Strategic Planning

I am about to embark on developing a four-year Strategic Plan for a company. We have six months to complete it, and my intention is to provide a monthly update on the process as a means of sharing insights and ideas on how to write an effective and powerful Strategic Plan.

In this first instalment, I’m going to focus on three key areas to get started:

  1. Define the objective of the Strategic Plan
  2. Determine key stakeholders needed to shape the plan and provide key inputs.
  3. Establish a timeline to outline the key steps and diarise for key stakeholders.

The Objective

Every company’s reason for writing a Strategic Plan is slightly different.

In broad terms, Strategic Plans help keep a company on track towards its desired goals. It should provide a thought-out means of achieving those goals, embedded in actions and measures. It’s that moment to stop the day-to-day grind of delivery and business-as-usual and considers how a business might thrive. It’s an opportunity to re-evaluate values. What’s on the horizon that you might not be thinking about? Do you have the resources and the team you need to succeed? What does success look like for your business, and how do you get there?

For the company where I work, our Strategic Plan is a key mechanism for securing funding from government. As Co-CEO, I also want to align the team and Board on our future direction. We have some big challenges ahead and I want us all singing from the same songbook. This should be embedded in our governance and day-to-day management but the Strategic Plan as an opportunity to galvanise the team and do some business spring cleaning. We’re all a bit exhausted after three years of this pandemic so it’s a good time to re-evaluate our programs and where we put our effort for the best return, given our limited resources.

In its simplest form, this Strategic Plan will aim to secure funding and get ‘buy-in’ from all levels of the company in its future direction. The net result will be we know where we’re going and each person in the team knows what they’re doing to help us get there.


With the objective more clearly defined, the company’s primary stakeholders in writing the Strategic Plan become obvious: funding bodies, Board, staff. Staff will provide on-the-ground knowledge of what’s working and what’s not working, where are the blockages and the opportunities. The Board will work at a higher level to determine what mountain or mountains we wish to climb. And funding bodies will determine the parameters. How do our company’s outcomes and impacts align to their vision and goals.

Other stakeholders will be artists and audiences. A litmus test on their ambitions, tastes, changes in behaviour, challenges – should feed into the process. This might be best facilitated by focus groups or surveys.

But most critical to this process – my most vital stakeholder – will be my Co-CEO. Together we will need to share the vision and the writing and proofing. We have two distinct roles in the company: I’m responsible for the business, they are responsible for the art. But the two are inextricably linked. The success of this marriage is central to a compelling and viable Strategic Plan.


Six months is not a long time to write a Strategic Plan, particularly given it is done while continuing to operate as a business. Fortunately, some key dates are already locked in: a Strategy session with the Board to kick off the process, followed by a staff retreat. Both should allow us to lay the groundwork for what we need to achieve, and people’s respective roles.

I find it helpful to think of the writing of the Strategic Plan in phases, not dissimilar to a creative process.

So, off I go! I hope you stay with me on the journey. Next instalment I will provide a detailed timeline, and the steps involved in delivering on Phase 1.

If you have a particular situation you would like to discuss, please get in touch.

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