The Value of Strategic Planning
Success can only be measured by comparing the current state of affairs with previously established goals. Therefore, strategic planning functions as an organization’s means for both setting goals and then later measuring their success in meeting them.
What Is Strategic Planning?
Strategic planning is the organizational creation of priorities and benchmarks by which the future of the organization should be guided. The process of strategic planning provides an opportunity for management and stakeholders to align their visions for the company, finding common ground. The output of the strategic planning process can be used to guide future decisions, provide insight into company ideals, and as a concrete point of reference for measuring the success of the organization over time.
Initial strategic planning is essential in the beginning stages of organization structuring. It is also a process that should be reevaluated over time as the organization fails or succeeds to meet the goals established in strategic plans. Analysis of past strategic plans is done to inform future strategic plans, giving insight into the organization’s effectiveness. The process itself is a valuable experience for those involved and the output created provides detailed, actionable goals for navigating towards the organization’s future.
Keys for Strategic Planning Success
1. Establish Ownership
Embracing inclusivity of ownership is essential for making the most of the strategic planning process. Bringing others into the fold and giving them a say during the process will create a sense of ownership in the plan. This drastically increases the personal investment of team members by giving them a voice in the future of the organization and their role within it.
2. Be Realistic.
A good strategic plan is intended to function as both a guide for finding success as well as a rule for measuring that success. This means goals must be detailed, actionable, and achievable. Set your sights high to give everyone something to strive for, but keep your goals grounded enough so that they’re actually achievable. This will inspire everyone to give it their all while still establishing goal posts that are within reach.
3. Evaluate and Adjust as Needed.
Strategic plans are intended to create goals. This means strategic plans will age and become obsolete over time as these goals are achieved or as the organization shifts away from them by necessity or preference. Performing regular evaluations of strategic plans will ensure the organization remains on track, remaining fluid enough to adapt to the changing landscape of their industry and the world at large.
No single plan can take every factor into account. This means strategic planning must be an ongoing process that involves regular analysis and reconsideration. Evaluations are also opportunities to improve inclusivity and bring more people into the fold to gain new perspectives.
4. Commit to Your Strategic Plan.
Strategic plans provide no value if you set them and forget them. They require regular analysis and a commitment to seeing them through to provide real value to your business. Tools can only provide value when they are put to proper and regular use. Understand the importance of establishing goals and sticking to them while maintaining the flexibility to adjust as necessary. By doing so, you’ll find that success is more than a vague notion.