There are ten aspects which are important to be included for consideration in the development of a strategic plan. They include:Agreed on Process for Strategic PlanningIdentification of Organization MandatesClarification of Mission/Vision/ValuesConduct a SWOT AnalysisIdentify Strategic IssuesForm Plans to Manage the Strategic IssuesReview and Adopt the Strategies and PlanEstablish Effective Organizational VisionDevelopment Implementation ProcessReassess Strategy and Plan ContinuouslyWe are now going to discuss the importance of each of these phases of the process.Bryson, J. (1995). Strategic planning for public and nonprofit organizations: A guide to strengthening and sustaining organizational achievement. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Agreed on Process for Strategic PlanningIt is important to identify and develop a process for strategic planning.“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”.Important parts of developing the process include the following:Identification of an organizational champion, ideally the CEO, who can influence unilateral participation in the planGet multiple people involved in the development and ongoing processEngage the support of a skilled facilitator who can guide and move the process forwardThe agreement itself should cover these points:The purpose of the effortPreferred steps in the processThe form and timing of reportsThe role, functions, and membership of any group or committee empowered to oversee the effortThe role, functions, and membership of the strategic planning teamThe commitment of necessary resources to proceed with the effortTaking time initially to determine an agreed upon process answers any questions and establishes expectations for commitment, involvement, and the importance of the strategic plan to the organization.Bryson, J. (1995). Strategic planning for public and nonprofit organizations: A guide to strengthening and sustaining organizational achievement. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Identification of Organization MandatesIdentification of organizational mandates includes an understanding of the aspects which must be included for the organization. This is an important step of the process in that it helps to avoid the following organizational risks:First, not knowing what employees must do, they are unlikely to do it.Second, employees may believe they are more tightly constrained in their actions than they actually are. By communicating the mandates, clear understanding is set and speculation is reduced.Third, employees may assume that if they are not explicitly told to do something, they are not allowed to do it. Clarification of mandates takes the restrictions off of employees and allows the ability for empowerment and creative problem solving.Bryson, J. (1995). Strategic planning for public and nonprofit organizations: A guide to strengthening and sustaining organizational achievement. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Clarification of Mission/Vision/ValuesClarification of a company’s mission, vision, and values is an essential foundational component to the strategic planning process. This step allows for individuals to have a clear understanding of the purpose of the company, the reason for being, and the fundamental thoughts and behaviors through which all decisions are made. This leads to unilateral alignment and the ability for employees to have confidence that that plans are congruent with the purpose and direction of the company.
Conduct a SWOT AnalysisA SWOT analysis is a process by which an organization is able to assess Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. It is a great way to take a strategic look at a company. It is also a wonderful tool for gathering a team. It is recommended that a SWOT analysis be part of every strategic planning process. The following steps will help to make this work:At least once a year, go through a strategy review process that begins with a SWOT meeting and SWOT review. Get your key people together to reassess the SWOT.Digest the results of the SWOT. Work on a digestion system that combines ownership responsibility with participation and teamwork. Optimize the SWOT.Share the digested, optimized SWOT with the team of key managers. Develop the strategy. Keep in mind that strategy is focus, and remember the principles of long-term consistency, displacement, and priorities.Give the team time to develop detailed strategy, tactics, and programs.Merge the team’s contributions into a plan. Remember that strategy is not completed by committee or popular vote and that someone has to have the last word.The SWOT offers a good forum for opening up discussion. SWOT discussions bring up problems that needed upper management attention but might otherwise have remained hidden.Bryson, J. (1995). Strategic planning for public and nonprofit organizations: A guide to strengthening and sustaining organizational achievement. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Identify Strategic IssuesThrough the analysis of the organization, identification of the key issues which are important to address will be identified. This allows for the ability to gain crystal clear focus on the areas of attention which then leads to the formation of plans. Through involvement of multiple constituents in the organization, the identification of strategic issues can be collaborative and the ability to balance resources to address those issues can be accomplished.
Form Strategies to Manage the Strategic IssuesWhile the value of strategic planning is widely accepted, there are multiple approaches to designing and strategic plan. According to Pierce, as cited in Kaye (2007), there are eight important sections of a strategic plan. The first area is an executive summary which includes an overview of the plan and the components which are included. The second area is an overview of the products or services offered by the company. This is important to consider realizing that in order to be competitive in the marketplace, individuals and organizations need to have a crystal clear picture of the focus of the business. Next, a discussion of the marketing plan is presented which includes information regarding channels of distribution and customer availability, pricing structure, competition, and relative competitive advantage. In this section, an organization could include the SWOT analysis, which involves evaluation of an organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (Pophal, 2002). Fourth, a financial review is included focusing on income and cash-flow statements. Following the financial plan, a discussion of human resource initiatives is included outlining the anticipated staffing objectives, development plans, resources to be used in the accomplishment of the goals, and anticipated growth for the future. The sixth area of the strategic plan involves discussion of technology and considers the infrastructure needs of the organization to sustain direction and growth as well as emerging industry trends which could be considered for integration into the company. Operations plan is the next area and details the approach to which the business will operate the roles and responsibilities of organizational operation, and the measures of success. Finally, a review of the management team will be presented including bios of the key leaders which lead to credibility in the organization and confidence in the planning process.The use of a consistent planning format allows organizations to develop strategies to address the key issues of the organization and structure for measuring business success toward the accomplishment of goals.Kaye, G. (2007). 7 secrets of successful business planning. Canadian Business, 80(3), 15-17. Pophal, L. (2002). Marketing plans work: 10 tips to make it happen. Communication World (October), 22-24.
Review and Adopt the Strategies and PlanThrough the review and adoption of the strategic plan, all members of the organization have a clear understanding of the initiatives which are critical to the success of the company. Through alignment with those initiatives, employees are able to experience a sense of ownership and purpose in achieving organizational success. In addition, there is accountability for all members of the organization in the completion of the goals outlined in the strategic plan.Bryson, J. (1995). Strategic planning for public and nonprofit organizations: A guide to strengthening and sustaining organizational achievement. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Establish Effective Organizational VisionIn this step, the organization develops a description of what is should look like once is has successfully implemented its strategies and achieved its full potential. This is also known as a “vision of success”. The description, to the extent that it is widely circulated within the organization, allows employees to know what is expected of them, without constant managerial oversight. Members are freed to act on their own initiative to an extent not otherwise possible. The result should be a mobilization of members’ energy toward pursuing the organization’s purposes, and a reduced need for direct supervision.Bryson, J. (1995). Strategic planning for public and nonprofit organizations: A guide to strengthening and sustaining organizational achievement. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Development Implementation ProcessIn the implementation process, several steps should be considered:Implementation roles and responsibilitiesSpecific objectives and expected results and milestonesSpecific action steps and relevant detailsSchedulesResource requirements and sourcesA communication processReview, monitoring, and midcourse correction proceduresAccountability proceduresSuccessfully implemented and institutionalized strategies result in a new regime, and a set of implicit or explicit principles, norms, rules, and decision-making procedures around which expectations converge in a given area. Regime building is necessary to preserve gains in the face of competing demands. Unfortunately, regimes can outlive their usefulness and must then be changed. This involves the final step in the process.Bryson, J. (1995). Strategic planning for public and nonprofit organizations: A guide to strengthening and sustaining organizational achievement. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Reassess Strategy and Plan ContinuouslyA standard timeline and system of reassessing and reevaluation is critical to any strategic plan. Attention should be focused on successful strategies and whether they should be maintained, replaced by other strategies, or terminated for one reason or another. The strategic planning process should also be examined, its strengths and weaknesses noted, and modifications suggested to improve the next round of strategic planning.Bryson, J. (1995). Strategic planning for public and nonprofit organizations: A guide to strengthening and sustaining organizational achievement. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Ultimately, a significant benefit of strategic planning is alignment. As individuals are aware of their role, they can contribute to the success of the organization, experiencing a sense of belonging and the ability to make a difference, and the company reaps the benefits of the creativity shown through everyone focusing on achieving goals which will lead to company success.Please click on the following media link and enjoy the following video which encapsulates the importance of strategic planning and employee alignment.Thank you for your participation.