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  • Writer's pictureTerry Dockery


Strategic planning is a blast! It’s always exhilarating to sit in a roomful of talented and motivated leaders and talk about how to have more fun, make more money, and do more good! In my book, if you’ve created any successful organization that provides a valuable service to folks, then you’ve made the world a better place.

Below are some of the essential questions that need to be answered to have an effective strategic plan. The order in which the questions are answered can vary depending upon the current goals of the leader of the organization.

  • Is your current business model the best one for the future?

o How will political, economic, demographic, technological, and regulatory trends affect your organization in the future?

o How will your major competitors respond to these future trends?

  • What is your future vision for your organization?

o Who are your customers/clients?

o What products and services will you offer?

o What geographical coverage will you offer?

o What is your standard of achievement (e.g., growth, profit, market share)?

  • How will you know if you are achieving your vision?

o What will you measure to gauge your success (e.g. financial performance, customer/client satisfaction, employee satisfaction, performance versus competitors)?

o Who is in charge of providing these measures and how often will you check them?

  • What are the core values that will guide your efforts to achieve your vision?

o Is it okay for your most profitable salesperson to be having an affair with his/her assistant?

o Is it more important to “suck up” to the boss (good political skills) or to challenge him/her on faulty decision making (good innovation


  • What are the greatest obstacles that you face in achieving your vision?

o What are your current strengths and weaknesses?

o What is the gap between your current state and future vision state and how will you close that gap?

  • What are the highest priority short term goals on the path to achieving your vision?

o What intermediate objectives need to be accomplished, and by when, to achieve your vision?

o How will you distribute your financial and human capital to insure that you achieve these objectives and your vision?


Technique #1: Work from big picture to detailed, thereby avoiding the “arranging deck chairs on the Titanic” syndrome.

Technique #2: Insure that accountability for all strategic planning functions and initiatives is clear—if everyone is accountable, then no one is accountable.

Technique #3: Revisit your strategic plan 2-4 times a year—the world is changing too fast for a once-a-year strategic planning meeting.

Copyright Terry "Doc" Dockery, Ph.D. All rights reserved.

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