Does this sound familiar – You and your management team went away for a week to plan your company’s long-term strategy. When you returned, the excitement carried over. But as the days went on, you and your team got stuck more and more in the weeds and became less focused on the big picture. You are now halfway through your planning horizon, and you think you have a general idea of how you’re doing in relation to your strategy. But do you really? Just like hitting the refresh button in your browser to see the updated information, sometimes it is necessary to hit the refresh on your strategy.
If you are no longer completely confident in your strategic plan’s progress, don’t fear! You don’t need to ditch the plan, start from scratch and develop a new plan. You can and should regularly hit refresh on your strategy instead. As a best practice, try doing this at least once a year until it’s time to develop your next full strategy plan.
Strategy Refresh Sessions
A strategy refresh session is different from strategy development sessions. Your strategy development process may have been top-down, with limited input from people outside the executive level. The development of the strategic plan also starts with a review of the mission and vision and leads to the development of plans, actions, and tactics to achieve the plan. In other words, it is a top-down process.
A strategy refresh by design should be just the opposite. It needs to be bottom-up, including a large group of strategic doers who start by reviewing how their plans and actions work towards the accomplishment of the strategic goals. The work should build up to and conclude at the highest levels of the plan – the Vision, Critical Success Factors, and Key Performance Indicators.
The following are my recommendations on how to successfully do a strategy refresh: