“We have a strategic plan. Why aren’t we getting traction?” It’s a lament as old as strategic planning itself. The answer is often pretty simple: You’re not achieving the success your plan was intended to create because the plan is missing one of three key elements.
In some instances, it’s because the organization created carefully thought-out, even beautifully-phrased strategies, but didn’t include a roadmap for translating those ideas into action. Strategic vision is important, but vision alone won’t take your organization where it wants to go. For other organizations, their plans are all about action—they keep the activity wheel turning, often successfully generating outputs, but struggle to prove their impact. Activity is important, but activity without strategic intention—without a clearly defined “why”—limits your organization’s potential and capacity for success.
So yes, we know, and research confirms, that the most effective strategic plans incorporate both high level strategies and operational tactics. However, we also know you can create brilliant strategies and inspired operational tactics and still not be fully successful in the execution of your plan. Why? Because of the third, frequently overlooked component of strategic planning: culture.
The most successful organizations understand their internal organizational culture, the culture of the community in which they operate, the culture of the people they serve and the culture of partners with whom they collaborate, are all “at the table” during strategic planning. And these successful organizations actively incorporate that awareness into their strategic decision-making.
For more than 20 years, IBW has worked hand-in-hand with organizations of all sizes and in multiple sectors to create integrated, holistic strategic plans. We clarify strategic direction, build the tactics to advance that direction, and actively address culture in all aspects of the planning process, from information gathering to policies and practices to guide plan implementation and oversight. We are committed to this approach, aligning strategy, tactics, and culture, because we seek to give our clients an edge, positioning them for long term sustainability, success, and excellence.