A strategic plan sets the foundation for a business’ direction. It can be a lengthy document that includes a vision or mission statement, spells out core values and typically sets yearly objectives and long-term goals.

Designing or altering a strategic plan can be just as crucial as choosing the proper business entity, securing financing, drafting contracts and finding efficient tax structures.

Make the commitment

When companies – especially those experiencing substantial growth – decide to implement transformational changes, it can be a long journey. Leaders should first examine all the potential effects for their people, culture, systems and processes. Here are five keys for success:

  • Be realistic and consistent: Changing a strategic plan requires a practical assessment of a company’s resources and avoiding mixed messages in implementing the plan. If “change” is the priority today but is replaced next week by another issue, employees will likely not take it seriously.
  • Replace “planning” with “process”: Putting a process in place to execute change gives employees structure, explaining not only what is changing, but also how the change will happen and how their efforts will be measured.
  • Give employees the ability to succeed: Communicating the vision for change is vital but giving workers the proper tools is even more critical. This means providing and aligning equipment, training, coaching, support and value for the work that’s accomplished.
  • Build the right team: Without proper motivation, most people are resistant to change. Along with giving long-term workers the tools to execute the transformation, recruit and hire new employees who have a growth mindset, and re-evaluate recruitment and training processes regularly.
  • Lead by example: An owner or supervisor who is easily distracted, inaccessible or unable to make timely decisions can derail change initiatives. Their actions and commitment to the team and the new order must be consistent and obvious.

Keep your eye on the prize

There are no guarantees for success. Creating or changing a strategic plan requires the same dedication to detail and a laser-like focus as was needed during formal business formation. How you proceed is up to you, but the odds for achievement greatly increase with the right team, the necessary engagement and the commitment to the process.