Critical to the success of any strategic plan is the process used for monitoring and updating the plan. At Leadership Strategies, we believe a strategic plan should be formally reviewed at least quarterly and updated annually. What does the annual strategy update process look like? What are the key questions to ask?
Preparing for the Update
To prepare for the annual update, you will want to have members of the team update performance on each objective and strategy for each goal area. The information provided for objectives and strategies is slightly different as shown in the sample below.
|Goal: A. Customer Service|
|3-Year Objectives||Year 1||Who||Results||Grade|
|1.||Achieve 95% of clients surveyed report satisfaction or high satisfaction with our services.||85%||Fisher||Mean of 87% from 4 questions|
|2.||Have 60% of prior year customers do business with us in the current year.||45%||Jones||39% of customers|
|A1.||Train staff in methods for establishing and managing client expectations.||Collins||Training implemented in first quarter; 90% of staff trained. Make up classes will be held for others.||90%|
|A2.||Implement internal awards program for annual client retention.||Jones||Implemented in last quarter of year. No awards won.||100%|
|A3.||Implement customer loyalty program||Jones||Not implemented.||0%|
As you can see, objectives will have annual milestones, strategies do not. During the preparation phase, the objectives grade should be left blank. The grades are provided during the update meeting by the entire team.
The Strategy Update Meeting
What happens during the update meeting? Since the goal of the update meeting is to review progress and make adjustments, it is important to review each of the following:
- Progress in the objectives and strategies;
- Causes of successes and barriers that have hindered progress;
- Changes in the environment; and
- Potential revisions to objectives and strategies.
The goal of the grading process is to provide an unbiased assessment of how well each objective was accomplished. The grading is often a sobering process as teams become aware of how, in some cases, they were overly optimistic in their targets, while in other cases they missed targets due to lack of focus or inattention.
We recommend the following agenda for the strategy update process:
Strategy Update Meeting Session Objective
- Review the overall strategy and progress toward its achievement
- Reassess objectives, strategies and priorities
A. Getting Started
1. Welcome and Opening Remarks
2. Session Objective, Deliverables, Key Issues
3. Reminder of the Strategic Framework
4. Agenda, Ground Rules
B. Review of Past Accomplishments
1. Grading our performance
- Review of each objective and progress to date
- Percent complete on strategies
2. What have been our key successes?
3. What have been our significant issues and barriers?
4. What new trends have emerged?
C. Setting the Future Direction
1. Validate the mission and goals
- Are the mission and goals still relevant in light of the review of past accomplishments?
2. Revise the objectives as needed
- Are the current objectives still valid?
- What new objectives are needed?
3. Review strategies
- Will these strategies lead to achieving the objectives?
- Are there strategies that are no longer relevant?
- Are there new strategies that should be added?
4. Select strategies for specific priority
D. Next Steps
1. Short-term Action Plan
2. Communications Plan
3. Monitoring Plan
About the Author
Michael Wilkinson is the CEO and Managing Director of Leadership Strategies, the largest provider of professional facilitators and facilitation training in the country. Michael is a much sought after trainer, facilitator and speaker. He is a Certified Master Facilitator and a Certified Professional Facilitator. As a past president of the Southeast Association of Facilitators, the creator of the FindaFacilitator.com database and a board member of the International Institute of Facilitation, Michael is a national leader in the facilitation industry. You can get more tips from Michael’s books, including The Executive Guide to Facilitating Strategy, The Secrets of Facilitation, The Secrets to Masterful Meetings, and CLICK: The Virtual Meetings Book.