In this blog MarchFifteen Strategic Partner, Neha Kotak, shares an approach to strategic planning that will help you structure the process in an easy, defined and – dare we say it – fun way, solidifying your organization’s focus for years to come. We hope you find this post to be helpful, and as always, do share your thoughts!
Strategic Planning: Demystifying the Complexity
By: Neha Kotak
The strategic planning process can appear enigmatic, onerous and mystical. It is because we operate with a set of assumptions that make it complex and seemingly difficult to accomplish. It can actually be very fun if we experience it as a process that brings clarity about our goals and the choices and decisions we need to make in order to achieve them.
To make strategic planning a simple and engaging process, here are some simple steps you can follow:
- Where do we want to be? Establish/Validate/Reaffirm the Mission, Vision and Values.
Before developing your game plan for the future, it is important for you to ensure alignment with respect to the core purpose (mission), internal compass (values) and future aspirations (vision) of your organization.
- Where are we today? Evaluate your internal and external environment (SWOT Analysis).
The next step in the strategic planning process is to conduct a SWOT analysis, to gain a robust and realistic view of the organization’s current and future state. The SWOT enables you to determine strategic issues and priorities related to your vision and goal. It is critical that in this process you prioritize these, so that you can focus on the top 4-6 priorities imperative to your success and maintain a laser sharp focus on what is important.
- How do we get there? Develop a strategic plan of action.
Once you have identified the strategic issues/priorities, envision the end goal or desired outcome. Having determined the strategic objective, create a road map that defines the actions that you will take in order to accomplish the objectives. Once you have the strategic blue print, it becomes easier to translate it into an operational plan.
- How do we know we’ve gotten there? Define metrics to measure success.
An integral part of the strategic planning process is to determine how you are going to measure success and timelines, so that you know you have achieved your goals and objectives in a timely and cost effective way. Assigning success measures or a scorecard to a strategic plan is a fundamental premise to driving transparency and accountability in the culture.
- Then what?
Once completed, you will need the courage to live with the consequences and implications of our choices, remain agile enough to quickly adapt based on internal and external dynamics, and follow through on your commitments.
So, to recap –
- Keep it simple, relevant and measurable.
- Prioritize your priorities.
- Be inclusive and collaborative.
- Celebrate success.
- Be agile.