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Are Strategic Plans Now Obsolete?

Are Strategic Plans Now Obsolete?

January 25, 2010

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal calls into question the effectiveness of strategic planning. The article contends that companies today need to be more flexible than long-term plans may allow.

On its face, this sentiment seems logical. After all, with the rollercoaster ride that many companies have been on since the beginning of the recession, rapidly changing tactics have become normal. The article says companies such as Office Depot and J.C. Penney Co. are considering abandoning their plans altogether.

But if you dig a little deeper, there's an inherent flaw in this method of thinking. Readers of the WSJ picked up on this quickly, adding comments to the article such as: "Good businesses don't change strategies every month; they change tactics to execute a strategy."

The key to successful strategic planning in the current economy is the same as it has been all along: Create your plan and your goals, but review them often to make sure that your approach to attaining those goals is effective. Last July, MDM Editor Lindsay Konzak wrote that a strategic plan may be exactly the tool your company needs to make those tough decisions for the short term. Adaptation to rapidly changing circumstances doesn't have to nullify your strategic plan.

How has your strategic planning been impacted by the recession?

Read more about strategic planning for distributors in this MDM article on the topic.

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