The Fall and Rise of Strategic Planning

Strategic planning refers to the choices an organization makes about how best to fulfill its mission and realize its vision.

To be successful, an organization must have a powerful mission, a clear vision for the future it seeks to create, sound values and effective programs. In order to be sustainable, every organization – no matter how successful it is – must regularly examine and adjust its goals and objectives by way of a comprehensive strategic planning process.

Strategic planning first arrived on the scene in the mid-1960s and was widely adopted by nonprofits in the 1980s – just as it began to fall from grace in the private sector. Companies shifted away from comprehensive strategic planning for many reasons. Some found the process too time and resource consuming. Others felt that traditional multi-year strategic plans failed in the face of a rapidly evolving marketplace.

Over the course of the last decade or so, strategic planning has undergone a resurgence, with new and highly innovative approaches embraced by many of our most successful institutions. These new methodologies break from the past in their emphasis on vision, their focus instead on strategic thinking and recognition that planning is an ongoing process that never ends.

This article authored for the Washington DC Business Journal (and reprinted in the Nashville edition) explores these new approaches and shares how business has adapted the process in light of the recent downturn in the economy.

Bottom line: successful organization in both the for profit and nonprofit sectors are relying on these new approaches to strategic planning more than ever before.