In my last post, I outlined three critical ingredients for a great Strategic Plan. Assuming you have the right people and you allocate adequate time, the final element is a proven process to guide your journey.

There are many different approaches you can take. Here’s my favorite:

Clarify Your Destination – Some call this the vision, other may use the term mission – Jim Collins might call it a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal). Regardless of what you call it, you need to be able to define the preferred future you are pursuing. This can be at the organizational level, departmental level or even a goal for a team. A clear destination is the critical first step in the process.

Scan the Environment – This is reality check time. Get input from your employees, your customers, your vendors and learn what you can about your competition and the industry. All this information will help you make good decisions regarding your obstacles and your opportunities.   

Set Strategic Priorities – Now that your destination is clear and you understand your current reality, it’s time to set your strategic priorities (in some organizations, these would be called Objectives). These represent the primary things you’ll focus on in the months and years to come in order to move towards your destination. As an example, if you want to be a top 10 place to work by 2020, one strategic priority might be to enhance employee benefits.

Set Specific Goals – This is a critical step in the process. The magnitude of the goal WILL determine the strategies you select. If you want a 5% increase in sales, that warrants certain types of strategies. If you want a 20% increase in sales, that demands a TOTALLY different approach. That’s the point. Set your goals and then devise strategies to achieve them.

Determine Key Strategies  – With the priorities and goals set, you can determine the strategies that will have the greatest impact on your success. If you are a school administrator and your goal is to improve test scores by 20%, you might set strategies that include: increase parental involvement, lengthen the school day and increase teacher development.

Then, after the Strategic Plans are established, you can ask individual functions to create the Operating Plans and budgets.

Although this is my last post on Strategic Planning for now, if  you have questions or comments, I’d love to hear from you.[GLS_Shield]

 

Author: Mark Miller

Mark is a business leader, author, communicator, photographer, husband, and father. He spends his time helping leaders grow.