planning is a means by which leaders can influence the future.
It is a process that works toward two ends: It systematically
sets a course of action and it provides a clear picture of where a
team/organization has been and where it wants to be.
Strategic planning addresses essential team/organizational
questions: What do we do? Who are our customers? Where are we right now?
Where do we want to be in the future? How do we chart a course of
action? How do we define success? Strategic
planning is a learning journey.
Strategic planning is not a
onetime event, rather it is an ongoing process of looking deeply into
what the team/organization is, determining its priorities, and adjusting
long-range planning places an emphasis on shaping a vision, strategic
planning focuses more energy on strategies to achieve a vision.
There are many ways to
design and implement a strategic plan; one nine-step model is summarized
Planning Prep: Identify
key players, gather background data, & set a timetable. Be
certain that you don't rush or shortchange the process.
Pinpointing a Mission: Reaffirm
what your team does, why it does it, for whom, and
what it wants to become.
Mapping Reality: Isolate
what is currently working and what isn’t: strengths and impediments.
This includes assessing both external and internal challenges and
identify factors that impact your ability to achieve goals and meet
targets. This may include
consideration of the economy, changes in customer needs, client
expectations, suppliers, costs, regulations, etc.
identify factors that impact your ability to achieve objectives, quotas,
and goals. This may include
considerations like personnel issues, facilities, resources, operation
requirements, revenue pressures, etc.
Setting Goals and Objectives: Develop
goals. In a nutshell, goals answer the core question, “What are the
desired outcomes that we want to achieve?”
Objectives break the goals into smaller specific pieces that are
Brainstorming Strategies: Discuss
how you will achieve your goals and objectives.
In other words, what are the actions or methods that you will use
to meet your goals and objectives. Your
brainstorming should address key issues, possible choices that must be
made, and questions that need to be answered.
your suggested strategies against set criteria:
the strategy realistically doable?
the strategy acceptable to leadership and stakeholders?
the strategy fit our mission, values, and operating norms?
the strategy affordable?
the strategy be done in a timely way?
and combine your strategies and subsequently place them in priority
Writing the Action Plan: Select
the best course of action. This
is a work plan of what will get done when and by whom.
It should include the identification of resources, needs, key
players, and decisions to be made.
sure to gather necessary input, secure buy-in for the plan, and seek
Removing Threats & Maximizing Opportunities: Determine
the best way to implement your plan.
Consider impediments, possible threats, “selling” the action
plan, who can help, obstacles, and potential opportunities.
Identifying Indicators of Success: Determine
what will indicate that your actions are working.
In other words, how can you tell if you are actually achieving
your goals. This includes
performance measures that are based on data and can be measured
Monitoring & Adjusting the Plan: Work
to keep the plan alive and well. This
will include regular assessments, revisions, statements of progress,
tweaking of procedures, weighing of feedback, and regular updates and
reports to leadership.
When strategic planning,
consider the following considerations:
a diverse group of players in your strategic planning process
key decision makers
the organization’s values and mission
rush the process
and encourage open and divergent thinking
your thinking; think outside of the box
an unflinching look at your current reality
on taking action
open to change as the process unfolds
on a logical, sequence work plan
on critical issues, barriers, strengths, and opportunities for
improvement before pushing forward
a timeframe and be accountable to it
the plan thoroughly
certain the strategic plan realistically fits available resources
plan should meet but also stretch capabilities
the strategic plan concise (place extended documentation in an
planning should work to strengthen leadership skills, nurture
strategic thinking, and expand competencies
feedback at every step of the process