Most organizations have a vision for an imagined better future such as more revenue, retained clients, and lower staff turnover. 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. The following is what strategic planning does for a business, as well as the steps to follow for building your strategic plan.

What Does Strategic Planning Do For Your 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.

X5 provides tailored recommendations to prepare for a strategic planning session with your team. These sessions may be over one or two days, but we strongly recommend choosing a longer session.

Once the planning session is concluded, the next step is to set an execution plan that brings the discipline you need to move those ideas forward. It’s also recommended that a follow-up session occurs with your team throughout the year. An accountability partner will ensure you stay on track.

Besides what strategic planning does for a business, it’s also important to consider the importance of succession planning. Learn more about succession planning programs in this post.

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 grow your business.
  • Utilizing the services of X5 Management, 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, X5 Management will apply their expertise to 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:

  1. What are we doing well?
  2. What are we not doing well?
  3. What are we not doing that we should be doing?
  4. What are we doing that we should not be doing?

Get Your Organization’s Next Planning Session Started Using These 5 Tips:

1.      Go off-site

An off-site planning session will allow your team an opportunity to avoid workplace distractions and spend quality, focused time together. To facilitate this, pick a location that participants will feel excited about.

2.      Stick to key themes

There are always many challenges and key areas to discuss during any planning meeting. Depending on your timeframe, pick two or three key areas to focus on and stick to the time allocated in the agenda.

3.      Get input from everyone

It is easy to spend the majority of the time presenting information during a strategic planning session. However, making time to collect team members’ input is equally as important. Carve time for questions after any presentations and make sessions interactive.

4.      Break the silence with breakout sessions

Small group discussions and activities allow everyone in attendance to involve themselves. Have activities start with small group discussions, where group highlights are brought to the attention of all participants upon completion of the activity.

5.      Narrow your priority list

Lastly, action items are a significant final step in 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.

In addition to learning how to do strategic planning, we also cover WHY your company culture deserves a strategy in the first place in this post.

SMART Goal Setting

The most important element of your strategic plan is execution. Utilizing the S.M.A.R.T. goal-setting framework. You can stay laser-focused on who is leading the priority, what metrics will indicate success, by when, and what additional resources—human or financial—are necessary.

SPECIFIC

  • What do you want to accomplish?
  • Who needs to be included?
  • When do you want to do this?
  • Why is this a goal?

MEASURABLE

  • How can we measure progress and know we have successfully met our goal?

ACHIEVABLE

  • Do we have the skills required to achieve the goal or do we need additional resources?
  • What is the motivation behind this goal?
  • Is the amount of effort required available?

RELEVANT

  • Why are we setting this goal now?
  • Is it aligned with overall objectives?

TIMELY

  • What is the deadline for completion, or check-in, and is it realistic?

X5 Management offers an extensive list of communication, team development, leadership, sales and service-related courses/workshops that can support virtually any business’s training needs in any industry. If your business wants to take advantage of the Canada-Alberta Job Grant so that you can expand on your sales and service-related training for your employees, X5 would be pleased to discuss your organization’s training needs.

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