Strategic Planning: A 10 Step Guide – Part 1 of 2

Strategic Planning

So what is strategic focus?

Leadership models and new business models are key ingredients to success in this new, socially driven and aware business age. Any successful model is built around servant style leadership with a focus on strategic thinking by harnessing the creativity and innovation of the employees.

The vehicle to accomplish this is the strategic planning process.

Strategy serves as the organization’s compass and roadmap to future success. Strategic thinking must be clear and communicated effectively throughout the organization.

  • It is not something you can leverage with technology.
  • It isn’t something you will find in the latest business manual.
  • It is embedded in the minds of the management team and most of our employees.
  • It is our employees who are on the front line and know what is really going on with our customers and markets.
  • It requires effective leadership to release the power of the employees in building a strategic roadmap to the future.

Defining objectives and developing initiatives and action plans to meet those objectives is the basis of strategic planning. However, it all starts with an end game, a “Vision for the Future.”

Strategic planning is a management tool. It is used to help an organization clarify its future direction – to focus its energy, and to help members of the organization work toward the same goals. The planning process adjusts the organization’s direction in response to a changing environment.

Strategic planning is a disciplined effort to support fundamental decisions and actions that shape and guide what an organization is, what it does and why it does it, with a focus on where it wants to go and how it is going to get there.Fundamental decisions, actions and choices must be made in order to develop a plan that provides a roadmap on “How to get there from here.” The plan is ultimately no more, and no less, than a set of decisions about what to do, why to do it, and when and how to do it.

The scope of the strategy development process for any company is dependent upon individual business needs. The strategic planning process is a time and resource-consuming endeavor that involves many people in the organization. This process includes both tactical and strategic application.

The Ten Step Process

Let’s identify the steps first and then we’ll discuss each one in a little more detail. I cannot emphasize enough that the true value of a strategic plan is not in the document itself. It is in the process of creating it, involving many of your employees from the bottom up. This empowers them to be more effective and better-informed leaders, managers and decision makers.

  1. Select the strategy team and send a company wide communication
  2. Create a Vision for the Future (End Game)
  3. Preparation —– Secure an off site location for the kick off meeting which includes training the team on the strategic planning process. Purchase a strategic planning template, download one from the web or e-mail for a generic sample.
  4. Complete a SWOT analysis. (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats)
  5. Identify the critical core initiatives that are necessary to support the vision for the future and to achieve its objectives
  6. Develop strategic implementation plans (SIP’s) that support the identified critical core initiatives
  7. Prioritize the CCI’s and SIP’s based on the biggest impact on the bottom line in the shortest period of time. Modify and complete the document template to fit your company strategy
  8. Develop an accountability process based on a structured monthly strategic review
  9. Develop a presentation of the strategy for approval by the CEO, owners or Board of Directors.
  10. Develop a Roll Out Strategy to explain the strategic plan to the entire company.

In part 2, I will go into details about implementing each of the 10 steps.