Many organizations struggle to architect their strategic plans. Sure, all plans need to include the essentials like mission, vision, values, strategic priorities, and organizational goals. But how do you know if you need to structure your plan to cascade organization goals into individual departments? When does cascading initiatives hurt you more than help you?
Here are four common indicators we use to identify when department goal setting isn’t necessary:
- Strategic planning is new to your organization – If the strategic planning process is entirely new to your organization, it’s ok to keep your plan simple. It’s better to see success from a smaller strategic plan, especially when it’s your organization’s first go at the process.
- Your departments are innately cross-functional – If your departments all share common workloads and you can’t exactly define each department’s sole responsibilities, you don’t need to development departmental strategic plans. Having your cross-functional departments execute against organization strategic goals is plenty in this case.
- It’s a big cultural shift – If your planning team has created a plan that is going to shift your organization’s core culture, you might not want to cascade your goals down to individual departments.
- You have a new management team – It’s important to keep new management teams rallied around organizational goals that foster alignment and consensus building. As your team and organization matures, you can always feather in department goals next year.
If you identify with even one of the indicators above, your planning team should seriously consider skipping department planning. Tempting as it may be, you don’t need to overplan for your organization. It might waste your time and, in the end, not produce the results you could have seen with a smaller, focused strategic plan executed by your management team.