Strategic Planning

Why should a business concentrate on strategic planning?

Why should an organization concentrate on aligning strategic plans?

Often, organizations are preoccupied with the immediate issues they face – new business guidelines, a new employee, new piece of equipment or software – as such, they strugle to align with the objectives. Aligning their strategic plan helps a business maintain the overall big picture and can help them plan for the future and guide their business decisions to get there.

Strategic planning should include standard fare, such as: • Being a framework for support, approval, or decisions • Provide detailed planning • Explain the business to others • Monitor the performance of the company • Be a building block for the next plan phase

If these considerations sound familiar, they should – they are also a part of a business plan, however these two things are also very different. A business plan is a document that holds a vast amount of detail regarding the who, what, where, why, and how of a business where as a strategic plan provides a framework to business units and technolgoy. Think of a strategic plan as the jumping point to that of the business plan – many of the things that will be seen in a strategic plan are usually addressed within a business plan, with more detail and information provided for each point.

Some of the more important aspects of aligining strategic plans include being realistic, focusing on the core organization values, covering day to day work as required, and implementing a review process.

Strategic Planning- Be Realistic

Reality can be a cruel mistress sometimes, especially when all of the ups and downs are not taken into account. This is probably the most common area in which a business fails; the expectations for growth and expansion are grand ideas that have no real ability to be achieved. It’s like deciding to become president, but not realizing or setting up the tasks in order to do so.

Focus on the Core Organization Values

Strategic plans are often short because they will usually focus on one thing or a small group of things. These ideals should be what need to be focused on. For example, if a business wants to increase customer satisfaction in a certain time frame, the plans should revolve around that goal, not the software or the product that will get them there.

Cover the Day to Day Work

When will the work day start? What should be the morning ritual? Will there be meetings during the morning? Afternoon? Figuring out the day to day operations puts a plan into place for how the company will work. It also creates organizational culture.

Review, Review, Revie w

Most importantly, the strategic plan should be reviewed to see what goals have been reached and attained and which have fallen short of the mark. The need for alignment in those areas would be necessary.

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David Peterson

David G. Peterson is a business consultant and author of Handling the Remedy. He has extensive international experience managing projects and operations for large financial institutions. He has worked in North America, Europe, Middle East and Asia skillfully managing business and technical requirements, core systems enhancement and support, merger and acquisition integration's, business process reengineering, off-shoring and outsourcing.