Learn What Makes a Good Example of a Strategic Plan

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Strategic Planning

What Makes a Good Example of a Strategic Plan?

Many companies are looking for help, searching for an example of a strategic plan as a yardstick they can use to compare their own plans. But strategic plans can come in many forms, shapes and sizes; they are not a “one size fits all” document.  There are simple strategic plans that include goals, objectives, strategies, and tactics, as well as complex plan structures that include multiple levels and layers. How developed your plan needs to be depends on several factors, including the level of accountability your are trying to create, the time frame for implementing the plan, and the culture of your organization. In this post, you’ll see an example of a strategic plan that is most common among businesses today.

Strategic Plan Example: Basic Structure

At a minimum, strategic and operational plans contain three levels that serve specific functions. These are listed in inverse order as they appear in a plan, to demonstrate the linkage from bottom-up:

  • Tactics: These are task assignments that must be carried out on an individual basis. These action items comprise the strategies. For instance, if you have a client satisfaction strategy that focuses on an annual client event, there are a number of things that must be completed in order for the event to happen. These are the tactics, which include due dates, deliverables, and are assigned to specific people for execution.
  • Strategies: The collection of the tactics need a name, and this name is the strategy. The name of the strategy provides the focus for something specific, and the strategy itself contains the individual tactics. As such, strategies are the broad action-oriented items that we implement to achieve the objectives. In this example, the client event strategy is designed to improve overall client satisfaction. We may have additional strategies aimed at improving client satisfaction, and each of these other strategies will have a collection of tactics, too.
  • Objectives: These are quantifiable and measurable targets, that answer the questions of how much, by when. There is an old adage that you can’t improve what you don’t measure. As such, plans without measurable objectives are not plans at all; they are merely task lists. Objectives include baseline performance, targeted performance, and an established date for achieving the objective. Any example of a strategic plan must include objectives, as they are the foundation for planning. In this example, our objective is to increase client satisfaction from 82% to 90% by December 31, 2017. How we accomplish that is the business of strategies and tactics.

Strategic Plan Example: Objectives, Strategies, and Tactics

Objective 1: Increase client satisfaction from 82.0% to 90.0% by December 31.

Strategy 1.1: Implement annual client conference
• Tactic 1.1.1: Identify date and venue
• Tactic 1.1.2: Develop agenda
• Tactic 1.1.3: Identify and invite speakers
• Tactic 1.1.4: Develop social events
• Tactic 1.1.5: Develop menus
• Tactic 1.1.6: Develop invitations

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Strategic Plan Example: Strategic Themes and Goals

Although objectives, strategies, and tactics are core elements in any example of a strategic plan, they are not the only elements. Many plans are more robust and include additional levels in the hierarchy. These levels are usually referred to as strategic themes and goals, and they come before objectives. As such, a fully developed plan would look like the example of a strategic plan below:

  • Strategic Themes: These are one- to three-word affinity group headings used to compartmentalize strategic and operational plans, such as Quality, Safety, People, Customers, Service, Finance, and Growth. For companies that use strategic themes, four to six such categories appear to be the most common.
  • Goals: These are broad statements that translate the organization’s vision statement into something more meaningful and time-bound. If strategic themes are also used, goal statements are used to translate the vision to specific strategic themes.
  • Objectives
  • Strategies
  • Tactics

Strategic Plan Example: A Complete Plan

Strategic Theme: Satisfaction

Goal: To be considered a trusted partner by our clients

Strategy 1.1: Implement annual client conference
• Tactic 1.1.1: Identify date and venue
• Tactic 1.1.2: Develop agenda
• Tactic 1.1.3: Identify and invite speakers
• Tactic 1.1.4: Develop social events
• Tactic 1.1.5: Develop menus
• Tactic 1.1.6: Develop invitations

Objective 1: Increase client satisfaction from 82.0% to 90.0% by December 31.

Keep in mind that there are many acceptable formats for strategic plans and you should use the approach that is right for you. Some companies prefer the one-page approach and others don’t adhere to specific approaches other than perhaps implementing a basic structure like the ones above. Either way, remember that creating a strategic plan is only the beginning; the hard part is executing it. That’s when you call AchieveIt.

About AchieveIt

AchieveIt’s Execution Insight Platform is a web-based solution that is purpose-built for executives to get a view into the performance and execution of their critical, high-level initiatives, which is not easy to get in either spreadsheets, email or project management systems. It features customizable dashboards (no more Excel hell!), smart email alerts and the ability to see not just your data, but the critical context behind it, so you get a full picture of how you’re executing your strategic plan, in an easy, efficient and effective way.