Kickfannie InsideStrategy

by Coach Kathy Wilson, Change Strategist


How do you create a strategic plan that will actually work? People ask me that all the time, seeking tidbits that will give them a leg up as they consider going through their own strategic planning process. So I am going to lay out an overview of the process here in a five-part series that should, if I have done my job, help you to understand how to begin creating and executing your own kick-ass (or Kick-fannie, if you prefer) plan. If you want more detail, you can purchase The Strategic Planning Playbook Quick Guide on this site which lays the process out in even more detail. However you choose to proceed, the bottom line is you need a strategic plan. Strategic planning is about the little things before the big things. Some think of a strategic plan as nothing more than a brainstorming session where you decide, and get on paper, what initiatives you’re going to implement for the year. They would be wrong. In Part 1, Preparing to Plan, we’re going to look at the set-up process and we’re also going to get very clear on what a strategic plan is and how it differs from a business plan.

First for a clarification… A strategic plan is not a business plan. A business plan covers the ‘who’ and ‘what’ of your business. It covers what your product or service will be, how your business will operate, if and how you will be incorporated, where you will do business, who your principals are and why they are qualified to be a part of the business, how much staff you will employ, and then your target market, marketplace, major competition and at a very high level your marketing and financial projections. On the other hand, a strategic plan covers the ‘where’ and ‘how’ of the business - where your business is going and how it will get there (incrementally). A strategic plan takes the business plan and makes it actionable, and it helps you prioritize how your company will become the business outlined in the business plan. It covers what initiatives will be undertaken yearly, who will be responsible, what resources are necessary, and it delves deeper into the marketing and financial strategies So, now that you know the difference between a business plan and a strategic plan it’s time to look at how you prepare for the strategic planning process.

There are a few things you must consider and do before you ever sit down to start your strategic planning process to prepare for success. Some of these things are for strategic planning teams, and others are equally as important for teams or solopreneurs. Among these are: • Why are you planning? Typical reasons are growth or a change in direction. Your old plan could have been executed or out of date. You are considering new product and service offerings. • What type of plan are you creating? Is it a one-year, three-year or five-year plan? • Who will be at the table? Who is your strategic planning team? Are you going to engage others in the process for feedback and idea generating? Is your company going to hire an outside facilitator? • How long are you going to be engaged in the process? You have to give yourself a completing deadline. • Logistics and materials? If you are going to work off-site, make sure you secure a location that meets all of your needs and can accommodate your group. Also make sure you have all the materials you will need (notepads, pens, flip charts, markers, etc.) • Surveys and pre-work? Will you be surveying your employees or customers? Surveys are a great way to get feedback on how others view the business. Additionally, are you going to assign any pre-work for yourself or your team? Industry research, a “future-vision” activity, or related books are some great ways to prepare to plan and stimulate creative thinking.

Preparation is vital to success. The above is a sample of some of the things you need to do in order to lay the foundation for successful planning. In Part 2, Landscape Assessment, we will examine some of the things that get in the way of successful planning and also look at how to evaluate where your business is now and its strengths and weaknesses.

If you’re ready to start your strategic planning process, you can pick up my guide, ‘The Strategic Planning Playbook, A Breakthrough Game Plan for Successful Strategic Planning’ here.


About the Contributor

Kathy, a former collegiate and professional basketball player and coach, is a speaker, author and change strategist in the Washington, DC area. Balancing the lessons she learned on the basketball court with her experience as an organizational training & development expert, Kathy brings a unique perspective on how to break through unconscious barriers in order to create positive and lasting change.

Kathy holds a BA in Communications from the University of North Carolina @ Chapel Hill, as well as a Graduate Certificate in Leadership Coaching and a Masters in Organizational Management from The George Washington University. For ten years Kathy has worked with a wide range of clients ranging from Fortune 100 companies to public organizations including, The Securities and Exchange Commission, The Congressional Black Caucus, Vanderbilt University, Mary Washington Healthcare and Morgan Stanley empowering individuals to transform the way they work and live.

For additional information on Kathy Wilson check out her website at