Strategy Foundation: Three Questions & 80 Sample Plans

This time of year many companies embark on creating strategic plans or evaluating existing plans. To honor this cyclical reality, we’re focusing the remainder of the year’s newsletters on just the basics. In each newsletter, we’ll include links to more details, example strategic plans, resources and videos to revisit the foundation of what a good plan looks like, what type of research is needed, and what kind of framework works best for guiding companies forward for comprehensive success.

Not to oversimplify how to create a strategic plan, but by placing all the parts of a plan into a few key areas, you can clearly see how the pieces fit together. By asking yourself the three questions that follow you’ll be on your way. Each of these question areas has certain parts to it, but the general gist is to treat the process like a researched and planned journey.

1. Where are we now? As you think about where your organization is now, look at your foundational elements (mission and value) to make sure there has not been a change. More than likely, you will not revise these two areas very often. Then look at your current position or your strategic position. This is where you look at what is happening internally and externally to determine how you need to shift and change.

2. Where are we going? The elements of this question help you answer other questions such as what will my organization look like in the future? Where are we headed? What is the future I want to create for my company? Because the future is hard to predict, use your creative license to imagine what it may look like.

3. How will we get there? Knowing how you’ll reach your vision is not only the meat of your strategic plan, but it’s also the most time consuming. The reason it takes so much time to develop is because there are a number of routes from your current position to your vision. Needed resources, people, training are all questions that come up in this area of planning and answering this question requires representation of all your departments with all your key leaders and managers as well.

Every company has varying complexities to address in this three-question strategy gauntlet. So you can see how these appear in the end product, we’ve gathered more than 80 strategic plans from organizations such as NASA, the City of Las Vegas, Washington State, the New Zealand Police Department and others. Gain free access to these excellent examples to see how these organizations have answered the three questions above and charted a solid course forward.

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