Every company must have a strategic plan, but the number of companies trying to operate without a defined plan, which is clearly communicated from the top of the organization to the bottom, may surprise you. An OnStrategy survey shows that 86% of executive teams spend less than an hour a month discussing strategies, and 95% of a typical workforce does not understand their organization’s strategy.
Since many companies fail in this regard, you can stay ahead of the game using the strategic planning process outlined below – and MOAB can help.
Strategic planning process
Strategic Planning Process
What is the strategic planning process?
In the simplest terms, the strategic planning process is the method that organizations use to develop plans to achieve general and long-term goals.
This process differs from the project management process, which is used to maintain individual projects properly planned and in charge, or strategic mapping, which helps to determine your mission, vision and objectives. The strategic planning process is broader – it helps you create a roadmap for which strategic objectives you should invest efforts in and which initiatives will be least useful for business. The steps in the strategic planning process are described below.
Steps in the strategic planning process
To start the strategic planning process, follow these steps.
1. Determine your strategic position
This preparation phase sets the stage for all the work going forward. You need to know where you are to determine where you need to go and how to get there.
Get the right stakeholders right from the start, considering internal and external sources. Identify key strategic issues by talking to your company’s executives, gaining customer insights and collecting industry and market data to gain a clear view of your position in the market and in your customers’ minds. .
It can also be useful to review – or create, if you don’t already have them – your company’s mission and vision statements to give yourself and your team a clear picture of the success of your activities. In addition, you must analyze your company’s core values to remember how your company will achieve these goals.
SWOT Analysis Model
As a framework for your initial analysis, use a SWOT diagram. With the input of executives, customers and data from the foreign market, you can quickly categorize your findings as Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (FOFA) to clarify your current position.
To get started, you can use the free SWOT analysis templates available online (Lucid Chart is an excellent one) to document your organization’s internal strengths and weaknesses, along with external opportunities (ways your organization can grow to meet the needs of the market does not currently fill) and threats (your competition).
As you synthesize this information, your unique strategic position in the market will become clear and you can begin to solidify some important strategic objectives. These objectives are often set with a three to five year horizon in mind.
2. Develop a strategic plan
After identifying your current position in the market and identifying possible strategic objectives according to your company’s mission and vision, you will be ready to develop your strategic plan.
To develop your plan, prioritize your goals by asking important questions like:
Which of these initiatives will have the greatest impact when it comes to achieving our company’s mission / vision and improving our market position?
What types of impacts are most important (for example, customer acquisition vs. revenue)?
How will the competition react?
Which initiatives are most urgent?
What will we need to do to achieve our goals?
How will we measure our progress and determine whether we have achieved our goals?
Once you and your team have prioritized your long-term goals, you must determine what specific goals or initiatives you will need to achieve in order to successfully achieve your goals. Use SMART goals to determine a timeline and identify the resources needed to achieve the goals, as well as key performance indicators (KPIs) to make your success measurable.
When deciding which goals to focus on, determine which initiatives you will not focus on. Truly strategic choices often involve a trade-off in opportunity cost. For example, your company may decide not to put as much funding behind customer support, so it can put more resources into creating an intuitive user experience.
Be prepared to use your values, mission statement and established priorities to say “no” to initiatives that will not improve your long-term strategic position.
3. Execute and manage the plan
Once you have the plan, you are ready to implement it. First, communicate the plan to the organization by sharing the relevant documentation. Then, the real work begins.
Choose an app that is good for execution. We use Lucidchart, it is useful for mapping processes and transforming your broader strategy into a concrete plan. For example, to clearly communicate team responsibilities, you can use lanes to illustrate the completion process and ownership for each step along the way.
Establish regular reviews with individual employees and their superiors and determine check-in points to ensure you are on the right track.
4. Review and revise the plan
The final stage of the plan – reviewing and revising – gives you the opportunity to reevaluate your priorities and correct the course based on past successes or failures. On a quarterly basis, determine which KPIs your team has served and how you can continue to serve them, adapting your plan as needed.
Annually, it is important to reassess your priorities and strategic position to ensure that you are on the right path to long-term success. Over time, you may find that your mission and vision needs to change – an annual assessment is a good time to consider these changes, prepare a new plan and implement it again.
Master the steps of the strategic planning process
As you continue to implement the strategic planning process, by repeating each step regularly, you will begin to make measurable progress towards achieving your company’s vision. Instead of always putting out fires, reacting to competition or focusing on the latest initiative, you will be able to maintain a long-term perspective and make decisions that will keep you on the path to success for years to come.