Most of us are familiar with expiry dates, ranging from our driver’s license, medications, and food products that have a “Best Before” expiration date.
Strategic plans also have an expiry or Best Before Date. Most are developed for a 3-5 year period. Time limited plans help to focus on what needs to be done within a specific window of time to make progress, yet not so far into the future that the proposed actions are fictitious.
What are the Dangers of an Expired Strategic Plan?
1 . Loss of Potency
Just as some drugs lose potency over time and become less effective at treating the intended condition, so too can strategic plans that are past their expiry date tend to loose their effectiveness. It is vital to review what has been accomplished towards the plan, update the plan to revitalize the potency of the plan.
2. No Longer Appropriate
Experts tell us that saving expired medications is a bad practice. Just as medical conditions may change over time, making certain medicines inappropriate for you, the environment in which your organization/community exists and your organization’s current situation are likely to make some of your goals no longer relevant. It essential to update both the external future trends likely to impact your organization and the internal current state to determine how to close the gaps between where you want to be and currently are.
3. No Longer Fresh
Food labels indicate at “Best if used by Date” that means that the flavor or the quality of the product is adversely affected after this date. In a similar way, a strategic plan needs to be updated yearly to maintain its freshness, vitality and focus as a roadmap towards your desired future.
4. Waiting Until Breakdown
Some organizations drift and wait until breakdown to update its strategic plan. They are like vehicle owners who ignore regular maintenance, only servicing their vehicle when it is malfunctioning. By not regularly reviewing and updating its strategic plan an organization risks strategic breakdown on the way to their goals and desired future.
Reviewing and refreshing your strategic plan it is vital to:
- Identify future environment trends likely to impact your organization so that you can proactively take advantage of opportunities and minimize threats
- Renew your organization’s mission, vision and values
- Assess progress towards your goals and priority actions
- Update your key performance indicators and targets/goals for the coming planning cycle and year
- Update your strategies/objectives to close the gaps between where you want to be and are today
- Keep your plan agile, responsive so that you can quickly address issues and opportunities that emerge
Leaders/Managers have 2 jobs – to take care of today’s business and plan for the future!
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