successful implementation of the strategic plan.

Advertising is key to successful implementation of the strategic plan. The more often employees hear about the plan, its elements, and ways to measure its success, the greater the possibility that they will undertake it as part of their daily work lives. It is especially important that employees are aware of the measurement systems and that significant achievements be rewarded and celebrated. This positive reinforcement increases support of the plan and belief in its possibilities.

Without buy-in from the head of a company, it is unlikely that other members will be supportive in the planning and eventual implementation process, thereby dooming the plan before it ever takes shape. Commitment and support of the strategic-planning initiative must spread from the president and/or CEO all the way down through the ranks to the line worker on the factory floor. Just as importantly, the strategic-planning team should be composed of top-level managers who are capable of representing the interests, concerns, and opinions of all members of the organization.

As well, organizational theory dictates that there should be no more than twelve members of the team. This allows group dynamics to function at their optimal level. The components of the strategic-planning process read much like a laundry list, with one exception: each piece of the process must be kept in its sequential order since each part builds upon the previous one. This is where the similarity to a flow chart is most evident, as can be seen in the following illustration.

The only exceptions to this are environmental scanning and continuous implementation, which are continuous processes throughout. This article will now focus on the discussion of each component of the formulation process: environmental scanning, continuous implementation, values assessment, vision and mission formulation, strategy design, performance audit analysis, gap analysis, action-plan development, contingency planning, and final implementation. After that, this article will discuss a Japanese variation to Strategy Formulation, Hoshin Planning, which has become very popular.