strategy, business model, planning processDoes your strategic planning process seem more like an exercise? You’re not alone. McKinsey explored some key shifts impacting the strategic planning process. In this post we’ll explore 7 steps to “achieve more” satisfaction for one of the most valuable endeavors for every company – your strategic plan.

What We Know About Strategic Planning and its Process

  1. Many executives are unsatisfied with their company’s approach to corporate planning and strategy.
  2. While many companies have a formal planning process, many leaders don’t find the process useful for making their most important decisions.
  3. In some companies, the CEO leads the strategic planning process. In others, it is lead by the Chief Strategy Office or a strategy group that exists at the corporate or business unit level.

Do these reflect your experience with strategic planning? Your strategic plan provides the direction and outlines measurable outcomes for an organization. It serves as the tool for guiding day-to-day decisions and evaluating progress. A valuable strategic plan takes your vision, mission and purpose into account. 

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7 Steps to Improve Your Strategic Plan

We have found these 7 steps enable our customers to achieve more satisfaction with their strategic plans. You might find these helpful as well.

Improve your strategic planning with these 7 steps,

1. Formalize your process. First and foremost, have a process. No matter who leads the decision making, executives at companies that make good use of a formal process seem to be more satisfied with strategic plans. There are various approaches, pick one that works for your organization. Document it by creating a process map. Employ the process regularly and consistently.

2. Define the decision making criteria. Evaluate your strategy options against your preset company priorities. For example, degree of customer pain, market size potential or fit with your current product portfolio may be important considerations against which to evaluate challenges and opportunities.

3. Engage the board the right way. Whether private or public you have key stakeholders. Engage these stakeholders during the development process to gain buy-in for the final strategy. Research has found that boards where respondents are satisfied with their planning are twice as likely to monitor the company’s progress against the strategic plan and three times as likely to spend time identifying key strategic issues facing the company.

4. Focus on growth opportunities. Sadly, many companies don’t particularly focus their corporate planning on new opportunities for growth. A key reason for having a strategic plan is to understand the opportunities for growth and to make decisions on how best to pursue these opportunities. Assess your strategic options. Evaluate the market and competitive environment to identify your best opportunities. Develop and use a process for weighting and ranking growth opportunities. process

5. Address strategic issues. It is very easy to get mired down in the day-to-day. Avoid turning your strategic planning into a tactical working session. Focus your strategic plan on strategic, NOT tactical, issues. Consider using strategic issues, rather than a calendar-based planning cycle, to drive your company’s approach to strategic planning. Focus your strategic plan on decisions that allow the company to overcome and capitalize on these issues.

6. Execute, execute, execute. Producing a strategic plan that reflects your company’s goals and challenges only matters if you execute it correctly. Aligning management with the strategy is essential to supporting the plan’s execution. Ensure that all the outcomes are explicitly communicated throughout the company.

7. Monitor and report progress. Develop the measures of success during the corporate planning process. Measure and report on progress to the plan – at least monthly.

Planning is in our DNA. Facilitated planning sessions allow everyone on the team to be active participants.

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