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Strategic Planning: A 10-Step Planning Process

Strategic Planning: A 10-Step Planning Process

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Essential Planning for Lasting Enterprise Growth

Organizations of all sizes must plan for the future if they want to remain competitive. Strategic planning is an essential process that enables companies to set their course in a changing world. Many organizations devote time and energy to this process every three to five years, while others may not commit the same level of attention to the details. However, a comprehensive and dynamic planning process should occur annually or quarterly, depending on the type of business. Less than two thirds of businesses plan for over a year ahead, but with proper strategic planning, companies are better able to anticipate and navigate industry changes.

Strategic Planning Defined

Strategic planning is an ongoing process that unites a company�s stakeholders to understand their current situation and establish a vision for the future. During the process, an organization identifies its strengths and weaknesses, assesses opportunities, creates a purpose and goals, and establishes an operational plan tied to key objectives and metrics. The output of the planning process should be a document that reflects each department�s tactical plans and outlines how resources should be allocated.

Strategic Planning for Individuals

At Shiken, an emphasis is placed on strategic planning skills and developing the �Whole Person Model�. Strategic planning is also an essential skill for individuals as it helps them chart their course towards the outcomes they desire. Working backward from the desired outcome, individuals can develop an actionable plan that is in-line with their long-term goals.

The practice of envisioning a preferred future state and figuring out how to reach it provides a sense of motivation and personal meaning. As Harvard Business School Professor Clayton Christensen said, �strategy should not be viewed as an event, but as an ongoing process.� This process begins with a clear vision and purpose, and involves setting goals that are long-term and forward-focused. In order to track progress, the operational plan should consist of objectives and initiatives that are measurable and agile enough to accommodate changes.

Understanding Strategic Planning for Long-term Success

Strategic planning is an essential tool for any organization or individual looking to reach their desired objectives and achieve success in the long-term. By taking the time to plan strategically, organizations and individuals are able to create a roadmap to success and ensure that they are on the right path. With the right resources, tools, and vision for the future, anything is possible.

Benefits and Strategic Planning Process

When faced with unexpected opportunities and threats, it is important for companies to respond quickly and effectively. The best strategies arise gradually, through a continuous process of reflection, evaluation, and adjustment. The saying "if you fail to plan, you plan to fail" rings true, especially for strategic business management, which creates and preserves the roadmap to success. Strategic business management encompasses conducting research to formulating to evaluating and adjusting, which all are necessary for the setting of goals and steps needed to reach them.

Many organizations collapse due to the lack of a proper strategic management team to guide the planning process. It is important that all company personnel, including senior leaders, managers, and other staff, remain persistent in its implementation. A strategic management team should connect objectives and daily operational metrics throughout the organization and monitor progress.

The advantages of a strong strategic planning and management system are tremendous. In addition to setting up an organization and each individual for success, it will reduce the risk of being side-tracked and will make it easier to communicate progress and any corrections to the right people. Budgets can be laid out accordingly, and employees will be provided with performance-based rewards and appropriate training.

To reap these benefits, here is a ten-step process used for strategic planning:

  • Step 1: Define mission and vision. Generate the vision, mission, and purpose of the organization. Questions to answer include: what would success look like in five years? What values will inform and determine mission, vision, and purpose?
  • Step 2: Comprehensive assessment. Collect data from both internal and external sources to get a full picture of the organization and its stakeholders. A SWOT analysis should also be conducted to identify Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.
  • Step 3: Operational and tactical objectives. Based on the assessments from the second step, operational objectives are outlined and day-to-day actions are planned.
  • Step 4: Make goals actionable. Actionable goals stimulate the planning process and help keep the end goal in sight.
  • Step 5: Align resources. Lay down budgets and assign resources to allow the organization to focus on its goals.
  • Step 6: Communicate. Establish clear communication channels and assign teams to monitor progress.
  • Step 7: Monitor progress. Metrics will be used to keep track of progress and changes in strategy. Priorities can be adjusted based on the metrics.
  • Step 8: Appoint leaders. It is important to select the right leaders to stay focused on long-term goals and maintain the organization's core beliefs.
  • Step 9: Embrace innovation. Implementing innovative ideas and processes can help the organization stay ahead of the competition.
  • Step 10: Document and distribute the strategic plan. It is important to document decisions and share the strategic plan across the entire enterprise, so everyone understands and works toward the same goals.

By following these steps, organizations and individuals can use strategic planning to create long-term success and reach their desired objectives. With the right tools, resources, and vision, anything is possible.

Creating a Successful Strategic Planning Process

Designing and implementing a successful strategic planning process is no small feat. It requires time and effort, however the long-term benefits for the organisation are worth it. To be successful, the plan must align the company's core beliefs and resources, and have strong leaders to monitor progress accurately.

Steps for Developing an Effective Strategy

  • Step 1: Identify the external factors that can affect your organisation's performance.
  • Step 2: Analyse your organisation's current situation. Assess your internal strengths and weaknesses.
  • Step 3: Analyse the market opportunities and threats. Assess how customers and other stakeholders may react.
  • Step 4: Develop a vision and set of values for the organisation.
  • Step 5: Determine the core strategies or business activities that the organisation needs to focus on.
  • Step 6: Set long-term goals. This includes outlining the performance targets, the timeline for reaching them, and the resources needed to get there.
  • Step 7: Develop a plan of action. It is essential to assign individual tasks and responsibilities, and to set clear start and completion dates.
  • Step 8: Monitor progress regularly. Regular progress reports and meetings will ensure that everything stays on track.
  • Step 9: Encourage and recognize creativity. Motivate employees to come up with new ideas and recognize creative contributions.
  • Step 10: Establish an open feedback system. Use it to make adjustments as needed.

Assessing Rival Companies

When looking at the strength of an organization's competitors, it is important to ask - how do our products and services compare? If the competition is intense, companies must consider the advantage they can gain through price cuts or unique marketing strategies. On the other hand, if there is little competition, the organization will possess a distinct advantage in the marketplace.

Supplier and Buyer Power

Suppliers and buyers can have a great deal of influence on an organisation's strategy. It's necessary to ask - if a supplier raises their prices, what is the company's course of action? Will they need to switch suppliers, and if so, is it affordable and efficient? Similarly, buyers can shift the power in their favour when there are few options when it comes to shopping. In order to remain competitive, an organisation must be able to forecast the potential success of their strategies.

Threats of Substitution and New Entry

Organisations must always be wary of the threat that their customers will substitute their goods or services with other alternatives. Additionally, they must consider how difficult it is for a new organisation to enter their market. Analysing all these factors, the organisation must assign measurable results to the plan to obtain a return on investment.

Aligning with Key Stakeholders

For a strategic plan to be successful, everyone involved must be on the same page. It is essential that the entire workforce is aware of the organisation's goals and objectives. This shared knowledge will make it easier to make cross-functional decisions.

Strategy Mapping

Strategy mapping is a helpful tool to visualise the cause-effect of each perspective, and how they are related to the strategic objectives. This makes understanding and sharing knowledge across the organisation much easier.

Determining Strategic Initiatives

Once the strategic objectives are identified, organisations must then work out the strategic initiatives that will bring them closer to their goals. A balanced scorecard methodology can be used to measure success in four perspectives - financial, customer satisfaction, staff engagement, and stakeholder relations.

Strategic Planning: What it is and How to Achieve Goals

Strategic planning is a circular process that begins and ends with an evaluation in order to create an improved plan and to reach the desired objectives. This informs the organization on what actions must be taken in order to achieve those objectives. These could include scope, budget, brand awareness, product development, and employee training.

Benchmarking Performance Measures and Analysis

Strategic initiatives help to create SMART goals, to which metrics can be assigned to evaluate performance. This data can then be used to determine overall success, allowing organizations to learn from their mistakes and change their plans accordingly.

Understanding Strategic Planning in the Workplace

In order to understand the nuances of the strategic planning process, it is important to define strategy and tactics. A strategy is a long-term plan of action designed to achieve a particular goal, and tactics are the specific actions or steps taken in order to carry out the strategy. To measure performance, benchmarks need to be established and then key performance indicators (KPIs) assigned, based on organizational goals.

Performance Evaluation

The next step is to perform a performance evaluation in order to assess whether the plan has been successful. This process measures activities and progress toward objectives, and allows for improved plans or objectives when necessary. How often a plan should be reviewed depends on the industry - for those in rapidly evolving industries, it may be required to review the plan on a quarterly basis, while others may only need to do so once a year.

Strategic Planning and Life Planning

Life planning can also be a great tool to help individuals reach their goals. It is an action-oriented process that looks at the big picture of your life and helps you navigate through life's challenges. It can also help you set and reach your goals in a more efficient and effective way. Life planning includes an assessment of your values, your self-image, your current circumstances, and your potential.

Strategic Foresight

Organizations can also use strategic foresight to stay ahead of their competition. Strategic foresight is the process of looking ahead and anticipating potential changes in the environment and how they could impact the organization. It is a way for the organization to anticipate and plan for the future, and to make sure that they are prepared and ready for any potential changes. This can help them stay ahead of their competitors and better position themselves in the market.


Strategic planning is a complex process that requires a great deal of thought and analysis. It is important to understand the process and the distinction between strategy and tactics in order to create an effective and successful plan. By taking the time to create goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based, and to evaluate the progress made against these goals, organizations can ensure that their strategic plans are successful. Life planning can also be a great tool for individuals to reach their goals and take control of their lives. And finally, strategic foresight can help an organization stay ahead of the competition and anticipate potential changes in the environment.

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