Author: Susan K Spaulding ,
It is that time of year when many organizations are making strategic decisions about the coming year.
Whether you approach planning formally or informally, there are many ways to skin the cat. What is most important is that you have a workable plan and not just a laundry list of tasks. When that happens, according to a longitudinal, extensive study known as PIMS by the Marketing Science Institute, it is likely that you will see real, tangible results including:
So, why bother with a strategic planning process. A little structure can go a long way getting your team on the same page and keeping everyone on track and accountable.
As a starting point, a few tried and true planning tools can help bring sharp relief to where you are and where you need to go.
A SWOT analysis is a high-level model used at the beginning of an organization’s strategic planning. It is an acronym for “strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.” Strengths and weaknesses are considered internal factors, and opportunities and threats are considered external factors.
Another tool is PEST—it stands for “political, economic, sociocultural, and technological.” Each of these factors is used to look at an industry or business environment, and determine what could affect an organization’s health.
From long-proven tools to a creative based tool is Design Thinking – a disruptive process that has its roots in a co-creation process. It begins with immersion where you identify the problems to be solved. Once identified, the problems can be analyzed and Design Thinking Tools can be used in ideation, a process of uncovering innovative solutions. This is followed by prototyping and getting feedback on the ideas and strategies that have been prioritized. And, finally, it provides a template for planning and execution.
Five Stages of Design Thinking
All of these tools can be used in developing a fact-based framework for your strategic plan.
Now, what framework do you use to create your plan. Here are a few planning models that have proven effective for small, mid-sized and large organizations:
SMART goals are:
The important part of planning is to provide structure and prioritization for where you want to go. Any of these models will help. Choose what will work based on the growth stage of your organization.
Once you have an overarching plan then remember to engage your workforce with the goals and help them understand the impact they have on reaching the goals — goals that benefit the organization and each individual.
When you take time to plan rather than just winging it you will appreciate the outcomes, including:
Author Susan Spaulding is a business strategist with the Executive on Demand program from Core Catalysts. Executive on Demand provides short-term C-Suite leaders resources for business transformation.