Pursuit of Excellence Blog

Do I have a really good strategic plan? How do I know?

Posted by Dawn Garcia on July 2, 2018

 

Hand drawing results graph with white chalk on blackboard

If your business has been around for a few years, a strategic plan should be your road map to taking the company to the next level of growth and profitability. If you don't have one, don't really see the value in the process, or believe that the one that's been on the shelf for five to ten years is working for you, then this article is for you. A really good strategic plan develops from a process of deeply understanding your business within your industry, now, while considering the best future potential within the market. Without a really good strategic plan, your business success potential is limited. Every business should have one, regardless of size...

The strategic planning process is different for every organization, based on each organization's strengths, needs and industry sector. Given that, how do you know if your strategy is on target? That question keeps many business leaders up at night. If you're one of them, we'll cover some key points here where you can evaluate your current process against some best practices, and see where how strategy compares. {Hint: if yours doesn't pass muster, just give us a call, and we'll help you improve it.} 

Strategic Planning Process Overview

Generally, a strategic planning process (SPP) is a cycle of short- and long-term planning for the direction of the business, based upon the organization's mission, vision, values, and core competencies. The SPP cycle typically has a data and process review phase at the beginning, including an environmental scan of changes in the industry, in view of internal perfomance to targets, goals, and previous strategic objectives. The scan also includes market performance by product or service offering, as available. Following the data review, SPP participants evaluate the effectiveness of the prior strategic plan, in view of market and industry changes. The mission, vision and values are reviewed and updated first, ensuring that the company is aligned to its strengths and purpose. Then, strategic priorities are reviewed and updated by the SPP team participants. Next, specific strategic objectives are developed, usually as a result of a facilitated team ideation process. Once the objectives are set, and supported with available resources, then action plans can be created with individual or team accountabilities. Action plans are usually monitored at least quarterly during the calendar year, with key metric outcome and strategic objective evaluation, and modification if external changes occur. At the end of the SPP cycle, a process evaluation phase should precede the development of the next strategic plan. Strong and effective strategic plans have all of these pieces, but more importantly, the pieces support achievement of the mission, on the path to the organization's vision. If your business isn't growing or advancing in your market, revisit your strategic plan, and create a better one. If you have questions - we're here to help.  

Have a Question?

One common question of leaders preparing for a SPP process discussion is: Who should participate in the SPP discussions and planning sessions? The answer depends on your organizational structure of course, however we generally recommend that you engage your senior leaders (since that's their role), key stakeholders (those who have a vested interest in your business growth & success), and members of your governance team (board members). Most importantly, you will need feedback from your customers. You may gather this feedback from your workforce, or directly from your customers through surveys or focus groups. If you overlook the importance of your customer feedback and input, your business strategy will be compromised. 

 Related Article: Grow Your Business!

Another common question is Who can facilitate the SPP ideation session? Typically one of two options is used, depending on the organization's resources and governance expectations: 1) an internal facilitator, or member of leadership, or 2) an external expert facilitator or consultant. When considering both options, the key is to determine the potential impact of the SPP to business growth and progress toward the vision. If the organization is progressing effectively, and an annual update of the SPP is needed as a check-in, an internal resource may be effective. If you're preparing for a major new product, service or expansion, or are struggling to maintain or grow, an external resource is needed. The enemy of an effective SPP is complacency and blind spots. In most cases, an external facilitator achieves a better SPP plan and results alignment. 

Getting The Right Help

It's the time of year when many business leaders are either planning to meet with the board for an annual strategic planning retreat, or they're scrambling to find the right facilitator. Keep in mind that some of the best facilitators may be just around the corner, highly qualified, experienced, and capable of leading your business to the next level. Understand what your organization needs in finding the right facilitator, based on your participants. We can help. Check out our planning guide to see if you're on the right path, or Let's Connect . Your business' future is worth doing it right!   

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 Dawn Garcia is Principal and Founder of Pursuit of Excellence LLC, an independent business management consulting firm specializing in service-based businesses; delivering leadership, strategy and execution expertise. Experience the Excellence Driven® System for your business, and achieve the results you need! Every business needs help at some point; great business leaders actually get help when needed, realizing greater returns. When you need help, consult the experts. Our success is your success!  

 

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