If someone were to ask “are you a good strategic planner”, how would you respond?
Most safety specialists think they have prepared a strategic plan for their business, but interestingly very few have. Let me explain.
All too often the end product of present-day strategic planning activities is a five-year plan, which is based on stable assumptions e.g. that past trends will continue in a similar way.
Therefore nothing new happens as a result of the plan, and it collects dust. The test of good strategic planning is not the presence of a large document looking at current and future conditions and services, threats and opportunities, or 5-year forecasts of resourcing needs and financial outcomes.
How will I know if it is a Strategic Plan?
If there are few or no strategic decisions to be taken, then it is likely the document is a 5-year budget & timetable and not a strategic plan.
So what is strategic planning? According to the famous business consulting firm McKinsey & Company, strategic planning is essentially about making strategic decisions now – to improve future performance!
Therefore, most organisations in reality appear to be “planning non-strategically” or “strategically not planning”. What is your organisation doing?
Good strategic plans invariably include a series of decisions which impact on fundamental, difficult and often controversial issues facing the business. Therefore, key personnel from executive management and the Board need to be actively involved in the process.
A safety team or indeed any department cannot produce an effective strategic plan in isolation.