Strategic planning corrections at the halfway point
For many of us, the dog days of summer mark the mid to waning months of a year-long strategic plan. We have written before about how to maintain your momentum throughout the course of your strategic plan (see Maintaining Strategic Momentum). Now we turn our focus to a mid-course correction, the formal review of your strategic plan about halfway through the plan year. The goals of the review are:
- Strategy Review: to assess whether the chosen strategies are having the impact predicted. Strategies and even projects are revised as warranted.
- Progress to Vision: to assess the overall impact of the plan (are you moving toward your vision), and develop corrective actions as needed.
- Realism Test: to review and revise accountability and timelines to accurately reflect the work required to get the plan to completion.
In short, the mid course correction is the time to determine if your strategic plan is still an accurate reflection of what you want to achieve, how you are going to achieve it and the environment you are operating in.
How to make a strategic plan update
To accomplish these three goals does not require a complete reconstruction of the plan at a 3 day retreat. We typically sit down with clients for a half day session with this agenda:
- Review each project on the plan. Is it still a priority? Is the year end target for each still realistic? Modifications are made so that the projects stay current and relevant.
- Look to the environment. Have new opportunities arisen that are not in the plan? Are there new threats that must be addressed? Projects are added or modified to make sure new opportunities and threats are not lost.
- Conduct a brief review of the vision, values and purpose to renew momentum and commitment to the core ideology of the organization.
And that is it. Relatively quick and simple, and absolutely essential. We encourage clients to mark up their Vision Navigation chart with the changes to their plan – changed due dates or task assignments, dropped projects and new ones, etc. Then we print new charts so the tool remains an accurate reflection of the strategic work through the end of their plan.
Does a mid-course review help?
We track the completion percentage on the projects of each of our planning clients. Naturally, the goal is to realize an increased completion percentage over time. We have found that the mid-course correction, i.e. an honest assessment of progress and decisions on how to improve, is essential to achieving that increased completion percentage.
If your plan is not changing to keep pace with the changes in your environment, is not being used or not achieving your strategic goals, perhaps it is time for a mid-course correction. We would be happy to answer your questions or step you through the review of your plan. Drop us an e-mail to start the conversation.