We hear it: "Times are tough! We can't engage in strategic planning now!"
Certainly, the challenge and stress of bad economic times are a reason why organizations don't create and pursue an up-to-date strategic plan.
When an organization feels besieged, the natural tenancy is to hunker down and to take very short-term actions to improve the situation. The organization's focus narrows, costs are cut, advertising is pulled back, people are reduced.
The issue with this response is that while the organization may "survive" in the short run, going forward it may be a shell of itself, maybe even a Zombie organization, technically functioning perhaps, but very impaired and not at all healthy, lurching about without any direction except to find whatever else can be devoured for continued survival.
The case for strategic planning in a recession is that the planning is important to keep the organization's view wider so that as it takes the necessary survival steps it does as little as possible to block the road to a better future. Simply, what's cut should be of lesser strategic importance. Strategic planning in a recession can reveal new possibilities and directions brought forward by the changed landscape. Strategic planning in a recession can unite the leadership team and give it a sense of greater hope and purpose.
Strategic planning and pursuing a plan to reach a brighter future has to be more fun than lurching around like a Zombie!
Businesses using strategic plans are 12% more profitable.
Only one-third of directors of 1,000 public companies say their company is achieving strategic success.
Data from 26 studies of the value of strategic planning concludes that strategic planning positively influences firm performance.
Strategic Planning Focus of the Week: Limit the Strategies You Pursue
Once a strategic vision is in place and the strategic gaps are understood, it's relatively easy to generate many possible strategies to close the gaps. The challenge is to prioritize the possible strategies and select the handful for the organization to implement over the planning period. It's important to limit the number of strategies to be pursued so the organization can be focused and to assure that the strategies are fully and well implemented.
Strategic Vision of the Week
Weyerhaeuser: "We release the potential in trees to solve important problems for people and the planet."
Strategic Planning Quote of the Week
"The best way to predict the future is to create it." - Peter Drucker