It’s time to reframe strategic planning

Sales & Growth
Vision & Strategy

You know your company can and should be doing more.  There are opportunities out there.  Goals to achieve. You need a strategy.

But could the entire idea of creating a multi-year strategic plan be negative to your organization?

The Typical Strategic Plan

You’ve heard about strategic planning and know how important it is to have a clear strategy and a plan, with measurable goals for your team to achieve.

When it’s time to drive your company forward, you think “It’s time to create a strategic plan!”.

While there are several ways to get started, you to do the right thing and hire a strategic consultant to create the plan.  They walk you through a number of exercises, including a SWOT analysis, creation of a mission, vision and values, and others.  You talk about your long-term goals, and ways of making them happen.

Your team is excited.  The facilitator goes away to create “your plan”.

Two weeks later, the binder is delivered.  More excitement ensues. You have your 3-year strategic plan.  From here, you can go one of two ways:  the way of SPOTS (strategic plan on top shelf) or you can start to execute.

But, Where’s the Execution Plan?

It’s great to have a “strategic plan”, but without an execution plan, it’s useless.

That’s why Verne Harnish, author of Scaling Up, coined the term “Strategic Thinking and Execution Planning”.  To achieve your goals you need a simple, clear strategy and clear execution plans for every step.

Every major framework, including EOS (Traction), Scaling Up and the 7 Attributes of Agile Growth has teams develop quarterly execution plans.  Why?  Without execution, the best strategy is useless.

Whose Plan is it?

A prominent goal of the strategic planning process should be to build a cohesive, high-performance leadership team.  Having a third party create your plan means you will not be achieving that goal and developing strategic leadership.  Plus, it is not their plan, so they won’t be deeply committed to it.

One of the most important benefits of developing your plan is getting clarity and alignment for your team.  Creating your plan, as a team, ensures there’s a role for everyone in execution and creates a feeling of ownership and commitment.

Strategy + Execution Planning is the ULTIMATE team building exercise

– Mike Knapp

You Need to be AGILE

Picture this.  You develop the best 3-year strategy and execution plan in the world.  You’re going to DOMINATE with it.

You execute it masterfully but… something changed.  The market shifted.  Or a huge opportunity showed up. Or a pandemic hit.  Since you were so focused on your 3-year plan, you couldn’t change course when you needed to.

Creating an agile strategic thinking and execution planning process helps you build a more resilient business that can shift and adapt as needed.

Instead of the big, heavy binder, agile planning processes render your strategic thinking down into a single (often poster-sized) page:

  • EOS: this is your VTO (VT Organizer)
  • Scaling Up: it’s your One-Page Plan
  • 7 Attributes of Agile Growth: Agile Growth Roadmap

Execution plans can be built into your existing project management tools to help organize and maintain accountability.

Photo of Jack Welch with quote "Strategy is not a lengthy action plan. It is the evolution of a central idea through continually changing circumstances."

Why a Business Coach is key for Successful Strategy + Execution Planning

While many leaders will facilitate their own strategic planning sessions, it’s extremely hard to be the facilitator and be involved in the meeting.  Creating a safe space where every voice is heard, the brutal facts examined, great ideas surfaced and guiding the planning process is a full-time job by itself.

You’ll generally find three types of help you can get in your strategic planning process:

  1. Facilitator – These people help run the planning meeting, but you generally don’t see them again until next time.
  2. Strategic Consultant – Consultants run the meetings, usually write up your plans, and often are involved in the execution of the initiatives.
  3. Business Coach – Business coaches act as guides, facilitating your meetings and walking you through the process of building a solid plan and more resilient business.  Often, they will work as an executive coach or accountability coach AND with your leadership team, helping drive the execution of your plan and overcoming the inevitable roadblocks that will show up.

If you’re ready to start the journey to achieving your company’s long-term goals, then start by reframing strategic planning.  Instead of creating a heavy plan that nobody will ever use, create the habit of strategic thinking and execution planning so your leadership team can build their living, Agile Growth Roadmap™ and the disciplines needed to create a resilient, healthy, lasting business.

When you’re ready, coach Mike Knapp is here to help. Contact him today to learn how you can reframe your strategic plan.

Mike Knapp


Mike has been helping businesses achieve their goals for more than 20 years. He believes there is a better way for business owners and leaders to build their businesses and achieve their big goals. As a Gravitas Impact Premium coach, he leverages the 7 Attributes of Agile Growth™ to simplify the art of strategy and discipline of execution.

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