Strategic plans are often compared to roadmaps, guiding a company to its destination. What makes a strategic plan successful, however, isn’t the journey. It’s the destination. And according to Bill Asdal, CGR, Asdal & Co. Builders in Chester, N.J., "a strategic plan is meaningless unless you have a goal." The NAHB Research Center recognized Asdal’s strategic planning acumen when it awarded his company a National Remodeling Quality Silver Award in 1997.
"Any road will get you to nowhere," Asdal says. "Would it not be better to have a destination, monitor progress along the way, take corrective action if necessary, and arrive safely, secure and proud when you get there?" A strategic plan is simply the method by which the goals are achieved.
Asdal’s plan encompasses a vision for the future, emphasizing the long-range, goal-setting step as paramount. These goals are more than hard numbers, Asdal says, because those numbers will change with time. Inflation and other liabilities can alter whatever numerical goals are set.
|Bill Asdal’s strategic planning cycle is best illustrated with this image. Goals are set, and the strategic plan is set into motion, beginning the cycle. Resources are chosen, the plan is executed with results monitored. Then, the process starts again as the plan is measured against the goals.
Instead, long-range goals should be "relationship-oriented." A goal to earn enough money to retire by a certain year could be supplanted by a goal to be financially stable with a balanced time commitment to family and work. "All the thought has to go in the goals," Asdal says. "The plan just gets you there."
Once the goals are set, Asdal identifies the resources available for attaining the goal. Resources include emotional resources, time, assets, labor and materials. "Figure out what you have at your disposal and organize them to make them work toward fulfillment of that goal," Asdal says.
As the resources are identified and deployed, execution of the plan becomes important. "Execution is where you put all the pieces together," Asdal says. "You build systems for your business, for your life, for your employees. This is where you make everything fit into the puzzle."
Monitoring the plan keeps Asdal on track and allows for adjustments as time passes. Monitoring means setting benchmarks, regularly checking the progress against those benchmarks, and taking corrective action when needed.
Asdal says don’t wait to put together a strategic plan. "You’re squandering resources until you have structured [them] to accomplish long-range goals. If you don't set goals, you'll continue to meander.
"This process becomes the roadmap to achieve otherwise elusive dreams."
For an application for the 2001 National Remodeling Quality Award competition, call (800) 638-8556, Ext. 714, or fax your request to (301) 249-0305. Deadline: June 1.