How to Refresh Your Strategic Plan

With a new year approaching, you might feel like you’ve just completed your strategic plan. While it may be already Q4, the thought of completely redoing your strategic plan probably isn’t the most appealing idea.

We agree – which is why we’ve developed this three-step process to refresh and prepare your plan for a new planning year.

Strategic planning inherently is marked by change. But, especially with long-term (3-5 year) plans, it’s unnecessary and un-strategic to be gut and redo a plan every single year. Long-term strategic success is driven by continued focus on your strategy and your team driving towards your vision on a daily, weekly, monthly, and annual basis.


So, how do you refresh your plan in a meaningful way for your new planning year without loosing that strategic part of your strategic plan?

We’ve come to love the 3C’s as a guidepost for organizations to use to update their plans. To update your plan, you need to:

  • Step 1: Carry Forward – The first step in the process is reviewing your plan and assessing which of your goals you want to carry into your plan for the next planning year. This reviews goals from your current plan.
  • Step 2: Close Out – After reviewing and deciding which goals you need to carry forward, you’ll also need to decide which goals you will be closing out and not continuing into the next year. This reviews goals from your current plan.
  • Step 3: Create New – With the new year on the horizon, the last step in preparing your plan is creating new annual goals for your next planning year. This step creates new goals for your next planning year.

Step 1: Carry Forward

Selecting Goals to Carry Forward

First, you will need to review your current annual corporate goals and assess which ones you want to carry forward and continue working on during your next planning year. As you review your plan’s annual goals, we recommend carrying forward goals that meet the following criteria:

  • Multi-year goals with strong performance measures, indicating the progress of your strategy over the life of the plan.
  • Goals that are not completed and need to be extended into the next planning year.
  • An ongoing process goal continuing into the next year.
  • Projects that aren’t complete.
  • Once you’ve selected which goals you want to continue working on during your next planning year, you’ll want to refresh them to extend their due dates into the next planning year, make sure the measures don’t need to change, and add or reassign contributors as needed.  You’ll also want to notify your planning team which goals are moving forward in your new plan so owners of supporting children goals can also extend or close out their goals.

Step 2: Close Out Goals

  • After deciding which goals you would like to carry forward into your new plan, the remaining annual goals need to be closed out at the end of your plan current planning year. Goals that might be closed out at the end of your current plan might include:
  • Goals that are (or will be) achieved and do not need to extend into 2018.
  • Goals that aren’t complete and will not be continued in the next year.
  • Goals you no longer need or aren’t relevant in the next planning year.
  • Once you’ve identified which goals you will close out at the end of the planning year, simply update them at the end of the year. You’ll also want to notify your planning team which goals are not moving forward in your new plan so owners of supporting children goals can close out their goals.

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Step 3: Create New Goals

Creating new goals is just as it sounds. A new year may equate to the need for new goals that support your long-term vision of success for the upcoming planning year. As you create your plan, remember to use the SMART framework to ensure they’re actionable and meaningful for your team.

That concludes the 3C’s for updating and refreshing your plan for the new year. If you’re an OnStrategy customer, we’ve built an awesome new workflow to help automate this process you’ll have access to starting today!

Need help creating your plan for the new year? We can help with that! Schedule your discovery call with our experts today!



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