There are only two ways to get [substantially higher performance]. One, you can invent your way to success. Unfortunately, you can’t count on that. The second path is to exploit some change in your environment-in technology, consumer tastes, laws, resource prices, or competitive behavior-and ride that change with quickness and skill. This second path is how most successful companies make it. Changes, however, don’t come along in nice annual packages, so the need for strategy work is episodic, not necessarily annual.
Now, lots of people think the solution to the strategic-planning problem is to inject more strategy into the annual process. But I disagree. I think the annual rolling resource budget should be separate from strategy work. So my basic recommendation is to do two things: avoid the label “strategic plan”-call those budgets “long-term resource plans”-and start a separate, nonannual, opportunity-driven process for strategy work.