What Is Strategic Planning?
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- On June 15, 2017
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“Execution is a specific set of behaviors and techniques that companies need to master in order to have competitive advantage. It’s a discipline of its own,” according to Ram Charan and Larry Bossidy, authors of the best-selling business book, Execution. When you look at some of the world’s most successful companies, Apple, Alibaba, Uber and Amazon, you will see examples of a strategic vision matched by successful execution. And the commonality underlying all of these different businesses is a commitment to strategic planning.
So are you ready to start strategic planning? What does that mean, and what will be happening?
Simply stated, strategic planning is a process your company will use to determine where you are going and how you are going to get there. It includes these steps:
- Assessing your current position. You will want to take some time to carefully and thoughtfully identify your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. We call this a “SWOT” analysis. Knowing where you are at now will help get you to where you want to be in the future
- Identifying your purpose. This will become your “mission statement.” For example, “Our company exists to ensure the best business loan available for all our clients.”
- Setting goals that identify what you need to achieve the mission. Your goals should be specific and measurable, and will provide an indication of how you are doing as you progress.
- Deciding how to meet your goals. You will likely have to allocate resources (whether human or budgetary), create committees, or undertake other tasks to achieve your goals.
- Developing an action plan. Each step will require a specific action plan. For example, if a committee is needed, who will serve, exactly what tasks will be assigned, and when is a deadline to begin seeing the results?
- Monitoring and updating your plan. You should review the strategic plan regularly. If you learn that your earlier ideas and goals were shortsighted or uninformed, now is the time to update accordingly.
Probably the most important part of strategic planning is looking back and making the necessary adjustments. It happens too seldom and I am reminded of the adage that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. To quote Sir Winston Churchill, “however beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.”
This introspection is necessary for any successful strategy and should be part of the strategic plan for your business.