Strategic Planning: Why not now? September 3, 2009 RICCentre By Ken Sweeney Post Labour Day can be a great time for strategic planning as children are back to school and employees are back from summer holidays. With four months remaining in the calendar year and with hopes of a better economic picture in 2010, now is the time to engage management and get your company focused on the task at hand. But what are the tasks at hand and what are the tactics required for execution? Step 1: Ownership needs to be committed to the planning. Without this, planning becomes a useless exercise. Next, determine who else needs to be involved in the process to establish buy-in and to aid with execution. Step 2: Schedule time (and plenty of it!) and a place. I recommend getting out of the office to an alternate private location – without BlackBerries, in order to keep everyone focused. This may also allow the opportunity for team building, such as dinner or a golf game afterwards, which is never a bad idea to keep employees motivated! Step 3: Develop a game plan! This includes a detailed agenda highlighting the areas on which management would like to focus. These areas may include: business development macro environment impacts/opportunities human and capital resources operational challenges and solutions Ownership is looking to scope out its overall objectives for the coming period with the tactics to support the execution of those goals. Note: agendas should always be e-mailed out at least two days in advance as this gives the attendees a chance to digest and reflect upon the topics! Step 4: Record the minutes and assign tasks! All key points and action items should be recorded into a concise document. This document should be sent out to all stakeholders in a timely fashion as it becomes the road map for the company over the established period of time. Benefits will include measurement of progress and success and buy-in and accountability from management. Remember, there is never a bad time to step back and revisit your strategy so post Labour Day is as good a time as any!