Most organizations have a vision for an imagined better future with more revenue, retained clients and retained staff. But few invest the time to plan out “how” they will achieve a better future.
Dreams may not need a plan, but business goals do! That’s why now, more than ever, there’s a need for strategic planning in business. And we’re going to tell you what strategic planning does for a business, as well as the steps to follow for building your strategic plan.
What Can Strategic Planning Do for a Business?
In today’s world of sudden and significant change, the race for innovation and the need for nimbleness, many organizations struggle with their daily tasks. Work becomes scattered, unfocused and reactive, as opposed to proactive. Everything is a priority, and therefore nothing is a priority!
John Doerr, the recognized guru of Objectives and Key Results, points out that setting goals that align with your ambitions, passion and purpose set a clear and compelling sense of “why.”
This is where a Strategic Planning session can help you focus on your WHY, that inspires and motivates your teams to create those difficult but achievable goals.
It is ideal to prepare for a Strategic Planning session with your team. These sessions may be over one or two days, and you can learn more about what we offer here. Utilizing a Facilitator will ensure the planning session stays on track and the business leaders can participate, rather than be distracted running a meeting.
A consistent challenge is that organizations rarely take the time to collaborate, get input from all organization members and share important information amongst their teams. Strategic planning should represent an opportunity to discuss current issues, reflect on successes and challenges as well as ensure your team is well informed moving forward.
Investing in a plan for a better future starts with Strategic Planning. Read more here on the steps you can take to get started.
Five Strategic Planning Tips:
- Go off site – this will allow your team an opportunity to avoid workplace distractions and spend quality, focused time together.
- Stick to key themes – there are always many challenges and key areas to discuss during any planning meeting. Depending on the timeframe, pick two or three key areas to focus on and follow the time allowance on the agenda closely.
- Get input from everyone – it is easy to spend too much time presenting during a strategic planning session. However, making time to get team members input is equally as important. Carve time for questions after every presentation and make sessions interactive.
- Break the silence with breakout sessions – small group discussions and activities will allow everyone in attendance to be involved. Have activities start with small group discussions, where group highlights are brought to the attention of all participants upon completion of an activity.
- Narrow the priority list – action items are a significant final step to any strategic planning session. However, if this list is too daunting, many items may fail to materialize. Select your critical few items and set timelines for execution.
Once the planning session is concluded, work with a Facilitator to set an execution plan that brings the discipline you need to move those ideas forward. Follow-up sessions are recommended with your team throughout the year where your Facilitator serves as an Accountability Partner to ensure you stay on track.
Organizing the priorities of your business also means setting some big goals. Read more here on Effective Goal Setting!
Key Steps for Building a Robust Strategic Plan
What strategic planning does (or doesn’t do) for a business largely depends on the steps you follow while building your plan.
Here are some key steps that we focus on to help you build a robust strategic plan:
- First, schedule a complimentary Discovery Meeting with your Executive Team and X5 Management. That way, we can better understand your current challenges and concerns and where you want to take your business.
- Utilizing the services of X5 management, you can collect data from clients, employees, and suppliers on how they see your business. This helps you better understand how your stakeholders perceive you— what’s going well, where the blind spots are, and what opportunities are out there you might be missing.
- Once the data is collated and with the facilitation expertise of X5 management, we focus your strategic priorities on what will move the dial. It could be a new product/service development, expanding your territory, or improving efficiencies.
We also suggest you look to answer four key questions:
- What are we doing well? Keep doing it.
- What are we not doing well? Improve it.
- What are we not doing that we should be doing? Action it.
- What are we doing that we should not be doing? Stop doing it.
SMART Goal Setting
The most important element of your strategic plan is execution. Utilizing the SMART goal setting framework is recommended:
- Time sensitive
The X5 Management team can get you laser-focused on who is leading the priority, what metrics will indicate success, by when, and what additional resources— human or financial— are necessary.