energizing breakthrough performance

An Organization That Doesn’t Plan Its Future Isn’t Likely to Have One

How Do I Get Started?

An organization begins strategic planning by taking a critical look at itself and the environment in which it operates. The process begins with an internal analysis of each major operation, e.g., marketing and sales, production, administration and finance, etc. This internal analysis is overlaid against an analysis of external developments such as customer needs, preferences, and satisfaction levels, economic and market conditions, technological advancements and competitive pressures. After the organization planning team assesses the firm’s internal strengths and weaknesses against future external opportunities and threats, a vision is developed along with a mission statement that defines the firm’s business purposes and values, identifying the ways in which the firm distinguishes itself from competitors.

Then, planning participants develop long-range strategic goals, defining parameters for the firm’s rate of growth and profitability. The long-range goals, supportive of the mission statement, serve as a stimulus and challenge to senior managers, line managers, and production supervisors. If strategic goals can be achieved in one year, planning participants have not stretched their strategic vision far enough.

Supporting these goals, the plan must spell out strategies that establish time frames for completion of interim and long-term objectives; identify individual managerial responsibilities in meeting long-term goals; and define the financial, human, and equipment resources needed to accomplish the task.

The last step in the strategic planning process requires a clear-eyed review of the newly defined vision, mission, goals and strategies to assess demands that will be placed on the business as well as likely future effects. What will total plan implementation cost? What are the human resource implications? Is the production capability sufficient? What changes will be necessary? Are strategies, systems, and people properly aligned around the needs and preferences of our customers?

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