- Strategic planning is about leadership and setting direction—There is an interesting saying with respect to this that the manager ensures that you do things right, and the leader ensures that you do the right things. The strategic plan, including the vision, mission, and value statements are about leadership establishing and communicating what the ‘right thing’ is. An effective metaphor for this is that the manager ensures that you climb the ladder, but the leader ensures that the ladder is up against the “right” wall.
- Strategic planning goals, objectives, and initiatives have to be aligned and actionable —that means that you need to set the strategic plan elements at an appropriate level of detail and in cascading fashion. One way to do this is to navigate up and down between goal, objectives, and initiatives in the following way: To navigate to a higher elements of the plan hierarchy, ask why. Why do we do XYZ? To navigate to lower levels of detail and specificity, ask how. How do or will we do XYZ.
Together, these two guidelines help to develop an IT strategic plan that is both effective in terms of goal setting and organizational focus as well as at the appropriate levels of detail and alignment to be truly actionable.