Strategic. Planning. One of those wonderful twin-star ideas that almost everybody thinks is a great idea, but few actually do, and even fewer do very well. In a slower-paced world, a generation or two ago, a strategic planning retreat once a year was seen as plenty. Maybe even a 2-year, or 5-year, Strategic Plan. No more. If it’s not part of your firm’s semi-annual, or quarterly, assessment/re-direction process, you are very likely to be disadvantaged.
Perhaps the most important component of top-flight Strategic Planning is to ensure that someone other than the firm’s leaders facilitates the process. Many savvy larger practices appoint external directors primarily to provide this external viewpoint for such a mission-critical part of practice success.
Strategic Planning, Done Right
The beauty of strategic planning is its elegant framework for helping people to think through a worthwhile company direction, and then to purposefully make it real. – Ellen Flynn Heapes
Ellen Flynn Heapes, Founder of The Centre for Strategic Planning, prepared a chapter in Managing Quality in Architecture (2nd ed.) entitled Achieving a Strategic ‘Strategic Plan’. Her short chapter outlines the five “catalytic decisions” that a practice must make to ensure it creates (or updates) an effective strategic plan. They are, simply, The Why, The Who, The Where, The What, and The How.
You can read Ellen’s complete paper explaining these decision steps here.