Basic principles of a strategic planning process for leaders
Strategic planning is the overall planning that facilitates the good management of a process. Strategic planning takes you outside the day-to-day activities of your organisation or project. It provides you with the bigger picture of what you are doing and where you are going.
Here are ThinkTalent’s tips on the whats, whens, and hows of setting up an effective strategic planning process for your organisation or projects:
What does it take to set up a strategic planning process?
A strategic planning process is not something that can happen in an ad hoc way, at a regular planning meeting or during a staff meeting. It requires careful planning so that the process is thorough and comprehensive.
When you develop or revise a strategic plan, you are setting the parameters for the work of your organisation, usually for two to three years or longer. So, it makes sense to spend some time and energy on your strategic planning process.
At what point in an organisational/project cycle do you need to do a strategic planning process?
There are various times in the life cycle of an organisation/project when it makes sense to do a strategic planning process. So, for example, when you are initiating a new organisation or a new project, then you need to do a strategic planning process.
If you have just had a major evaluation of your organisation or work, and this has led to challenging recommendations, then you may decide to do a strategic planning process immediately afterwards.
When you reach the end of a major phase in a project, it makes sense to review progress and prepare for the next phase through a strategic planning process.
How do you define your strategic parameters?
A strategic plan is not rigid. It does, however, give you parameters within which to work. That is why it is important to:
- Base your strategic planning process on a real understanding of the external environment
- Use work that you have already done to extend your understanding of the external environment and of your own capacity, strengths, and weaknesses
Strategic planning enables you to answer the following questions:
- Who are we?
- What capacity do we have/what can we do?
- What problems are we addressing?
- What difference do we want to make?
- Which critical issues must we respond to?
- Where should we allocate our resources?
- What should our priorities be?
Only once these questions are answered, is it possible to answer the following:
- What should our immediate objective be?
- How should we organise ourselves to achieve this objective?
Strategic planning gives you clarity about what you actually want to achieve and how to go about achieving it.
How long should it take?
If you are not used to this sort of process, you need at least four or five days to set up a thorough strategic planning process. Otherwise, two to three days should be sufficient.
ThinkTalent can help you facilitate your organisation’s strategic planning processes. We also offer leadership training and one-to-one coaching to enhance your corporate development at every level. Contact us for more information about ThinkTalent’s services.