If you’ve worked in business for any amount of time, I’m sure you’ve heard of (or experienced) a corporate retreat where managers get together to develop a “strategic plan”. But at the end of this, have they produced a plan with a strategy?

If you get a group of managers together and ask them to give you an example of a strategy, you’ll get a variety of answers, including initiatives (“optimize the production floor”), activities (“make more outbound calls”, “reduce unused inventory”), and goals (“grow our customer base by 20%”).

The problem is that none of these are actually a strategy. 

Why does this matter?

I know that’s the question some of you are asking yourselves. Understanding what strategy is, and isn’t, makes a big difference in how we approach and plan what we need to reach our goals, and gives us a path to get there.

When managers think ‘strategy’ they tend to focus on what they do, but strategy is actually between goals (where you’re going) and objectives (what you do to get there). This makes str

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