As a strategy consultant, I have had the opportunity to review a lot of strategic plans over the years. It's been truly amazing to discover just how many major organizations develop strategic plans that contain little more than a whole lot of budget estimates and revenue projections. Those firms practice what I call "Strategic Planning 1.0".

Clearly, a new kind of planning approach is required to guide today's modern organizations through the challenges that exist in the early 21st century business environment. A budget process will not suffice when competing with the Amazons and Googles of the world.

Rather, today's businesses need a strategic plan that is informed by a vivid and compelling vision and one that outlines all of the projects and programs needed to move an organization from wherever it is today to wherever it needs to be tomorrow to remain relevant and vibrant. This kind of strategic planning is something that I like to call "Strategic Planning 2.0".

Strategic Planning 2.0 produces the game plan for transforming an organization into an unbeatable force within the markets it serves--something a budget-based plan really cannot deliver. Strategic Planning 2.0 can be characterized as providing an enterprise with:

  • A vision-based plan
  • The mechanisms needed for identifying the initiatives required to transform and compete;
  • Methods for understanding and documenting the details required for the successful execution of those initiatives;
  • The means for setting new, and re-establishing existing , business priorities based on changes in the marketplace, while optimizing and leveraging of company assets to the greatest possible competitive gain; and,
  • An identification of the resources and procedures needed to build and administer the Strategic Planning 2.0 project and program plans as they evolve over time.

Here are some examples of the types of initiatives that may come from a Strategic Planning 2.0 effort:

  • Strategic Acquisitions Program
  • Overseas Alliance Program
  • Data Analytics Project
  • Corporate Re-Branding Project
  • Business Process Outsourcing Project
  • Cloud-Based CRM Selection Project
  • Shop Floor Safety Program
  • Union Issues Negotiation Project
  • Cross-Cultural Workforce Inclusion Program
  • CIO Search/Selection Project

Interestingly, the content of a 2.0 Strategic Plan ranges from the heady (Strategic Acquisition Program -- that proactively looks for complementary acquisition targets) to the commonplace (CIO Search/Selection Project -- that's about hiring a candidate to drive IT for the firm). Regardless, it's essential that the 2.0 Strategic Plan encompasses all of the strategic, tactical and operational-related efforts required for the enterprise to continually evolve and thrive in an ever fluid business world. In this way, the 2.0 strategic plan always reflects the current reality and mirrors the firm's strategic intent.

To close, Strategic Planning 2.0 focuses on delivering the game plan for an organization to pivot properly and respond to the changes in its marketplace, while providing decision-makers with the information that they need to properly guide the business through its competitive landscape. The difference between Strategic Planning 1.0's budget focused planning and 2.0's vision focused planning can be the difference between a business winning or losing tomorrow.

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