Creating Successful Strategic Plans
This means thinking through the issues that may arise so that the way forward is still clear, when the expected and unexpected occur.
It also means recognising that no strategy ever exists in isolation, so it is about involving others in those plans.
With my new role as Chair of the Forest Economic Partnership (FEP) assisting in the development of an economic strategy for the Forest of Dean through to 2050, understanding the fundamentals of successful strategic planning are essential.
5 Tips for Successful Strategic Plans
Strategic planning has a long history and many theories on how to be successful. From my experience building successful organisations in the private and public sector, the following tips will always apply for any strategic plan to be successful:
- Identify and agree your objectives clearly. Strategic plans start with either a very specific objective or a mix of intangible things that are seen to be desirable. Most often organisations and individuals will start with a mix of both. Time discussing these is never time wasted and should be done at the earliest opportunity. Over the process they can be refined into simple agreed objectives and aims that everyone is working towards.
- Identify the obstacles and opportunities for success. Honestly appraise these from a logical and emotional perspective in order to determine how they affect the achievability of the objectives. It is important to fully identify all of these before trying to resolve any of them.
- Determine valid approaches to exploit opportunities and remove obstacles. Having a complete picture under 2 allows the impact of each to be determined against a variety of alternative approaches. This is where some strategic planners start putting in Plan B’s and C’s.
- Take as wide a view as possible over the longer term for the strategy. This term can be any length. But make sure it is the full length and takes in anyone that might be affected. Using sandpaper on a cricket ball during a 5 day test match might aim to win the game. But discovery can lead to year-long ban and significant recriminations from all sides, not just sport.
- Ensure that the agreed strategy is consistent with the values of the individual and organisation proposing it. Where it has consistency then buy-in will be greater and the chances of success are infinitely higher. Inconsistency typically creates the opportunity for individuals to disrupt deployment either deliberately or by ‘accident’.
Forest Economic Partnership
The Forest of Dean District Council has set for the Partnership, the objective to deliver a thriving economy in the Forest of Dean by connecting businesses, councils, people, ideas and resources so that in 2050 the Forest is an attractive, vibrant and dynamic destination to live work and do business.
This clearly identifies that FEP wishes to actively engage with all potential audiences, so that together we are able to deliver a strategic economic vision that can be in place before 2023. This enables the Forest to consistently put forward its views so they are accounted for in others’ plans and to enable us to compete effectively.
The discussions on the morning of 16th April will further refine tip 1 and start to build on the second through creating various sub-groups focused on particular aspects of the plan. FEP is interested in the widest possible representation of micro to large businesses, organisations and individuals prepared to work together. This will create a strategy that really works for the whole Forest area. Not least so we can cover tips 2 to 5! If you would like an invitation to be part of it please email me for more information. #FOD2050
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