Management, Strategy, Strategy and planning, Leadership, Management & leadership, Trustees

Business and Strategic Planning - aiming for success: five steps

Uday Thakkar, DSC Associate, provides five steps for planning for success.

There is a surprising statistic. 90% of organisations never deliver the strategy that they have agreed.

If we behaved the same way with our lives, where would we be? Imagine planning a holiday and then never getting around to it!

There are many reasons why organisations don’t implement strategy. A common excuse is “Life gets in the way” – we are all so busy that strategy gets parked, to be executed when we have time. But we never have time because we are too busy surviving. We are struggling to survive because we are living day to day rather than working to a long-term plan that allows us to fulfil our purpose.

Another fatal error is that the business plan (the delivery manual for the strategy) gets too complicated. Nobody understands how this can be used to deliver the strategy. Inevitably after a strategy away day, someone is tasked with the creation of a business plan – the road map to strategy delivery. Guess what happens. Madness takes over. Organisations fill the document with useless information. Why? There is a false belief that the weightier the document, the more it shows we are a serious organisation.

Successful organisations create simple strategies, review them regularly and create practical yet flexible models to execute the strategy. It’s essential that organisations understand, support and communicate the required actions well.

There are several steps that will ensure you create the right pathway to success.


  • Create a vision that aligns with your charitable objects
  • The vision is your dream of a positive future for the beneficiaries you serve
  • The vision statement is emotionally engaging, simple and easy to repeat


  • Develop a strategy that ensures that you can deliver your vision
  • The deliverables of the strategy are your strategic objectives
  • Agree the resources and time required to create the action plans that will allow you to deliver the strategic objectives
  • Agree what you will be measuring and when – that will allow you to know that you are going in the right direction


  • Continuously scan the outside
  • What are the changing requirements of your beneficiaries?
  • What else is changing?
  • How will this affect you?
  • What are others doing?
  • What opportunities are there?


  • Create a delivery model that understands what needs to be done, with what resources and by when
  • Ensure that your team fully understand and support this
  • Create a culture that nurtures experimentation and tolerates failure

Create a road map – otherwise known as the business plan

  • Keep it simple
  • This is a guide about why, what, who and how

Remember that clarity of where you want to get to and how you want to get there will ensure that you do not get diverted by short term considerations.


Want to find out more? Join Business and Strategic Planning on Friday 3 April.