Strategic Planning Without Micromanaging the CEO

Board directors often worry about how they can be involved in strategic planning without micromanaging or stepping outside of their authority. The long-running planning processes and three to five-year time horizons have been replaced with strategic frameworks that set out the priorities of the organization. Business plans that combine operational and programmatic goals with financial forecasts and annual plans that include clear metrics and timelines are also becoming more frequent.

A board that is solely focused on its oversight responsibilities needs to be involved in the development of strategy, understanding of the strategic activities taking place, and understanding that specific situations will always require the Board to pay attention. They should also develop an action plan for monitoring strategy. This article explains how to accomplish all of this in a way that allows the Board to be a part of strategic discussions and effectively assist in them, while avoiding the common mistakes that can create a problem with strategic management for all organizations.

Our article on conducting an annual board-level strategic planning meeting is among the most read articles on this site. This discussion addresses an important issue that comes up time and time again in this regard where the board has to draw the line between managing strategy and running the company. This is an important debate because when the Board thinks that its responsibility is to approve any plans brought before it, it could be at risk of becoming a rubber-stamp board. To avoid this, it is a good idea to have an initial discussion between management and the board about the strategic issues they believe are most important. This will enable the board to assist in framing these issues and also for management to be open to suggestions from the board that improve and refine the problem-solving framework.