If you created a Strategic Plan a year ago, two years ago, or more, you may be wondering…is that worth looking at right now?

During a time when so much is changing so fast and a lot of the things that you had been planning to do are no longer possible, it may feel futile to look at plans you made years ago. 

However, I think it’s worth a look.

What part of your strategic plan is still relevant during this crisis?

I have found that you can think about a strategic plan as being both something that keeps you grounded and rooted, as well as something that helps you figure out how to stretch yourself. I find that when strategic planning is most useful is when there is a lot of change.

My dad is an engineer and he instructed me on the importance of always going back to first principles. In this case, that is the vision, the mission, and the values. Your organizational vision, mission, and values are the things that are meant to root you and keep you grounded in who you are, why you exist, what your big picture purpose is. Those first principles can be incredibly helpful during times like this when everything else is changing so fast.

If you have a team, I recommend taking part in your next team meeting to review your vision, mission, and values. What comes to mind as you do so? Do your values offer you new insights during this crisis? 

For example, imagine one of your values is to listen to the clients or customers you serve. During this crisis, you probably have had an urge to react to the news and changing needs by trying to come up with ways you can be helpful. Have you also taken the time to listen to your clients and customers? Asking what they need or how they are doing before you provide solutions?

Recently I worked with a team on their strategic plan. One of the employees mentioned that they had pulled up our draft when the crisis first hit. He found it helpful to revisit the values statements and remind himself why they do what they do. It really helped him when speaking to their clients.

What part of your strategic plan needs to change right now?

The vision, mission, and values answer the questions of WHY and WHAT. For most organizations, those are foundational and do not change, even during times of crisis. However, your goals and objectives answer the question of HOW. When you first determined your goals and objectives, you would have done some form of situational analysis. You may have done a SWOT analysis or looked at customer surveys. You may have looked at trends, competitors, internal and external data.

The situation has changed. The external landscape and all of the factors that affect HOW you do business have probably changed. Therefore, it is time to reassess your goals, objectives, and anything related to HOW and HOW MUCH in your organization.  

The way that you operationalize your big picture mission has to change based on those external factors related to the current funding, related to the current technology that you’re using, the logistics of how and when you can meet with people, etc. 

Hopefully, that gives you a little bit of an idea of how to use your strategic plan when you’re in a time of rapid change like we are right now. If you have a question or example, feel free to share it in the comments. If you want help facilitating a conversation with your team about updating your strategic plan, contact me using the contact tab at the top of the page.