If you are reading this, you are likely considering a strategic planning exercise for your organization. Perhaps you are planning for the first time. Or perhaps you are looking to improve how you will plan this year.
For organizations like yours, we recommend you consider what makes strategic planning successful, and what mindsets, capabilities and commitments are most likely to help you.
What makes a successful planning exercise?
Strategic planning is successful when it focuses your organization on areas that are most critical, and when your organization makes substantial progress in each critical area.
Successful strategic execution requires:
Clarity of purpose: What is the purpose of your organization, who does it serve and why?
Strategic priorities: What areas will you seek to improve because they are critical to your success? What areas will you not pursue right now to enable you to focus on what is critical?
Expected results: What do you hope to achieve at the end of this planning period? Are your expectations, specific, measurable, and owned? Have you assigned appropriate resources?
Engaged organization: Are your leaders engaged in planning? Are your staff engaged where appropriate to gather insight, ask questions and clarify their role in execution?
Strategy management: Does your organization have the necessary tools, management practices and culture to set ambitious targets, empower people, regularly review progress and constructively resolve points of failure?
What do you need for a successful strategic plan?
You want to get the most out of the time and effort invested in strategic planning. But what do you really need for a successful strategic planning exercise? As it turns out, quite a lot. To help you explore what you have and what you may be missing, we have created a set of questions you can use to assess your readiness for strategic planning:
Does your leadership team believe in the importance of strategic planning right now?
Can your leadership team make time needed to participate in planning now?
Does your leadership team have positive strategic planning experiences?
Does your organization have a clear strategic purpose? (who you serve and why)
Does your leadership team agree on your business model?
Does your organization gather and use data to evaluate performance and make decisions?
Do you have data that describe what customers think about your ability to meet their needs?
Do you have insight into the performance of your competitors and what direction they are heading?
Does your organization set clear strategic priorities with appropriate resources?
Does your organization clarify what is expected from each leader for each priority?
Do your leaders help their people understand their role in supporting each priority?
Does your organization regularly review progress and make changes based on new information?
Last year, did your organization achieve what was critically important?
Your answers to these questions will help you clarify what capabilities you have, and what capabilities you need. In our experience, the suitability of your planning efforts really comes down to the last question. Your success this year rests on your ability to clarify what is critically important right now and empower your people to do what matters.
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