Effective 7-Step Strategic Planning Process

This TQM article provides an overview of a typical Strategic Planning Process that was used in various organizations and proved very practical in implementation. The key processes of this typical Strategic Planning Process are aligned in 7 steps. The details of each step are illustrated below:

Step 1: Review or develop the vision and mission

Able to obtain first-hand information from various stakeholders (Shareholders, customers, employees, supplier communities, etc.).

You can use templates to gauge how stakeholders think about your organization. To know if their performance is aligned with the objectives of the organization.

Review or develop the company’s Vision and Mission with input from other stakeholders to ensure it is still up to date with business changes and new challenges. Also use this session as a means of communication.

Step 2 – Business and Operational Analysis (SWOT Analysis, etc.)

One of the key considerations of strategic planning is understanding the internal strengths and weaknesses (of the organization itself), as well as external threats and opportunities. These are commonly known as the four factors of a SWOT analysis.

Involving various stakeholders to provide their views on your organization is key. In the process, you will gain greater buy-in from these strategy and policy implementers.

Step 3: Develop and select strategic options

You can use templates to develop several possible key strategies to address your organization’s goals. More importantly, these potential strategies are developed based on stakeholder input (Step 1) and business and operations analysis (Step 2).

Often several possible strategies are developed and each of them seems important. Since it is quite normal for an organization to have several key issues to address, you will be able to use the appropriate tools to select some of the possible strategies. You will be able to apply various prioritization tools as introduced in this step.

Step 4 – Set Strategic Goals

During this step, you will be able to see the big picture of the organization and be able to select some strategic options objectively. The template can be used to understand various strategic options, establish key actions and a broad timeline to ensure selected strategic options are achieved.

While it is quite common for top management to provide the measurements and schedule, the intent of this step 4 is to make these measurements and schedule SMART. What it meant was Specific (S), Measurable (M), Achievable (A), Realistic (R), and Time-bound (T). when the strategic options are SMART, it will help facilitate communication down the organizational hierarchy for implementation.

Step 5 – Strategy Execution Plan

Many organizations have failed to realize the full potential of their strategies due to poor implementation. In this Step 5, a suitable implementation plan is developed to implement these strategies.

Step 6: Set the resource allocation

Very often, the management team assigned selected strategies to key personnel and left the person to do the task. While most organizations operate with minimal resources, they often end up overloaded with individual work.

Step 7: Execution Review

One of the key success factors for deploying an effective strategy is constantly reviewing your progress and making decisions about any deviations from the plan. It is vital to decide what to review and with whom to review. A new decision may be required as the status of the strategies progresses.

In summary: Following these 7 steps in Strategic Planning will ensure that various options are considered, including execution, resource allocation, and Execution Review. These 7 steps form a complete cycle for new or existing strategic planning initiatives

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