Some companies feel they don’t need a new strategy because they are growing as fast as they want to. Company leaders who are drowning in day-to-day emergencies often don’t think they need to take the time to re-evaluate their core strategy. Others may believe re-evaluating strategy is a waste of time if things are going well.

But choosing to stay with last year’s (or older) strategy can carry a lot of potential risks. Things might be good this year, but what about next year and the year after? Failure to regularly test and update a company’s strategy can invite disaster.

If your strategy is more than a year old, it is more than likely based on out-of-date information and assumptions. It will also represent last year’s thinking as well. With recent supply chain issues, staffing shortages, and the threat of more inflation, not regularly reviewing one’s strategic direction can lead to slow growth or even worse.

Typically, strategic planning must have its own place on the calendar, separate from operational planning. Leaders should collect, research, discuss, clarify and select the significant initiatives before the annual operational planning process begins. Quality strategic decisions must be made, then and only then, followed by quality operational planning to implement them.

However, it is never too late in the year to define and implement a new strategy statement. You can begin any time of year, not just in January. Create the first quarter or first half operating plan, then kick off a robust strategic planning process later in the spring, targeting implementation at the start of Q2 or Q3.

Looking for help with your strategic direction, or hints on how you can shorten the planning process?

Better late than never!