I love to reference great articles that never go out of style. One such article was published by Forbes in 2011 titled “Five Steps to a Strategic Plan.” Generally speaking I feel the article does a nice job highlighting many of the steps people miss during the planning process but I think they are missing one key piece. The five steps outlined in the article are as follows:

1)     Determine who you are

2)     Identify what’s important

3)     Define what you must achieve.

4)     Determine who is accountable

5)     Review. Review. Review.

Those steps are very clear but I would add a step between #2 and #3. Determining who you are is how you define your mission statement also known as your current state. You may be extremely happy with your organization as it is today but you’ll always need to keep an eye on the future. Your business environment is going to change within the next 5-10 years so it’s important to identify what’s important in an attempt to be ahead of the curve. Many times organizations are so focused on what they do well right now that they miss the newest disruptive technology they will unseat them.

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Kodak is a perfect example of organization focused on the present and what they did well. They didn’t think there was a future in digital photographs so they placed all their bets on standard film technology. As a result they were swept away by the newest advancements in digital photo technology. The whole reason you’re building a strategic plan is to get you to the next level. So the step I would add to Forbes’s list is that you need to define your vision statement. As you determine who you are and you identify what’s important you need to write out what you want to be “when you grow up.” A vision statement is supposed to motivate your organization to work toward the next level. When I turned 16 and got a job at the local supermarket, I hung a picture of a car in my bathroom to always remind me what I was working for. I visualized success and I was driving to school on my 17th birthday because of it.

So, to recap here’s my six steps to strategic planning:

1)     Determine who you are

2)     Identify what’s important

3)     Develop your vision statement

4)     Define what you must achieve

5)     Determine who is accountable

6)     Review. Review. Review.

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Joseph Krause
Joseph Krause
Joe Krause is currently the VP of Business Development at Achieveit. He serves as his client’s dedicated resource on strategic planning by providing a wide range of consulting services. In his spare time you can find him at the various restaurants in Atlanta or at Crossfit trying to work off those meals.