Keeping the Strategic Plan Alive

Strategic planning. It’s one of those things that we all know we should be doing, but don’t always dedicate the time and resources true to our intentions. When done right, a strategic plan will act as a roadmap to not only plan for the future, but also guide and motivate each employee in their daily decisions. Today we’re chatting with Mindy Hinsley, CPSM, about the value she sees in keeping the plan alive, and how to incorporate the strategic planning process into you everyday routine.

The The real challenge is understanding that this plan should be a living, breathing part of your process.

CQ: In a May 2012 HuffPost Business article, titled Your Strategic Plan — Dead or Alive? Nine Ways to Make It Live,” author Ray Gagnon states: “There are two schools of thought about strategic planning, one holds that it’s a waste of time; the other that it’s the most important thing you ever do.”  Given our scheduled discussion topic for the next 20 minutes, we already know you lean to the “it’s the most important thing you ever do” side of the argument. But why might others think it is a waste of time?

MH: I understand why people might think strategic plans are a waste of time. They’re great if you’re going to use them, but not so great if they’re going to sit on a shelf and collect dust. A lot of people see the strategic plan as an item to cross off their list to say they’ve done it, and then forget about it. But the real challenge is understanding that this plan should be a living, breathing part of your process.

CQ: What is the power behind a strategic plan if operating at an optimum level?

MH: It gives everyone a framework to hang their mission on. It’s like putting a stake in the ground to let everyone in the firm know where you are going, and how you plan to get there. Think back to the ice bucket challenge – everyone was so excited to spread awareness and be a part of the activity. It was exciting and created a rally and sense of community. That is what employees want from a strategic plan – clear communication so they can get behind a mission. And once you’re able to communicate that – it’s a win win.

CQ: Who is responsible for driving the strategic plan?

MH: Ultimately, it’s the firm leadership who should drive the plan, and then then appoint others in the firm to make sure specific pieces are moving forward. But it absolutely has to be a culture that is created from the top down. People are quick to get on board with something that leadership initiates.

CQ: Where and when do you see people losing focus?

MH: Probably 30 days out (and that’s being generous). There is so much preparation up front that by the time you get to actually implementing the plan people are exhausted and don’t want to spend that much time away from their billable work. The excitement can fade quickly – and that’s why it is so important to appoint specific people to cheer lead certain sections and report and report back. Frequent communication keeps it in front of everyone and makes people feel accountable.

CQ: How are you checking the progress of your strategic plan?

MH: Leadership must include strategic plan updates as part of their regular meetings. It’s also important that the individuals who are spearheading specific sections are checking in regularly and meeting the milestones within their initiative.

CQ: What’s the danger of not having a strategic plan, or having one and not using it?

MH: Simple: you slip behind your competition. If you don’t have this focused road map in place, you’re not prepared to make adjustments when the market fluctuates, nor plan for the future. Sticking to the plan allows each of the stakeholders and practice groups within a firm to be focused and all working toward the same vision.

CQ: What tips do you have for marketers to keep the momentum?

MH: Cheer lead and create excitement! Check-in with others and ask where you can help out. Celebrate victories and engage others in the firm. This will help build your professional credibility as well as that of your marketing team. And while the plan should be saved on your servers in a spot that everyone can access, I also recommend having several hard copies around the office as a visual reminder.


Want to hear more from Mindy? Listen to the full podcast to learn more  about Mindy’s techniques for keeping your strategic plan front of mind.

Music by SONGO 21 – Studio sessions 2003 by SONGO 21 is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 International License.

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MH headshot grayMindy Hinsley, CPSM, possesses over 20 years of executive marketing management and business development experience in the A/E/C industry. As a marketing executive, her responsibilities included market research, strategic planning and direction of business development, corporate communications and marketing initiatives with her primary strength in developing market strategies and executing long-range, big-picture projects. Through the formation of her consulting practice, Hinsley Collective, LLC, she shares her A/E/C marketing expertise, strategic thinking and best practices with her clients as stand-alone services or through the development of their marketing professionals and their marketing departments.

Mindy is an active member of the Society of Marketing Professional Services (SMPS), previously serving the Maryland chapter as president. As a member of the Chapter’s Senior Advisory Council, Mindy developed and currently facilitates its 2015-16 Leadership roundtable series. At the national level, she serves on the SMPS Certification Committee and CPSM Day chair. Mindy received her B.S. in Business Communications from Stevenson University.

Have questions or want to chat more with Mindy? Post your comments below or connect with her on Twitter and LinkedIn.


Join us Thursday on the podcast when we’re back with Mindy to learn more about her 20 years of A/E/C marketing experience in both in-house and consultant roles.

Music by SONGO 21 – Studio sessions 2003 by SONGO 21 is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 International License.


Next week, we’ll welcome Joanna Hoffschneider, CPSM, Vice President of Business Development and Marketing at Grimm and Parker about her take on taking on a new team.