energizing breakthrough performance

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

In summary, the planning process consists of five basic steps, as follows:

  1. Diagnose the business situation. What are positives that differentiate the firm from the competition? Identify deficiencies of the firm that result in competitive disadvantage. External threats may include negative conditions such as government regulations, market segment decline, and new competitors. Positive opportunities involve new marketing openings and population shifts which add new potential.
  2. Develop a Vision and Mission Statement. What business are we in for the long haul? Who are our customers and how do we want to be known by them?
  3. Develop goals. The planning team should use the strategic diagnosis findings to set the strategic goals that the business wants to accomplish over the next three years. A goal should be set for each critical issue area pinpointed as a result of the strategic diagnosis. What is to be done and how well?
  4. Define strategies. After the firm’s strategic goals have been developed, the planning team should develop a set of strategies which describe methods to be employed for accomplishing each goal.
  5. Determine impact on the business. In addition to weighing resource requirements and adjusting the plan accordingly, plan implementation tactics should also be set forth. Major steps to ensure effective plan implementation include:
    • Communicate the plan to all those involved in putting it to work.
    • Hold people accountable in the plan areas for which they are responsible.
    • Evaluate progress toward the plan.
    • Reward successful performance against the plan.
    • Review and update the plan annually.

When the team has completed these five steps, the plan almost writes itself. This is part of what Gen. Eisenhower meant when he said plans are nothing and planning is everything! An abbreviated outline for a typical strategic plan document generally resembles the following:

Strategic Business Plan Outline

  1. Executive Summary highlights mission, major goals and strategies
  2. Strategic Diagnosis Findings Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats
  3. Strategic Intent and Direction Vision, Mission, Goals, Strategies, Action Programs
  4. Implementation Considerations Organizational structure, policies and procedures, human resources, and other resource allocation issues
  5. Contingency Plans
  6. Financial Plan
  7. Exhibits Technical Reference Material

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