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I don't know if it's a revelation or simply the fact that I'm through with my heavy workload time of the year... but I had  good thoughts and conversations today. 

As an Enterprise Architect, part of my job is facilitating strategies.   Until now, I've sought the right outlines, formats, etc to communicate strategies.   Over the past 2 years I've facilitated multiple strategies, but executive leadership keeps asking for plans.  

I've always taken their requests for plans as a negative, thinking that we missed the mark on our strategy.  Today, I realized that we've been going about things the right way all along.   A strategic plan can be executed and is what matters in the end.  However, you must first define a strategy so that people are willing to listen to a strategic plan.   The fact that people are now asking for strategic plans means we've succeeded in communicating the strategy.

Now my challenge is to get people to understand that annual strategic plans, strategies, and strategic plans are each different and necessary.  Annual strategic plans are long term (3-5) years and are re-visited each year.  Strategies address gaps or drill in on specific parts of your annual strategic plan. Both annual strategic plans and strategies should be technology agnostic.  Strategic plans are technology specific and define "how" you will execute on a strategy. 

The point is... you can't define a strategic plan without first defining the strategy, and if the strategy is well thought out, it should also tie to annual strategic plan.  Hopefully this makes sense and brings clarity to the Strategic Planning process. 

Note: If this post was interesting for you, I suggest you review "Four Fatal Flaws of Strategic Planning" posted by Ed Borrows on HarvardBusiness.org.   I believe I'm running into the dreaded mistake #3 "Failing to Link Strategic Planning with Strategic Execution".

Posted on Tuesday, March 31, 2009 5:22 PM Architecture | Back to top


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