A client asked me this morning to review and comment on his organization’s strategic plan template. A template? Wait, what? After a bit of (polite) questioning, I learned that this client's organization director is asking several sub-units to draft strategic plans. Once completed, these plans will be rolled up into a master strategic plan.
I wanted to respond with something helpful but the thoughts racing through my mind went something like... "You can’t template a strategic plan. I mean, sure, there are a handful of broad headers that you could type up but to what end? Creating a template would exacerbate one of the biggest problems with our typical approaches to strategic planning. And that problem is more focus on the end document than the process of discovery, team building, creative thinking, and cross-discipline input.
Back to my client... he elaborated that he was looking for some thought-provoking questions to include in an annotated outline. The outline would be the basis of a strategic planning meeting agenda and would be during the session to facilitate discussion. Sigh. Ok, that makes sense. Based on his request, I jotted down some basic strategic planning guidelines and the kind of questions you should be asking of your team.