The In-System Strategic Plan: Challenges and Advantages

Traditionally, strategic plans are built over a short period of time and, once approved, live in a document (eg. Word, PDF, or God forbid, PowerPoint.) The content is usually created by filling in a template and reflects the thinking of the time, extended out over one to five years. Sometimes they are updated annually or quarterly and in many cases, once complete, they are filed away and never seen again.

Tools are available now for building a much more dynamic and interactive plan. One that teams will actually see and use and interact with on a daily basis. Over the next few days we will explore the advantages, challenges and best practices for setting up an In-System Strategic Plan.

What an In-System Strategic Plan Is & Is Not


  • Build to fulfill a requirement.
  • Built in a static document
  • Assumes complete knowledge
  • Includes the plan only
  • Rigid. One path to the end.
  • Updated quarterly or not at all.
  • Low touch. See it quarterly or not at all.


  • Built for the team
  • Built in an active workspace
  • Clearly lists knowledge gaps
  • Includes criteria for making decisions
  • Highly adaptable. Multiple paths to the same end.
  • Updated live on a daily basis.
  • High touch, see it every day.

The advantage, clearly, is that team members see and work within the plan daily and we don’t see the normal veering of reality away from the plan that renders a traditional plan useless.

he challenge, which we’ll address soon, is keeping the plan on target while curbing the urges to change it drastically when the going gets tough or new information is presented. 

Johnathan Deckert