Step four: Make a Strategic Plan

Did I just hear you groan?

Probably. The words "strategic planning" have become like dirty words in some circles. Many times, organizations spend a lot of money having some outside firm make a strategic plan for them that ultimately gathers dust on a shelf while the staff continue right on doing the business of the organization...just the way it was done before.

A successful strategic plan must be a little painful, very honest, and implemented as quickly as possible. It's going to take some serious soul-searching and brutal honesty. Statistics don't lie. Some may feel certain things have worked "just fine" and it's "the way it's always been done", but if the data doesn't prove that those are successful methods, then they need to change.

Everyone must be on board, from the top down. Many times, strategic plans are overly complicated- easily understood by the COO with an MBA but incomprehensible to the staff whose job it is to daily carry out the mission of the organization. Can you see why that will never work?

Strategic plans don't have to be scary, complex, or incomprehensible. Where are you going? What tools do you have to get there? What tools do you need to acquire to get there? What methods will get you there fastest with lowest cost? Answer these questions and you'll be well on your way to a clear, concise strategic plan that can be implemented from the ground up. When in doubt, remember to K.I.S.S....keep it simple, silly :) ~Melissa

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