Developing a detailed strategic plan doesn’t have to be painful, expensive, or the next new shiny object that sits on a shelf and stares back. In fact, having a simple and easy-to-use plan that can be applied to daily decision-making is imperative to business success. Strategic business planning includes high-level thinking that aligns objectives and strategies with the vision and mission that leaders hope to accomplish. While this can be a challenge, it is the blueprint and guide each leader will use for daily execution and decision-making to achieve success.
A good starting point for the planning process should is to ask yourself or your team members three basic questions:
- Where are we now?
- Where do we want to be?
- What is going to get us there?
Without an understanding of what your current organization looks like, it will be very hard to move forward. Analyzing what is working or not working in your organization is fundamental to maintaining your competitive edge. One exercise commonly prescribed is a SWOT analysis – a planning exercise in which managers identify organizational strengths (S), weaknesses (W), environmental opportunities (O), and threats (T). Regardless of what you call it, if you are looking to achieve better results, look inside the organization first.
As you look at where you want to be, ask probing questions like: How many widgets do we want to sell? How much do we want to earn? How do we get from where we are today to where we want to be in the future? If you know where you want to be, you are already ahead of your competition. The strategies you create to get there can set you apart. To determine who you want to be, start by asking “how” questions. How questions can help you move from excuses to solutions and clarify and define what you want to be known for, how you get there, and how you become a solution oriented organization versus a transactional one.
What will it take to get you where you want to go? Great people combined with great planning is a good starting point. Author Marshall Goldsmith states, “People will do something—including changing their behavior—only if it can be demonstrated that doing so is in their own best interests as defined by their own values.” Leaders that collaborate, listen, and ask high-level questions will help create a sustainable and successful organization that increases both the value of the organization and its people.
Creating specific objectives and strategies that are clearly cascaded through the management team can help create an aligned and purpose driven organization. When the planning process is consistent, touches every level of management, and aligns with the vision and mission of the organization, the odds of increasing efficiency and effectiveness are strengthened. Having written plans that are frequently updated and followed can be the blueprint for success and organizational achievement.
To learn more, visit ascentleadershipresources.com.