Key factors for successful strategic planning.
This is not a blog about how to conduct the strategic planning process. This is a blog that focuses on 5 tips to make sure your strategic planning efforts produce a successful result.
Tip #1 CEO commitment
When I say CEO commitment, I mean complete commitment. The CEO needs to be a passionate advocate for the strategic planning process. He or she needs to acknowledge the value of going through the process, and supporting the implementation of the completed strategic plan. Additionally, it is the responsibility of the CEO to champion the organization’s vision, and provide valuable input as a strategic planning team member. Without a strong commitment from the CEO, others simply won’t see the importance and the planning process and the deliverable of the plan will suffer.
Tip #2 Established company vision
Ever try to get somewhere without knowing where you’re going? Seems silly doesn’t it? But, in essence that’s what we’re doing if we do not have a solid vision statement for the organization. As Adriana Girdler defines in her book, The Value of Vision, “A vision statement is a long-term outlook that embodies the highest values and aspirations of an individual or organization.” The organization’s vision statement is the foundation for the organization. All strategic planning decisions are made based on the organization’s vision statement. If the organization does not have an established vision statement that guides the organization and it’s planning efforts, it’s impossible to make constructive strategic decisions.
Tip #3 Assemble the right team
Increase the chances of developing a successful strategic plan by including the right mix of people on your planning team. The planning team is not the exclusive domain of the executive team. Instead, the team should include representation from anyone that can impact the plan or be impacted by the plan: in short all employees. So, bring in the various departments from your organization – marketing, sales, and operations, evaluate the inclusion of vendors. These team members can provide valuable information at various points in the strategic planning process, and their inclusion helps ensure buy in to the plan.
Tip #4 Make sure the team has a solid understanding of the strategic planning process and terms and definitions
Is that an objective or a strategy? Why are we developing strategies before we know what we want to achieve? These questions seem benign enough but they can derail the strategic planning process and fracture the team. It’s key to ensure all team members understand the terminology used in the process. The process itself, why and when components of the plan occur in the sequence they do, and the timing associated with the plan’s development. By knowing the process and terminology there’s no confusion as to why, when, and what is happening. The uniform understanding allows the team to focus on input, consensus and developing a plan that moves the organization closer to its vision.
Tip #5 Get outta the office
You’re trying to develop a strategic plan. The office is no place to do it. There are just too many other things going on, too many temptations to take team members focus off the strategic planning process. Secure an off-site space and set the expectations for the participants that while they are involved with the process, they need to be completely focussed on the task at hand. Have them determine how they will monitor their responsibilities at breaks or before or after the session.
By making sure your CEO is fully committed to the strategic planning process, your organization has a solid vision statement, a planning team that includes representatives from all departments, the team shares a uniform understanding of the process, and you’re off-site to focus exclusively on your strategic plan development, your chances of producing a quality strategic plan are greatly enhanced.