Many companies publish what they call their annual “strategic plan.” It is usually in the form of a lengthy document that includes the initiatives the company is planning to pursue, along with the operating plan and budget. While this document is important, it is really a tactical document rather than a strategic one.
Plenty of time is invested to create this annual plan and it is good, quality time. However, when your company focuses so much on the annual operating plan, you have to ask yourself whether you are spending enough time assessing your overall strategy.
Companies approach this process differently and generally, most don’t re-do their strategy once per year. The reality is that assessing and changing your strategy is a very thoughtful process that takes time. For many companies, that refresh comes roughly every three years. A strategy discussion should look at bigger picture issues that are directional and help the company clarify its vision. The outcome of these “bigger picture” discussions would normally be implemented in the annual operating plan – but it is not a substitution for the big picture strategic discussions.
If you are not having those big picture strategy discussions, it may be time to do so. Ultimately, these discussions will provide more benefits for your annual operation plan, as those tactical issues will be directed at more important things.
How often does your company revisit its business strategy? Share in the comments!