This COO reflects on the positive impact he experienced as a result of developing a strategic plan for his organization with the help of Gagnon Associates’ strategic planning consulting services:
During the first quarter of 2003, Trout Unlimited engaged the services of Gagnon Associates to lead us through a team-based Strategic Planning Process. After two years of working with this plan the results of the plan are compelling, and I’m pleased to summarize these in this letter.
First of all, I should say that we had crafted strategic plans in the past but nothing like this current one. This plan was concrete about deliverables, owners and timetables. It was also developed with complete organizational buy-in that was channeled into the actual planning process.
This plan, plus the quarterly review sessions we conducted subsequent to creating the plan, kept us focused on the quantitative targets we set for ourselves. If it didn’t look as though we were going to hit the numbers, we made adjustments to operations, pulled back in some areas, and took risks in others all with the goal of hitting our targets. The plan set high hurdles and even with missing a few targets we still generated record revenues. Our core business has been up 22% year to year—as planned.
Because the Plan was created by an inclusive group of stakeholders, initial group buy-in was unusually strong. In addition, the change in culture that was driven by the fact that the Plan held specific individuals accountable for targets and dates associated with it created a greater sense of focus throughout the organization. Moreover, it made annual work plan reviews easier, since much of that work was already built into the Strategic Plan.
It is no exaggeration to say that this Strategic Plan has changed the already strong culture of our organization for the better.