How To Write Your Strategy Plan

Originally published on One Uproar

In my series on strategy, I’ve talked about how to formulate a strategy and how to set goals and objectives. Now, let’s talk about how to write that plan. Every company has a different way of creating and communicating plans. Some companies like PowerPoint presentations, while others prefer a detailed document and some opt for a shorter version. Do what works in your environment.

Personally, I like the longer plan with a shorter version for your executive team. Depending on your audience your short version can be one page. The one page style works well as you start to socialize the plan. Whether you’re working with external or internal stakeholders the one-pager is a teaser to the larger, detailed plan. It also shows you are being respectful of someone’s time. Always remember, no one is as interested in your strategy or plan as you are. Executives will appreciate the fact that you’re able to communicate concisely and quickly.

How to write the plan

Writing a plan is daunting so the best way to start is to draft an outline. Think about the core parts of your plan and start there. I’m not a fan of writing a long-winded plan. I like the executive summary to be written traditionally and then the remaining parts of the plan in bullets, lists and tables with short summaries. 
Key parts of a plan

1. Executive Summary – Anyone should be able to read your executive summary and understand the core parts to your plan.

2. Previous Year Recap – Illustrating a recap of your previous years’ successes explains what you’ve done and lays groundwork for future plans.

3. Goals and Objectives – Remember those goals and objectives? You should summarize and relate to strategy and tactics. This demonstrates that you’re thinking ahead. I like David Sacks approach, C.E.O of Yammer, (MORPH—Mission, Objectives, Results, People, How).

4. Strategies and Themes – Articulate your strategies and try to assign themes if possible. This will make it easier to consume and understand.

5. Tactics – Tactics can be written in a table or list. Assigning priority and a high-level budget is an excellent way to show what you’re doing and how much it’s going to cost.

6. Budget – Everyone wants a detailed budget so there’s no way to avoid formulating. You can attach as a separate sheet or refer to in your appendix.

7. Appendix –If you conducted market research or have any other details you want people to reference the appendix is the best way to include. This gives people the option of consuming and shows you did your homework.

Allow yourself time to write the plan. A day or a week will not suffice. The best executives and leaders do hire consultants or experts to help them formulate their plan. My next post, which concludes this series, will talk about how to be nimble in your planning given our fast and ever-changing environment.