Don't Confine Strategic Planning to the C-Suite

Joel Trammell

Posted by Joel Trammell
September 29, 2017

This post originally appeared as a Quora answer.


The CEO will always retain final responsibility for leading the strategic planning process. But increasingly, knowledge workers throughout the organization must be aware of their company’s strategic plan if you expect them to make good decisions.

That includes everyone, including the frontline.

Sadly, it’s currently estimated that 95% of employees don’t know what their company’s strategy is. The wouldn’t be a problem if your whole company was just an assembly line. But this is the knowledge economy, where employee create value through capturing opportunities on their own and exercising their creativity.

Strategic planning of the future must account for this. A few guidelines that I think are important for executives to remember:

1. Let everyone know what the strategy is—everyone.

Even if you don’t think it’s immediately relevant to their job. The CEO should communicate strategy to the whole company, and reinforce it regularly.

2. Break down the strategic plan to quarterly chunks. 

Annual planning is fine, but it should be supplemented with concrete 90-day strategic goals at the company, department, and team levels. This is what I call the playbook. It should include the whole team, and show them how they’re a part of the overall strategic plan.

3. Pinpoint examples of employees who are executing the strategy.

Look for cases where an employee at any level has made a decision or delivered an outcome that aligns with the strategic plan. Champion that person and their work. Show the workforce that you value actually living the plan. It needs to be more than just a piece of paper.

Bottom line: If strategic planning is confined to the C-suite, you’re following an old paradigm that keeps employees in the dark and won’t create breakthrough performance.

Download our strategic planning guide here.

Joel Trammell

Joel Trammell

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