Strategic planning is not just an exercise, or something to do because others value the process; rather, strategic planning is the means to success. A number of quantifiable studies have been conducted in recent years, which has validated that a comprehensive strategic plan effects quality performance in heightened operating ratios, increased market share and an excellent return on investment.
So is strategic planning essential? Yes!
There are a number of books written about strategic planning. Some provide effective guidelines, while others completely miss the mark. While we do have some recommended resources for you (see below), here’s what you need to know about strategic planning: strategic planning is a means in which you review your objectives, and then state what is needed to achieve those objectives.
In this post we’re providing you with a five-step plan that will assist you in developing your own strategic plan. Let’s dive in!
#1: Determine Where You Stand
Some people see themselves how they WANT to see themselves, not how they actually appear to others.
#2: Identify What’s Most Important
Focus on where you want to take your organization over time. This sets the direction for the company over the long term, and clearly defines the mission (markets, customers, products, services etc.) and vision (a conceptualization of what your organization’s future should or could be).
#3: Define What You Need To Achieve
Define the expected objectives that clearly state what your organization must achieve in order to address priority issues.
#4: Determine Who Is Accountable
This step is critical because it’s how you’re going to get to where you want to go. Strategies, action plans and budgets are all steps in the process that will effectively communicate how you will allocate your time, resources and expenses to address the priority issues and achieve your defined objectives.
#5: Review (and then review some more)
This is a never-ending process. To ensure the plan performs as designed, you must hold regularly scheduled formal reviews of the process and refine as needed. We recommend doing this at least once a quarter.
To assist in assessing your company in contrast to your competitors, and in determining a quality strategy, a SWOT analysis (Strengths and Weaknesses, which relate to internal factors, in addition to Opportunities and Threats, which relate to external factors) should be performed. This analysis will depict your internal strengths and weaknesses, and your external opportunities and threats. Goals and objectives are established through the SWOT analysis. We recommend facilitating a strategic planning session, along with a complimentary budget, to drive your team or board in a desired direction to meet a shared vision.
Still in search of some additional resources to help support your strategic planning efforts? We’ve got you covered!
We like this book: Good to Great.
To learn more about how to make your strategic changes stick, click here.
To truly make your planning strategic, click here.
If you still have a question, or think you could use some assistance in drafting a results-driven action plan that will help you define your goals and strategic initiatives, contact us! We specialize in strategic planning, and would love to help!