D. Calvin Andrus
23 January 1999

There are many different kinds of strategic plan templates. They are organized differently depending upon a variety of factors. I happen to like this one, because it makes the most sense to me. This particular template has 6 major sections. I have written an example plan based on this template. The plan need not be very long. Items in the plan are sentence or paragraph length. Beyond the plan, however, when actually executing projects and activities, the documentation could get lengthy.


A sentence or two that describes the "end state." It is a "what" kind of a statement. The nouns are most important words in these sentences. It is used as the ultimate goal, expressed in the most general terms. It is nice if it is catchy, so that those who subscribe to the vision can remember it easily. Once identified, the vision serves as an anchor to focus attention on being what is desired.


A Sentence or two that describes the process used to achieve the vision. It is a "how" kind of statement. The verbs and adverbs are the most important words in these sentences. It is nice if it is catchy, so that those who subscribe to the mission can remember it. Once identified, the mission statement serves as an anchor to focus attention on how they are supposed to behave.


These are major, high-level areas that must be accomplished to achieve the mission and vision. There should only be three to five objectives. They should each be stated with a single sentence. It is nice to number them. These are "what" kinds of statements. They are similar to the vision statement, in that they specify an "end state." They are, however, more specific than the vision statement.


These are statements of action that describe a methodology for accomplishing the objectives. They are "how" statements. They should be one paragraph long, but could be as many as three paragraphs. There can be as few as just one strategy or up to five strategies for each goal. Be careful. If you have five objectives, which each have five strategies, you will have a total of 25 strategies, which are too many for small organizations to focus on. I suggest keeping the number of strategies to below ten when starting out. They can be increased in the 2nd and 3rd iterations of writing the plan. These strategic statements should be numbered in such a way that it is obvious to which objective they refer.


These are specific, measurable statements of what needs to be accomplished within each strategy. These can be as short as a statement or as long as a paragraph. There can be dozens of goals within each strategy. Be careful. If there are 10 strategies and ten goals within each strategy, then there will be one hundred goals. That is too many for a small organization. The key to a good goal is that the goal be described in such a way that an outside observer could tell whether or not it has been accomplished. Goals are "what" kinds of things.


Projects and activites are the actions we take to achieve goals. A project is a set of behaviors that have an actual beginning and end, while activites are repeating behaviors that continue for extended periods. Projects and activities can be described by a sentence or a paragraph. Included in the description are explicit references to at least actions, time, place, and persons--who is going to do what, when and where. The description should include costs and materials associated with the project or activity.

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