Thursday, May 22, 2008

Strategic Planning: How-To

A strategic planning meeting should be held at least once a year and should include all executive managers as well as any key supervisors with front-line knowledge and experience. Bring a copy of your company’s business plan to the meeting so it can be referred to when needed. Keep in mind the purpose of the meeting, which is to evaluate past projects and goals and to develop new strategies based on opportunities discovered through market research and analysis.

The following list can help create a more effective strategic planning meeting:

1. The meeting should be held off-site in a casual setting so participants will feel relaxed but away from distractions.

2. Make sure everyone knows that each person will be treated as an equal and everyone will have an equal voice in terms of suggestions and criticisms.

3. To promote a more comfortable atmosphere, have everyone dress in casual clothing.

4. Encourage discussion of subjects mentioned in the meeting. This will not only encourage more brainstorming as the meeting progresses, but it will also serve to fully define the subject and determine its merits.

5. Don’t let the meeting digress into endless criticism. Point out areas that merit praise, and when discussing areas of weakness, explain how certain suggestions may not fit into the overall scope of the company’s strategy.

6. Don’t try to prioritize items brought up in the meeting. The strategic planning meeting is mainly a brainstorming session where ideas are explored in relation to their strategic impact on the business.

7. Don’t assume that everyone will come with a notepad and pen. Make sure you provide both.

8. Make sure you cover each topic thoroughly before progressing to the next. Keep in mind that you are exploring strategic solutions. When discussing each subject, apply timelines for specific actions after the meeting has been adjourned.

9. Write a summary of the meeting and circulate it to everyone who is part of the strategic planning team. Then, make sure you have follow-up meetings to review each person’s progress.

10. Wrap up the meeting with allowing everyone to share their biggest success over the last year and how that knowledge and experience will be utilized moving forward into the next.

1 comment:

Nathan Ives said...

StrategyDriven contributors believe a company’s true value is largely determined by its long-term performance potential as shaped by management’s decisions made today. These decisions guide the translation of the company’s mission, its purpose for existing, into the products and services it provides and hopefully the market wants.

Strategic planning is an iterative, ongoing process consisting of:

* Analysis: assessment of the internal and external factors effecting the organization’s ability to achieve its mission

* Alternative Development: detailed assessment of the costs, benefits, and risks associated with strategic alternatives including both major, ongoing and newly proposed activities

* Alternative Selection: identification of the current portfolio components and proposed activities that will be pursued and the timeframe for execution

* Resource Projections: aggregation of the personnel, financial, physical, and technological needs including an assessment of the ability to acquire these resources within the needed timeframe

* Plan Development: final validation of the organization’s mission and compilation and approval of its long-range and annual business plans

Execution of these iterative processes takes place throughout the year with a frequency dictated by the pace of market change.

The StrategyDriven website is dedicated to providing executives and managers with the planning and execution tools needed to create greater organizational alignment and accountability for the achievement of superior results.

Our contributors believe creation of a clear, forward-looking strategy, translatable to the day-to-day activities of all organization members, is critical to realizing success in today’s fast paced market environment. Not only does a compelling, well executed strategy align individuals to a common purpose, it ensures that purpose best serves the company’s mission.

We look forward to your joining our strategic business planning and tactical execution conversation.

All the Best,
Principal Contributor