Strategic planning is a very important business activity, practiced informally and formally. Strategic planning and decision processes should end with goals and a roadmap of ways to achieve them. As well as this, ways of measuring your success need to be developed.
One of the core goals when drafting a strategic plan is to develop it in a way that is easily translatable into business plans. Most strategic plans address high level initiatives and overarching goals, but don’t get translated into day-to-day projects and tasks that will be required to achieve the plan.
One of the board’s key functions is to set the goals or objectives of the organisation and to adopt a strategic plan that will enable it to achieve those objectives. Through participation in strategic direction setting, board members should know about their organisation and the environment in which it operates.
Strategic planning is an organisation’s process of defining its strategy, or direction, and making decisions on allocating its resources to pursue this strategy. In order to determine the future direction of the organisation, it is necessary to understand its current position and the possible avenues through which it can pursue particular courses of action. It also provides a mechanism by which the board assess the performance of management.
The key components of ‘strategic planning’ include an understanding of an organisation’s vision, mission, values and strategies.
- Vision: outlines what the business wants to be, or how it wants the world in which it operates to be. It is a long-term view and concentrates on the future. It is a source of inspiration.
- Mission: Defines the fundamental purpose of a business, succinctly describing why it exists and what it does to achieve its vision.
- Values: Beliefs that are shared among the stakeholders of a business. Values drive a business’ culture and priorities and provide a framework in which decisions are made.
- Strategy: Strategy means a combination of the ends, or goals for which the business is striving and the means by which it is seeking to get there.
A systematic approach to developing, reviewing and refining a strategic plan is as follows:
- Define the business and develop a mission
- Set objectives
- Develop a strategy to achieve the performance measures (KPIs)
- Evaluate the performance measures and adjust strategy to meet any outstanding items
Successful strategic implementation depends on the strategy being clearly communicated to the relevant stakeholders, both internally and externally.
“If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it”
Tom Malone, President Milliken & Company
Written by Michelle Swallow
Director – Leadership and Change Consultants