor’s Innovation Strategy

As you develop a plan, it’s easy to develop an innovation strategy that keeps you aligned with competitors. In that way, you can check off all the basics and all the features that you think customers expect. But if you’re simply keeping up and doing what all the major industry players are doing, you aren’t innovating. Review the strategic plan to see if it’s calling for innovation that sets your brand apart from competitors instead of simply matching them.

3. Implementation Complexity < Capabilities

As you review your strategic plan, look for how much complexity is going to be involved in implementing it. You want to make sure that your capabilities exceed the implementation challenges you’ve designed. It’s a great time – BEFORE you release the plan – to make sure you’ve streamlined and simplified implementation so that it’s well within your organizational capabilities to bring it to life.

You STILL Have to Read the Plan

While these equations are great overall checks to review a strategic plan, you must also read it. So, get started on that step now! – Mike Brown

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