Strategic plans are vital. But they can’t be the kind of strategic plans that sit on a shelf. Instead, your strategic plan should help your staff by telling them what they need to know to successfully identify leads, pursue them, and grow your business. Your strategic plan should be a tool that explains:
- What kind of capabilities and offerings to develop
- Who their target customers are
- Where to target marketing and build relationships
- When, where, and how teaming relationships should be part of the mix
- What areas they should research to select targets for prospecting
- What numbers they need to hit
- What strategic outcomes they should strive for
- How to embrace trends and changes
- When a lead is considered identified, what is required to qualify leads, and what the criteria are for bidding them
- How bid/no bid decisions should be made
- What their pursuit budgets are and how they should be allocated
- What differentiates your company and how it should be positioned
- How should overhead be managed, internal budgets allocated, and where should the company invest in itself
- How methods, approaches, tools, and procedures have strategic impact and how they should flow down
- What needs to be done to track progress and verify implementation of the strategic plan
Most strategic plans are written annually, and often updated quarterly. If people are not using and referring to the strategic plan throughout the year, it’s a sign that the plan is not perceived as vital for them to do their jobs. It means the next one you create should be done differently so that it provides answers that people need and adds value to what they do.
If you have to force people to follow the strategic plan, it’s also a sign that something’s wrong. Either there are incentives (financial or otherwise) in the environment that are pulling them in another direction, or else they have conflicting goals. People should want to follow the strategic plan because it makes them all part of the same team, because they share the same compelling vision, and because it’s in their interests.
If people are doing things differently from what it says in the strategic plan, one of them is wrong. Either the strategic plan needs to be updated to reflect reality, or the decision process needs to be updated to incorporate referring to the strategic plan.
The strategic plan should make it easier to get the right kind of business to build the foundation your business needs for the future. It’s not just about driving executive level mandates down to the workers. It’s about giving the workers something that will help them fulfill the executive vision. To be perceived as an asset, it needs to be useful. If you achieve that your strategic plan won’t just sit on a shelf. Like a map or trusted guide book, people will use and refer to it constantly.
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