Do You Need Strategic Planning This Year or Just Tactical Planning?


Want to make an experienced CFO angry? Ask him/her to prepare specific budgets, change cash management systems, and secure new financing when clear strategic direction and priorities don’t exist.  Or waste his/her time in meetings about strategy when the company is clearly deep in the process of implementing a strong strategic plan and he/she could be finalizing a bank deal or providing valuable information to optimize capacity utilization.

Does Your Company Need Updated Tactical or Strategic Planning?

One technique to test if your company should just update its tactical plan or do real strategic planning is to convene the executives and pose the question:  “Could we triple gross revenue while only doubling operating costs?”  The leaders of most companies do not actually commit to tripling, but posing what we call the Triple/Double Option generates some great questions and insights.  The discussion surfaces the full range of growth goals and ambition within the leadership team.

Since so many executives assume that the question means “triple quickly,” the discussion surfaces any concerns about ineffective or insufficient systems, limited production capacity or quality control, etc.  That’s important information to hear and address through stepped up tactical planning focused on operational improvements. The primary strategic question would be about pacing. How fast or slow should those operational improvements be made?

Real strategic planning is clearly needed when posing The Triple/Double Option ™cues the executive team to express:

  • questions about whether the market is now saturated or is changing too fast
  • worry about industry consolidation, rollups or competition
  • confusion about why net promoter scores (customers recommending the company to others) have been going down
  • frustration that the sales cycle is growing while the closing rate is shrinking
  • disagreement with orno excitement about existing strategy, priorities, plans,
  • lack of confidence in leadership
  • pessimism that the company can lift up off of a stubborn plateau and/or
  • concerns about the company’s capacity to attract bright talented employees.

Aldonna R. Ambler, CMC, CSP has earned the right to be called THE GROWTH STRATEGIST®. She has won over 2 dozen national and statewide “entrepreneur of the year” awards for the resilient growth of her international businesses across 4 recessions.  Her midsized BtoB clients get on…and then stay on…the published lists of the fastest growing privately held companies. She owns and operates a suite of companies that help privately held midsized companies achieving accelerated growth with sustained profitability® through opportunity & resource analysis, 4 approaches to strategic planning, executive advisory services, growth financing, and targeted search.  2012 is Ambler’s 8th year hosting a weekly peer-to-peer-to-peer syndicated on line talk show that features interviews with CEOs/Presidents of midsized companies (typically between $20 and 200 Mil/yr) sharing success tips about the growth strategy-of-the-week. An archive of over 300 interviews is available at She can be reached toll free at 1-888-Aldonna or at                 


About Aldonna Ambler:
Known as The Growth Strategist®, Aldonna Ambler built and grew a suite of companies to help midsized B2B companies achieve accelerated growth with sustained profitability® A Certified Speaking Professional (CSP), Ambler has addressed over 2000 audiences and hosted a syndicated online talk show about growth strategies for 9 years. As a growth financing intermediary, Ambler raised over $1 Bil dollars for midsized companies. The winner of over 2 dozen prestigious national and statewide "entrepreneur of the year" awards, Ambler is available to speak about “profitable growth during any economy” and/or serve on the board of a growth-oriented privately-held company.

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MSAA Board of Directors

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