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Strategic Planning Fundamentals

Strategic planning is an organizational management activity that is used to provide direction to an organization. Through this activity, the mission, vision, values and goals are identified. While not always an easy process, the results are well worth the effort. Going through this process allows the organization to set priorities, determine where to focus energy and resources, strengthen organizational operations, ensure that employees and other stakeholders are all working toward common goals, establish agreement regarding intended outcomes/results, and assess and adjust the organization’s direction, as needed, in response to a changing environment. A product of strategic planning is the generation of fundamental documentation that answers the following organizational questions:

  • Who am I?
  • Who do I serve?
  • What do I do?
  • Why do we do it?

These questions should be answered with a focus on the future. Effective strategic planning not only takes a look at your current position, but articulates where an organization is going and the actions needed to make progress and includes how the organization will know if it is successful.

Minimal Components of a Strategic Plan

The strategic plan is the documentation created from the strategic planning process. While there are many variations and templates of what should be included, most agree that the following are minimal components.

 

Mission 

An organization’s mission statement sets the tone for the remaining key components. This statement describes the overall purpose of the organization and a picture of what the organization currently is and what it will be doing. It’s usually a short statement and one that can be easily understand.

 

Vision Statement 

The vision statement’s emphasis is where the company hope they will be going in the future if they fulfill their mission. The vision statement is usually briefer and more concise than the mission statement and should be worded so that it provides guidance.

 

Objectives (aka – High-level Goals) 

Strategic objectives are statements that indicate what is critical or important in your organizational strategy. They are also referred to as the goals you’re trying to achieve. These goals will be further defined with action goals/steps and metrics. You should always be able to measure your progress.

Developing the mission, vision statement and objectives require an in-depth analysis of a business and provides many benefits such sense of direction, operational efficiency, increased sustainability and ability to be proactive instead of reactive. Why would you not do strategic planning?

 

Article provided by Wendy Norfleet, Norfleet Integrated Solutions