With the Fall Upon Us, It’s Time to Start Thinking About Next Year’s Strategic Plan

Michael Gidlewski

By Michael Gidlewski

It’s September. The kids are back in school. Fall is here. Football season is in full swing.

And CEOs and other business leaders are turning their attention to next year’s strategic plan.

Strategic plans are critical: They define who we are, where we are going, and how we plan to get there. Try limiting your strategic plan to one page.


A complex, multi-page document or deck is unlikely to be read or understood by everyone in your company. It’s also unlikely to be looked at frequently. It’s not just a management cliché, but a one-page unifying document can literally “get everyone on the same page.”

The one-page strategic plan should be shared with every employee and kept visible in a place where it’s seen on a daily basis.

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Without a disciplined decision-making framework to force you to think strategically and make clear choices, the default tendency for many organizations is to make financial forecasts and lists of everything they want to do, bundle it into a multi-page document with a series of spreadsheets, and call it a strategic plan.

A list of things to do is not a strategy. Such lists usually grow out of planning meetings in which a variety of stakeholders suggest things they would like to see accomplished. Rather than focus on a few important strategic moves, the group sweeps the whole day’s collection into a document they erroneously call a strategic plan.

That’s fine up to a point, and some strategic planning methodologies begin and end here. But there are serious gaps this approach. While it’s true that any plan is better than none, there’s really not a lot of what I would consider actual “strategy” contained in a plan like this.

A winning strategy requires careful analysis, a thorough understanding of how your industry is likely to play out, and extreme clarity on the few, pivotal strategic moves your company needs to make in order to position yourself for future success. That’s not a to-do list. That’s a strategy.

Most companies attempt to take on far too many initiatives. Strategy requires trade-off. You cannot do everything you want to do. You cannot be everything to everybody. You cannot just blindly copy the moves of your competitors and hope to win. You have to figure out what to say “YES” to, and what to say “NO” to. You must make clear cut choices about how you will compete in the future, and then allocate your time and resources accordingly.

Here at Achievement Unlimited, clients often tell us that the greatest value we deliver is strategic support. And that their biggest challenge is keeping everyone strategically aligned.

We’ve found the perfect way to keep the strategic value we deliver alive in your business. It’s called Results, and it’s a business management platform. Results is like using social media to manage people. It holds your strategy, maps it to goals, facilitates your meetings, and enables collaboration via text.

Your managers will love it. Your team will align around it. And you get visibility into every department in ways that have never been possible before.

That’s why we at Achievement Unlimited have partnered with Results. You should get Results in place as part of your year-end strategic review. Click here to access The Strategic Planning SpringBoard, which will enable you to leap clear of planning obstacles.


Michael Gidlewski is President of West Chester-based Achievement Unlimited and a certified consulting partner with Results.com, as well as a growth catalyst and motivational speaker. He works with motivated business owners and entrepreneurs to clearly define the elements of what they dearly want their lives to look like, then helps them connect all the moving parts that make up those visions to consistent action and habits. Michael can be reached at 610-793-6609 or via e-mail at michael@achievable.com.

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