All About Strategic Planning

Sections of this topic

    All About Strategic Planning

    Copyright Carter McNamara, MBA, PhD

    Get step-by-step guidance and materials to draft a sample
    Strategic Plan that is relevant, realistic and flexible — while you earn
    a
    Certificate in Facilitating Strategic Planning
    in a
    self-paced, highly practical and online program. Individual feedback is
    shared about your sample Plan. Fee is $295.

    Sections of This Topic Include:

    Four Quizzes to Test Your Current Knowledge

    Quiz:
    Overview of Strategic Planning
    Quiz:
    Customizing Strategic Planning
    Quiz:
    Setting Strategic Direction
    Quiz:
    Making Assignments and Managing Strategic Plan

    Introduction to Strategic Planning

    Introduction — What is Strategic Planning?
    Some Basic Descriptions of Strategic Planning — and a
    Comparison to Business Planning

    Some Different Models of Strategic Planning
    For-Profit Versus Nonprofit Strategic Planning
    Benefits of Strategic Planning
    When Should Strategic Planning Be Done?
    Various Overviews of Strategic Planning Process
    Samples of Plans
    Boards and Strategic Planning

    Writing Your Strategic Plan

    Much of the content
    in this topic applies to for-profits and nonprofits, and came from this book

    Nonprofit Strategic Planning and Facilitation - Book Cover

    Preparation

    Preparation for Strategic Planning
    Guidelines to Keep Perspective During Planning
    Useful Skills to Have When Planning
    Need Consultant or Facilitator to Help You With
    Planning?

    Who Should Be Involved in Planning?
    How Many Planning Meetings Will We Need?
    Always First Do “Plan for a Plan”

    Conducting Strategic Analysis

    Strategic Analyses
    Taking Wide Look Around the Outside of Organization
    (Opportunities and Threats)

    Looking Around Inside the Organization (Strengths and
    Weaknesses)

    Also consider
    How
    to Evaluate Organizations

    Setting Strategic Direction

    Setting Strategic Direction (Clarifying Mission and
    Goals)

    Strategizing (identifying goals and methods to achieve
    them)

    – – – Understanding Strategy and Strategic Thinking
    – – – Do a SWOT Analysis of Results of Looking Outside
    and Inside the Organization?

    – – – Other Guidelines to Identify Strategic Goals and
    Methods/Strategies to Achieve Goals

    – – – – – – Consider Your Business Model (For-Profit
    and Nonprofit)

    – – – – – – Evaluate Your Strategies
    Developing/Updating Mission Statement (the purpose of
    the organization)

    Developing/Updating Vision Statement (depiction of future
    state of organization and customers)

    Developing/Updating Values Statement (overall priorities
    in how organization operates)

    Developing Action Plans

    Action Planning (Planning to Achieve Each Goal)
    Strategic
    Action Plans & Alignment

    Integrate
    and Reality Check Action Plans
    Integrate
    Plans Throughout Organization

    Writing and Communicating the Plan

    How
    to Ensure Your Strategic Plan Document is Complete
    Writing and Communicating the Plan

    Implementing, Monitoring, Evaluating and Deviating from the Plan

    Implementing, Monitoring, Evaluating and Deviating
    from the Plan — and Managing Change

    How Do We Ensure Implementation of Our New Plan?
    Monitoring Implementation, Evaluating Implementation
    — and Deviating from Plan, If Necessary

    Changing the Plan as Necessary During Implementation
    Guidelines to Manage Organizational Change While Implementing
    the Plan

    Also consider

    How
    to Evaluate Organizations
    Organizational
    Performance Management

    General Resources

    Organizational Structures and Design
    Organizational
    Change
    Organizational
    Evaluations
    Organizational
    Performance Management

    General Resources


    UNDERSTANDING STRATEGIC PLANNING

    Introduction — What is Strategic Planning?

    See a video
    about an overview of guidelines for conducting sensible strategic planning. From the Consultants
    Development Institute
    .

    There Are Various Different Views
    and Models — and the Process You Use Depends

    Simply put, strategic planning determines where an organization
    is going over the next year or more, how it’s going to get there
    and how it’ll know if it got there or not. The focus of a strategic
    plan is usually on the entire organization, while the focus of
    a business plan is usually on a particular product, service or
    program.

    There are a variety of perspectives, models and approaches
    used in strategic planning. The way that a strategic plan is developed
    depends on the nature of the organization’s leadership, culture
    of the organization, complexity of the organization’s environment,
    size of the organization, expertise of planners, etc. For example,
    there are a variety of strategic planning models, including goals-based,
    issues-based, organic, scenario (some would assert that scenario
    planning is more of a technique than model), etc.

    1) Goals-based planning is probably the most common and starts
    with focus on the organization’s mission (and vision and/or values),
    goals to work toward the mission, strategies to achieve the goals,
    and action planning (who will do what and by when).

    2) Issues-based strategic planning often starts by examining
    issues facing the organization, strategies to address those issues
    and action plans.

    3) Organic strategic planning might start by articulating the
    organization’s vision and values, and then action plans to achieve
    the vision while adhering to those values. Some planners prefer
    a particular approach to planning, eg, appreciative inquiry.

    Some plans are scoped to one year, many to three years, and
    some to five to ten years into the future. Some plans include
    only top-level information and no action plans. Some plans are
    five to eight pages long, while others can be considerably longer.

    Quite often, an organization’s strategic planners already know
    much of what will go into a strategic plan (this is true for business
    planning, too). However, development of the strategic plan greatly
    helps to clarify the organization’s plans and ensure that key
    leaders are all “on the same script”. Far more important
    than the strategic plan document, is the strategic planning process
    itself.

    Also, in addition to the size of the organization, differences
    in how organizations carry out the planning activities are more
    of a matter of the nature of the participants in the organization
    — than its for-profit/nonprofit status. For example, detail-oriented
    people may prefer a linear, top-down, general-to-specific approach
    to planning. On the other hand, rather artistic and highly reflective
    people may favor of a highly divergent and “organic”
    approach to planning.

    Some Basic Descriptions of Strategic
    Planning — and a Comparison to Business Planning

    What
    is Strategic Planning?

    Are
    You Doing Strategic Planning Already? (Probably …)

    Strategic
    Planning or Business Planning? (a comparison of the two)

    The Difference Between Strategic Planning &
    Financial Planning

    Metaphors
    Be With You: The Strategist as Poet

    Some Different Models of Strategic
    Planning

    Basic
    Overview of Various Strategic Planning Models

    Should
    I Use Goals-Based or Issues-Based Planning?

    The
    Organic Model of Strategic Planning

    Scenario Planning: A Prudent Activity for Any
    Organization

    Strategic Intuition
    The Drivers Model: The Secret to Facilitating Strategy
    Anatomy of the Drivers Model

    NOTE: Much of the following information is in regard to goals-based
    strategic planning, probably the most common form of strategic
    planning. However, issues-based planning is also a very popular
    approach to strategic planning — an approach still too-often
    forgotten.

    For-Profit Versus Nonprofit Strategic
    Planning

    Major differences in how organizations carry out the various
    steps and associated activities
    in the strategic planning
    process are more of a matter of the size of the organization —
    than its for-profit/nonprofit status. Small nonprofits
    and small for-profits tend to conduct somewhat similar planning
    activities that are different from those conducted in large organizations.
    On the other hand, large nonprofits and large for-profits tend
    to conduct somewhat similar planning activities that are different
    from those conducted in small organizations. (The focus of the
    planning activities is often different between for-profits and
    nonprofits. Nonprofits tend to focus more on matters of board
    development, fundraising and volunteer management. For-profits
    tend to focus more on activities to maximize profit.)

    Therefore, the reader is encouraged to review a variety
    of the materials linked from this page, whether he or she is from
    a nonprofit or for-profit organization.
    Items below are marked
    as “nonprofit” in case the reader still prefers to focus
    on information presented in the context of nonprofit planning.

    (An upcoming section includes numerous overviews of the overall
    strategic planning process Various
    Overviews )




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    Benefits of Strategic Planning

    Strategic planning serves a variety of purposes in organizations,
    including to:
    1. Clearly define the purpose of the organization and to establish
    realistic goals and objectives consistent with that mission in
    a defined time frame within the organization’s capacity for
    implementation.
    2. Communicate those goals and objectives to the organization’s
    constituents.
    3. Develop a sense of ownership of the plan.
    4. Ensure the most effective use is made of the organization’s
    resources by focusing the resources on the key priorities.
    5. Provide a base from which progress can be measured and establish
    a mechanism for informed change when needed.
    6. Listen to everyone’s opinions in order to build consensus
    about where the organization is going.

    Other reasons include that strategic planning:
    7. Provides clearer focus for the organization, thereby producing
    more efficiency and effectiveness.
    8. Bridges staff/employees and the board of directors (in the
    case of corporations).
    9. Builds strong teams in the board and in the staff/employees
    (in the case of corporations).
    10. Provides the glue that keeps the board members together (in
    the case of corporations).
    11.Produces great satisfaction and meaning among planners, especially
    around a common vision.
    12. Increases productivity from increased efficiency and effectiveness.
    13. Solves major problems in the organization.

    Also consider

    Strategic Planning in Tough Times — It’s Not
    Discretionary at All

    When Should Strategic Planning Be Done?

    The scheduling for the strategic planning process depends on
    the nature and needs of the organization and the its immediate
    external environment. For example, planning should be carried
    out frequently in an organization whose products and services
    are in an industry that is changing rapidly . In this situation,
    planning might be carried out once or even twice a year and done
    in a very comprehensive and detailed fashion (that is, with attention
    to mission, vision, values, environmental scan, issues, goals,
    strategies, objectives, responsibilities, time lines, budgets,
    etc). On the other hand, if the organization has been around for
    many years and is in a fairly stable marketplace, then planning
    might be carried out once a year and only certain parts of the
    planning process, for example, action planning (objectives, responsibilities,
    time lines, budgets, etc) are updated each year. Consider the
    following guidelines:
    1. Strategic planning should be done when an organization is just
    getting started. (The strategic plan is usually part of an overall
    business plan, along with a marketing plan, financial plan and
    operational/management plan.)
    2. Strategic planning should also be done in preparation for a
    new major venture, for example, developing a new department, division,
    major new product or line of products, etc.
    3. Strategic planning should also be conducted at least once a
    year in order to be ready for the coming fiscal year (the financial
    management of an organization is usually based on a year-to-year,
    or fiscal year, basis). In this case, strategic planning should
    be conducted in time to identify the organizational goals to be
    achieved at least over the coming fiscal year, resources needed
    to achieve those goals, and funded needed to obtain the resources.
    These funds are included in budget planning for the coming fiscal
    year. However, not all phases of strategic planning need be fully
    completed each year. The full strategic planning process should
    be conducted at least once every three years. As noted above,
    these activities should be conducted every year if the organization
    is experiencing tremendous change.
    4. Each year, action plans should be updated.
    5. Note that, during implementation of the plan, the progress
    of the implementation should be reviewed at least on a quarterly
    basis by the board. Again, the frequency of review depends on
    the extent of the rate of change in and around the organization.

    Various Overviews of Strategic Planning Processes and Samples
    of Strategic Planning Process

    NOTE: Although there are separate sections listed below for
    many of the major activities in strategic planning (for example,
    the sections “Developing a Mission”, “Developing
    a Vision”, etc.), this section “Various Overviews of
    Strategic Planning” also includes information about those
    activities as well. The reader might scan 8-10 of the articles
    to get a basic feel for strategic planning processes and the diversity
    of views on the processes. However, do not conclude that you can
    learn the most important aspects of strategic planning by reading
    some of the following articles — many of them are by authors
    who write about certain aspects of strategic planning, but not
    all aspects, so be sure to review resources in other subtopics
    of this overall topic of strategic planning.

    Basic
    Description of Strategic Planning (including key terms to know)

    Strategic Planning: A Ten-Step Guide

    12
    Reasons Why Planning is More Critical in Challenging Times

    Strategic Planning in Uncertain Times
    10-Day Strategic Plan

    The Strategic Planning Process
    Strategic
    Planning (Wikipedia)

    Strategic
    Planning (overview)

    Is Your Strategy at Risk? Guiding Principles to
    Successful Strategic Planning

    3 Confessions About Strategic Planning
    Introduction to Strategic Planning
    How
    NOT to Do Strategic Planning!

    What Your Strategic Plan and Website Should Have
    In Common — Each Other!

    Strategic Planning – Basic Ideas to Start Thinking
    About It

    Strategic Planning – A Simple Process for Small
    Organizations

    Ten Common Reasons Strategic Plans Fail

    Strategic Planning – an Oxymoron
    The
    Rise and Fall of Strategy and Planning

    What Every Business Executive Should Know About
    Creating a Comprehensive and Executable Strategic Plan Part 1

    What Every Business Executive Should Know About
    Creating a Comprehensive and Executable Strategic Plan Part 2

    What Every Business Executive Should Know About
    Creating a Comprehensive and Executable Strategic Plan Part 3

    What is Strategic Planning Leadership
    Course 10: Strategic Planning
    Strategic Planning: Failures and Alternatives
    In Defense of Strategic Planning: A Rebuttal
    Strategic Planning Primer
    Why You Need a Plan: 5 Good Reasons
    7 Key Activities for a Strategic Planning Facilitator

    Samples of Plans

    Strategic plans come in a wide variety of formats, depending
    on the nature and needs of the organization.
    sample
    plan

    Sample Strategic Plans
    sample
    strategic plan worksheet

    What Makes a Good Example of Strategic Plan?
    sample
    plans from around the world

    Boards and Strategic Planning

    Improving Board Effectiveness – Oversight of Strategy

    Corporate strategy: 20 questions directors should ask in order to be involved and effective

    en Questions Board Directors Should Ask





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    CONDUCTING STRATEGIC PLANNING

    See a video
    about how to customize the planning process to suit your organization’s nature and needs. From the Consultants
    Development Institute
    .

    Preparation for Strategic Planning

    Guidelines to Keep Perspective During Planning

    Many managers spend most of their time “fighting fires”
    in the workplace. — their time is spent realizing and reacting
    to problems. For these managers — and probably for many of us
    — it can be very difficult to stand back and take a hard look
    at what we want to accomplish and how we want to accomplish it.
    We’re too buy doing what we think is making progress. However,
    one of the major differences between new and experienced managers
    is the skill to see the broad perspective, to take the long view
    on what we want to do and how we’re going to do it. One of the
    best ways to develop this skill is through ongoing experience
    in strategic planning. The following guidelines may help you to
    get the most out of your strategic planning experience.
    1. The real benefit of the strategic planning process is the process,
    not the plan document.
    2. There is no “perfect” plan. There’s doing your best
    at strategic thinking and implementation, and learning from what
    you’re doing to enhance what you’re doing the next time around.

    3. The strategic planning process is usually not an “aha!”
    experience. It’s like the management process itself — it’s a
    series of small moves that together keep the organization doing
    things right as it heads in the right direction.
    4. In planning, things usually aren’t as bad as you fear nor as
    good as you’d like.
    5. Start simple, but start!

    Stacking the Deck in Favor of a Successful Strategic
    Planning Effort

    How
    NOT to Do Strategic Planning!

    Useful Skills to Have When Strategic Planning

    It’s best to have a team of planners conduct strategic planning.
    Therefore, it’s important to have skills in developing and facilitating
    groups.
    Committees
    (for example, may have committees do environmental scan, get input
    from others)

    Conflict
    Management in Groups

    Conflict Management (this topic provides basics in managing conflict
    in groups)]
    Consultants (hiring)
    Creative
    Thinking (very important when setting goals and how they will
    be reached)

    Innovation
    (very important when designing strategies, or methods to reach
    goals)

    Decision
    Making (useful when selecting which goals and strategies to follow)

    Facilitating
    in Face-to-Face Groups (these skills are very important when helping
    a group come to consensus)

    Focus
    Groups (get input from internal & external customers to identify
    issues, goals, methods)

    Group-Based
    Problem Solving and Decision Making (these activities are at the
    core of strategic planning)

    Meeting
    Management (planners make decisions in meetings; these skills
    will be very useful)

    Problem
    Solving (this is helpful, especially when tackling difficult decisions)

    Valuing
    Diversity (it’s best to get a wide variety of perspectives when
    planning
    )

    Need Consultant or Facilitator to Help You With Planning?

    You may want to consider using a facilitator from outside of
    your organization if:
    1. Your organization has not conducted strategic planning before.
    2. For a variety of reasons, previous strategic planning was not
    deemed to be successful.
    3. There appears to be a wide range of ideas and/or concerns among
    organization members about strategic planning and current organizational
    issues to be addressed in the plan.
    4. There is no one in the organization who members feel has sufficient
    facilitation skills.
    5. No one in the organization feels committed to facilitating
    strategic planning for the organization.
    6. Leaders believe that an inside facilitator will either inhibit
    participation from others or will not have the opportunity to
    fully participate in planning themselves.
    7. Leaders want an objective voice, i.e., someone who is not likely
    to have strong predispositions about the organization’s strategic
    issues and ideas.

    (Also see Consultants (using).)

    Who Should Be Involved in Planning?

    Strategic planning should be conducted by a planning team.
    Consider the following guidelines when developing the team.
    (Note that reference to boards of directors is in regard to organizations
    that are corporations.)
    1. The chief executive and board chair should be included in the
    planning group, and should drive development and implementation
    of the plan.
    2. Establish clear guidelines for membership, for example, those
    directly involved in planning, those who will provide key information
    to the process, those who will review the plan document, those
    who will authorize the document, etc.
    3. A primary responsibility of a board of directors is strategic
    planning to effectively lead the organization. Therefore, insist
    that the board be strongly involved in planning, often including
    assigning a planning committee (often, the same as the executive
    committee).
    4. Ask if the board membership is representative of the organization’s
    clientele and community, and if they are not, the organization
    may want to involve more representation in planning. If the board
    chair or chief executive balks at including more of the board
    members in planning, then the chief executive and/or board chair
    needs to seriously consider how serious the organization is about
    strategic planning!
    5. Always include in the group, at least one person who ultimately
    has authority to make strategic decisions, for example, to select
    which goals will be achieved and how.
    6. Ensure that as many stakeholders as possible are involved in
    the planning process.
    7. Involve at least those who are responsible for composing and
    implementing the plan.
    8. Involve someone to administrate the process, including arranging
    meetings, helping to record key information, helping with flipcharts,
    monitoring status of prework, etc.
    9. Consider having the above administrator record the major steps
    in the planning process to help the organization conduct its own
    planning when the plan is next updated.

    Note the following considerations:
    10. Different types of members may be needed more at different
    times in the planning process, for example, strong board involvement
    in determining the organization’s strategic direction (mission,
    vision, and values), and then more staff involvement in determining
    the organization’s strategic analysis to determine its current
    issues and goals, and then primarily the staff to determine the
    strategies needed to address the issues and meet the goals.
    11. In general, where there’s any doubt about whether a certain
    someone should be involved in planning, it’s best to involve them.
    It’s worse to exclude someone useful then it is to have one or
    two extra people in planning — this is true in particular with
    organizations where board members often do not have extensive
    expertise about the organization and its products or services.
    12. Therefore, an organization may be better off to involve board
    and staff planners as much as possible in all phases of planning.
    Mixing the board and staff during planning helps board members
    understand the day-to-day issues of the organization, and helps
    the staff to understand the top-level issues of the organization.

    People
    to Invite to Your Non-Profit Strategic Planning Session

    How Many Planning Meetings Will We Need?

    Number and Duration of Planning Meetings

    1. New planners usually want to know how many meetings will
    be needed and what is needed for each meeting, i.e., they want
    a procedure for strategic planning. The number of meetings depends
    on whether the organization has done planning before, how many
    strategic issues and goals the organization faces, whether the
    culture of the organization prefers short or long meetings, and
    how much time the organization is willing to commit to strategic
    planning.
    2. Attempt to complete strategic planning in at most two to three
    months, or momentum will be lost and the planning effort may fall
    apart.

    Scheduling of Meetings

    1. Have each meeting at most two to three weeks apart when
    planning. It’s too easy to lose momentum otherwise.
    2. The most important factor in accomplishing complete attendance
    to planning meetings is evidence of strong support from executives.
    Therefore, ensure that executives a) issue clear direction that
    they strongly support and value the strategic planning process,
    and b) are visibly involved in the planning process.

    An Example Planning Process and Design of Meetings

    One example of a brief planning process is the following which
    includes four planning meetings and develops a top-level strategic
    plan which is later translated into a yearly operating plan by
    the staff:
    1. Planning starts with a half-day or all-day board retreat and
    includes introductions by the board chair and/or chief executive,
    their explanations of the organization’s benefits from strategic
    planning and the organization’s commitment to the planning process,
    the facilitator’s overview of the planning process, and the board
    chairs and/or chief executive’s explanation of who will be
    involved in the planning process. In the retreat, the organization
    may then begin the next step in planning, whether this be visiting
    their mission, vision, values, etc. or identifying current issues
    and goals to which strategies will need to be developed. (Goals
    are often reworded issues.) Planners are asked to think about
    strategies before the next meeting.
    2. The next meeting focuses on finalizing strategies to deal with
    each issue. Before the next meeting, a subcommittee is charged
    to draft the planning document, which includes updated mission,
    vision, and values, and also finalized strategic issues, goals,
    strategies. This document is distributed before the next meeting.
    3. In the next meeting, planners exchange feedback about the content
    and format of the planning document. Feedback is incorporated
    in the document and it is distributed before the next meeting.
    4. The next meeting does not require entire attention to the plan,
    e.g., the document is authorized by the board during a regular
    board meeting.
    5. Note that in the above example, various subcommittees might
    be charged to gather additional information and distribute it
    before the next planning meeting.
    6 Note, too, that the staff may take this document and establish
    a yearly operating plan which details what strategies will be
    implemented over the next year, who will do them, and by when.
    7. No matter how serious organizations are about strategic planning,
    they usually have strong concerns about being able to find time
    to attend frequent meetings. This concern can be addressed by
    ensuring meetings are well managed, having short meetings as needed
    rather than having fewer but longer meetings, and having realistic
    expectations from the planning project.

    Always First Do “Plan for a Plan”

    Too often, planners jump into the planning process by reviewing
    the organization’s mission or then establishing a vision and goals
    to achieve in the future. Instead, planners should always start
    by doing a “plan for a plan.” When planner skip this
    step, they too often produce a plan that is not relevant to the
    organization, unrealistic to apply, and inflexible to the culture
    and limitations of the organization.

    How
    to Start Strategic Planning – Plan for a Plan – Part 1 of 5

    How
    to Start Strategic Planning – Plan for a Plan – Part 2 of 5

    How
    to Start Strategic Planning – Plan for a Plan – Part 3 of 5

    How
    to Start Strategic Planning – Plan for a Plan – Part 4 of 5

    How
    to Start Strategic Planning – Plan for a Plan – Part 5 of 5




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    Strategic Analyses — Analyzing External and Internal Environments

    See a video
    about how to do a strategic analysis. From the Consultants
    Development Institute
    .

    (Many planners prefer to start strategic planning by clarifying
    the mission, vision and/or values of the organization. Other planners
    prefer to start by taking a wide look around the external environment
    of the organization and also the inside of the organization, and
    then clarifying/strategizing what the organization should do as
    a result of what the planners find. If you prefer to address the
    mission, vision and/or values next, then skip to those sections
    later on below.)

    A frequent complaint about strategic plans is that they are
    merely “to-do” lists of what to accomplish over the
    next few years. Or, others complain that strategic planning never
    seems to come in handy when the organization is faced with having
    to make a difficult, major decision. Or, other complain that strategic
    planning really doesn’t help the organization face the future.
    These complaints arise because organizations fail to conduct a
    thorough strategic analysis as part of their strategic planning
    process. Instead, planners decide to plan only from what they
    know now. This makes the planning process much less strategic
    and a lot more guesswork. Strategic analysis is the heart of the
    strategic planning process and should not be ignored.

    Taking a Wide Look Around the Outside
    of the Organization to Identify Opportunities and Threats

    An external analysis usually includes looking at various trends,
    including political, economic, societal, technological and ecological.

    What
    is an Environmental Scan?

    Environmental
    Scanning

    Consider
    These Diving Force Impacts

    Look Out! Environmental Scanning for Associations

    Also consider the needs and wants of stakeholders — do a stakeholder
    analysis.:

    Stakeholder
    Analysis

    Stakeholder Consultations

    Looking Around Inside of Organization to Identify Strengths
    and Weaknesses

    The following assessments might be useful in helping you to
    take a look around the inside of your organization — to assess
    the quality of all of its operations.
    Organizational
    Assessments for For-profits

    Organizational
    Assessments for Nonprofit

    People Problems Masquerading as Business Problems

    Setting Strategic Direction

    Strategizing – Establishing Strategic
    Goals and Methods/Strategies to Achieve them

    Understanding Strategy and Strategic
    Thinking

    Basics
    of Strategizing (during strategic planning)

    Strategy
    Is …

    Strategy:
    Definitions and Meaning

    Three
    Forms of Strategy

    Five
    Essentials of an Effective Strategy

    When
    Strategizing, Use “Sanity Solution”

    What
    is a Strategic Decision?

    Being Strategic and Creating Strategy Aren’t the
    Same Thing

    Want to Be More Strategic? Think Content and Process
    The Four Myths of Strategy
    Lessons in Adaptive Strategy
    Strategy First … Then Structure
    Choosing
    the Words of Strategy

    How to Successfully Manage Opposing Strategies
    Why We Need More Whys in Strategic Planning
    The
    Borders Tale: What Goes Around Comes Around

    The
    State of Strategy Consulting

    What is a Strategic Leader? A Person of Imagination
    5 Essential Books for Strategic Thinkers
    Emily Dickinson on Strategic Thinking
    The Five Competitive Forces That Shape Strategy
    Strategy and the Internet
    Clusters and the New Economics of Competition
    From Competitive Advantage to Corporate Strategy
    How Information Gives You Competitive Advantage
    How Strategy Shapes Structure

    Also consider

    Creative
    Thinking (useful when strategizing new ideas)

    Innovation
    (also use when strategizing new ideas)

    The preceding topics in the Library can be useful when thinking
    of creative approaches to address priorities found in planning.

    One of the most important reasons that organizations do strategic
    planning is to ensure that they remain sustainable — that they
    not only survive, but that they thrive well into the future. So
    it’s important to understand what makes an organization sustainable
    — it’s not just getting enough money. See
    Organizational Sustainability

    Do a SWOT Analysis of Results of
    Looking Outside and Inside the Organization?

    Now that you’ve identified opportunities (O) and threats (T)
    and also strengths (S) and weaknesses (W), you could to do a SWOT
    analysis in order to identify important priorities to address
    and how to address them, i.e., identify strategic goals and methods/strategies
    to achieve them. Note that the next section below, “Other
    Guidelines …”, also gives ideas about how analyze results
    of your strategic analyses.

    Basics
    of Identifying Strategic Issues and Goals

    SWOT
    Analysis: A Powerful and Underutilized Tool

    SWOT Analysis In Action

    Some Questions to Ask During a SWOT Analysis
    Turn Weaknesses into Strengths by Updating Your
    SWOT

    The TOWS Matrix: Putting a SWOT Analysis into Action

    Here are some examples of SWOT analyses:

    example
    another example

    Other Guidelines to Identify Strategic
    Goals and Methods/Strategies to Achieve Goals

    In addition to a SWOT analysis, or you choose not to do one,
    consider the guidelines in the following articles. Each might
    give ideas for how to identify the best approaches to selecting
    the best goals and methods/strategies to achieve those goals.

    Consider Your Business Model
    (For-Profit and Nonprofit)

    A
    Key Strategic Choice: When to Outsource Work

    Strategic
    Thinking and the Law of Nemesis

    Strategy, Business Model, and Who’s Your Customer
    Decentralized Organization Structures Empower
    and Energize

    Also consider
    Business
    Development

    Evaluate Your Strategies
    When You Think the Strategy is Wrong
    How to audit your business strategy
    Are You Implementing Your Strategy Or Studying
    It?

    Leading Competitive Differentiation — Walk the
    Talk

    Growing
    Your Organization

    The
    Strategic Advantage of the Upstart Competitor

    Making Your Strategy Work on the Frontline
    Competitive Advantage
    Why Strategy Fails




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    Developing/Updating a Mission Statement

    (As mentioned above, many planners prefer to start strategic
    planning by clarifying the mission, vision and/or values of the
    organization. Other planners prefer to start by taking a wide
    look around the external environment of the organization and also
    the inside, and then clarifying/strategizing what the organization
    should do as a result of what the planners find. If you prefer
    first to do those analyses, then see the Strategic Analysis section
    above.)

    What’s
    Real Purpose of Word-Smithing Mission Statements?

    Mission Impossible? How to Write Your Mission
    Statement

    Some Criteria for Mission Statement to Meet
    Do You Have a Mission Statement, or Are You on
    a Mission?

    5
    Tips on Developing an Effective Mission Statement

    How to Create an Effective Non-Profit Mission
    Statement

    Suggestion: Use your browser to do a search for “mission
    statements”. This likely will result in numerous links to
    a wide variety of organization’s mission statements that you can
    review as samples of mission statements.

    Developing/Updating a Vision Statement

    Basics
    in Developing a Vision Statement

    Building
    a Visionary Organization is a Do-It-Yourself Project

    Why Should Anyone Trust Your Vision?
    How
    to Write a Compelling Change Vision Statement

    Use
    Grand Vision or Strategic Vision When Strategic Planning?

    Getting Started on a Vision
    Suggestion: Use your browser to do a search for “vision
    statements”. This likely will result in numerous links to
    a wide variety of organization’s vision statements that you can
    review as samples of vision statements.

    Developing/Updating a Values Statement

    Basics
    in Developing a Values Statement

    What
    is a Values Statement?

    Developing Ethics
    Code and Statements of Values

    The Value of Organizational Values
    Suggestion: Use your browser to do a search for “values
    statements”. This likely will result in numerous links to
    a wide variety of organization’s values statements that you can
    review as samples of values statements.

    Action Planning and Operational Planning (Objectives, Responsibilities
    and Deadlines)

    See a video
    about how to do action planning. From the Consultants
    Development Institute
    .

    Strategic planning can be exhilarating when coming up with
    new visions and missions and values, talking about long-standing
    issues in the workplace and coming up with new and exciting opportunities.
    But without careful action planning — and diligently ensuring
    actions are carried out — the plan ends up collecting dust on
    a shelf. Many organizations develop action plans for the first
    year of a multi-year strategic plan and refer to that action plan
    as an “operational plan.”

    Basics
    of Action Planning (as part of strategic planning)
    Strategic
    Action Plans & Alignment

    The Goals Grid
    — A Tool for Clarifying Goals & Objectives

    How to Write Power Action Plans
    8 Quick Tips to Ensure Action Plans are Carried Out.
    Why You Need a Strategic Plan and an Action Plan

    Also consider
    Setting
    Employee Goals

    Management-by-Objectives
    (specifics about aligning goals throughout org.)

    Project
    Management (guidelines for thorough planning and tracking to reach
    goals)

    Writing and Communicating the Plan

    I’ve you’ve followed the guidelines, so far, throughout this
    Library topic, then writing your plan will be fairly straightforward.
    A frequent mistake at this point is not communicating the plan
    to enough people, including external stakeholders. The following
    link will be useful to you now.
    Basics
    of Writing and Communicating Your Plan

    Implementing, Monitoring, Evaluating and Deviating from the
    Plan — and Managing Change

    How Do We Ensure Implementation
    of Our New Plan?

    A frequent complaint about the strategic planning process is
    that it produces a document that ends up collecting dust on a
    shelf — the organization ignores the precious information depicted
    in the document.

    The following guidelines will help ensure that the plan is
    implemented.
    (Note that reference to boards of directors is in regard to organizations
    that are corporations.
    1. When conducting the planning process, involve the people who
    will be responsible for implementing the plan. Use a cross-functional
    team (representatives from each of the major organization’s
    products or service) to ensure the plan is realistic and collaborative.
    2. Ensure the plan is realistic. Continue asking planning participants
    “Is this realistic? Can you really do this?”
    3. Organize the overall strategic plan into smaller action plans,
    often including an action plan (or work plan) for each committee
    on the board.
    4. In the overall planning document, specify who is doing what
    and by when (action plans are often referenced in the implementation
    section of the overall strategic plan). Some organizations may
    elect to include the action plans in a separate document from
    the strategic plan, which would include only the mission, vision,
    values, key issues and goals, and strategies. This approach carries
    some risk that the board will lose focus on the action plans.
    5. In an implementation section in the plan, specify and clarify
    the plan’s implementation roles and responsibilities. Be
    sure to detail particularly the first 90 days of the implementation
    of the plan. Build in regular reviews of status of the implementation
    of the plan.
    6. Translate the strategic plan’s actions into job descriptions
    and personnel performance reviews.
    7. Communicate the role of follow-ups to the plan. If people know
    the action plans will be regularly reviewed, implementers tend
    to do their jobs before they’re checked on.
    8. Be sure to document and distribute the plan, including inviting
    review input from all.
    9. Be sure that one internal person has ultimate responsibility
    that the plan is enacted in a timely fashion.
    10. The chief executive’s support of the plan is a major
    driver to the plan’s implementation. Integrate the plan’s
    goals and objectives into the chief executive’s performance
    reviews.
    11. Place huge emphasis on feedback to the board’s executive
    committee from the planning participants.

    Consider all or some of the following to ensure the plan is
    implemented.
    12. Have designated rotating “checkers” to verify, e.g.,
    every quarter, if each implementer completed their assigned tasks.
    13. Have pairs of people be responsible for tasks. Have each partner
    commit to helping the other to finish the other’s tasks on
    time.

    5 Ways to Achieve Follow Through
    8 Quick Tips to Ensure Action Plans are Carried
    Out

    The Secret to Ensuring Follow-Through

    Monitoring Implementation, Evaluating
    Implementation — and Deviating from Plan, If Necessary

    As stated several times throughout this library topics (and
    in materials linked from it), too many strategic plans end up
    collecting dust on a shelf. Monitoring and evaluating the planning
    activities and status of implementation of the plan is — for
    many organizations — as important as identifying strategic issues
    and goals. One advantage of monitoring and evaluation is to ensure
    that the organization is following the direction established during
    strategic planning. That advantage is obvious. However, another
    major advantage is that the management can learn a great deal
    about the organization and how to manage it by continuing to monitor
    and evaluate the planning activities and the status of the implementation
    of the plan. Note that plans are guidelines. They aren’t rules.

    Basics
    of Monitoring and Evaluating and Deviating from the Strategic
    Plan

    Basics
    of Monitoring and Evaluating and Deviating from the Strategic
    Plan

    How to effectively track the implementation of your strategic plans

    ROI vs. EOSC — Evidence of Sustained Capability

    Changing the Plan As Necessary
    During Implementation

    It’s OK to deviate from a plan. But planners should understand
    the reason for the deviations and update the plan to reflect the
    new direction.
    How
    to Change Your Strategic Plan

    The following links are to major topics in the Library that
    are all about guiding change in your organization:

    Guidelines to Manage Organizational
    Change While Implementing the Plan

    As you are implementing your Plan, you will likely be making
    significant changes within your organization, whether changes
    to strategy, structure or policies. These should be done carefully.
    The following links are to resources to help you accomplish successful
    change.

    Guidelines, Methods and Resources for Organizational Change Agents

    Organizational
    Performance Management (useful for different methods to manage
    implementation plan)

    Management-by-Objectives
    (guidelines about aligning goals throughout organization)

    Project
    Management (guidelines for thorough planning and tracking to achieve
    goals)

    Handy Tool to Guarantee Plans Are Implemented

    It’s one thing to develop a plan. It’s another to actually
    implement the plan. Far too many plans sit untouched on shelves.
    A low-cost, straightforward approach to share ongoing support
    and accountabilities to implement a plan is to use peer coaching
    groups. That approach is brought to you by Authenticity Consulting,
    LLC — the same company that brings you this Free Management Library.
    Using
    Peer Coaching Groups(sm) to Ensure Accountability and Action


    GENERAL RESOURCES

    Strategic Planning: numerous articles organized in order of planning
    process

    How
    to Ensure Your Strategic Plan Becomes a Valued Tool


    Also consider
    Planning (Many Types)
    Basics of Planning
    Business Planning
    Project Management


    Learn More in the Library’s Blogs Related to Strategic Planning

    In addition to the articles on this current page, see the following blogs which
    have posts related to Strategic Planning. Scan down the blog’s page to see various
    posts. Also see the section “Recent Blog Posts” in the sidebar of
    the blog or click on “next” near the bottom of a post in the blog.

    Library’s
    Business Planning Blog

    Library’s
    Building a Business Blog

    Library’s
    Leadership Blog

    Library’s
    Project Management Blog

    Library’s
    Strategic Planning Blog

    Library’s
    Supervision Blog


    For the Category of Strategic Planning:

    To round out your knowledge of this Library topic, you may
    want to review some related topics, available from the link below.
    Each of the related topics includes free, online resources.

    Also, scan the Recommended Books listed below. They have been
    selected for their relevance and highly practical nature.

    Related Library Topics

    Recommended Books