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Continuous, Decision-Oriented Planning Once the company as a whole has identified its most important strategic priorities typically in an annual strategy updateexecutive committee dialogues, spread throughout the year, are set up to reach decisions on as many issues as possible.

The company gets the best of both worlds—disciplined decision making and superior execution.

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Is it any wonder? A "forecast" is typically a combination of actual performance year-to-date plus expected performance for the remainder of the year, so is generally compared against plan or budget and prior performance. At the corporate level, for example, the company has put in place a rolling six-month agenda for its executive committee dialogues, a practice that allows everyone inside Cardinal to know what issues management is working on and when decisions will be reached.

By separating—but linking—planning and execution, Boeing makes faster and better decisions.

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But in the real world, managers make strategic decisions continuously, often motivated by an immediate need for action or reaction.

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The review sessions themselves were restructured to allow ample time for give-and-take between the corporate team and the business-unit executives. The strategy may include a diagnosis of the competitive situation, a guiding policy for achieving the organization's goals, and specific action plans to be implemented. Divide your document into distinct sections, so that investors can quickly flip between key pieces of information. Brand managers were allowed to make the case for additional investment, no matter what the size of the brand or its strategic role in the portfolio. The executive committee then holds another round of meetings with each of the business units to negotiate performance targets, resource commitments, and in many cases compensation for managers. The business unit, for its part, puts in a lot of work preparing for this royal visit and is keen to make it smooth and trouble free. You should also put together a timeline, so your potential investors have an idea of what to expect. For example, the division now identifies certain brands for growth and earmarks specific resources for investment in these units. Capital budgets very often form the backbone of a strategic plan, especially as it increasingly relates to Information and Communications Technology ICT. Second, it unfolds unit by unit—with executive committee members visiting one unit at a time to review their strategic plans. This is natural and so long as you learn from them, also beneficial. Indeed, these companies use the strategy development process to drive decision making.

As such, the process is completely at odds with the way executives actually make important strategy decisions, which are neither constrained by the calendar nor defined by unit boundaries. The executive committee engages in two dialogues for each issue at three to four hours each.

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UntilTextron had a fairly traditional strategic planning process.

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