I have seen people cringe at the mention of strategic planning. I think that this process is getting a bum rap. Strategic planning is made up of 4 critical sub-processes; i.e. (1) A GAP Analysis to determine weaknesses, (2) Documenting the vision to define your goal, (3) Identifying resources needed (based on the GAP and the vision), and (4) Defining the balanced score card to understand how to track progress.
Most of the time there is one of these elements that is not understood and therefore causing the fear. These four elements are all needed to create a strategic plan. It can be that the group does not want to spend time doing one or more of the elements or that they do not see the need for one of them. Without some attention on all four elements the strategic plan will not be complete. Instead of a five or ten year plan you get a plan that is obsolete in a few weeks or never followed at all.
Skip the strategic plan (or any one of the four elements), and you are doomed before you begin. To have a plan that produces a positive return on investment you have to design it and then implement it. This should be a long range plan with a useful and valid set of defined goals and measurements. There is nothing wrong with refining the plan as new information is generated, but don’t waste time creating a notebook that will never be opened.