Let’s start by talking about strategic focus. Leadership models and new business models are key ingredients to success in the 21st century. The successful 21st century business model is built around servant style leadership with a focus on strategic thinking by harnessing the creativity and innovation of the employees. The vehicle to accomplish this is the strategic planning process
Strategy serves as the organization compass and roadmap to future success. Strategic thinking must be clear and communicated effectively throughout the organization. It is not something you can leverage with technology. It isn’t something you will find in the latest business manual. It is embedded in the minds of your management team and most of your employees. It is your employees who are on the front line and know what is really going on with your customers and your markets. It requires effective leadership to release the power of the employees in building a strategic roadmap to the future.
Defining objectives and developing initiatives and action plans to meet those objectives is the basis of strategic planning. However, it all starts with an end game, a “Vision for the Future.”
Strategic planning is a management tool. It is used to help an organization clarify its future direction – to focus its energy, and to help members of the organization work toward the same goals. The planning process adjusts the organization’s direction in response to a changing environment. Strategic planning is a disciplined effort to support fundamental decisions and actions that shape and guide what an organization is, what it does and why it does it, with a focus on where it wants to go and how it is going to get there.
Fundamental decisions, actions and choices must be made in order to develop a plan that provides a Roadmap on “How to get there from Here.”.” The plan is ultimately no more, and no less, than a set of decisions about what to do, why to do it, and when and how to do it.
The scope of the strategy development process for any company is dependent upon individual business needs. The strategic planning process is a time and resource-consuming endeavor that involves many people in the organization. This process includes both tactical and strategic application. The DIY process assumes that you have a good handle on both your internal and external environment. If you don’t you may want to consider hiring a consultant to do an internal assessment and survey your customers and vendors to analyze your external environment.
Hiring a consulting firm can cost as little as $10,000 for a simple two day facilitation to upwards of $100,000 for comprehensive involvement by the consulting firm during the entire process.
So, if you are not inclined to hire an outside consultant, you may want to follow this ten step process for DIY (Do It Yourself) Strategic Planning. Although it isn’t possible to describe in great detail the entire process in an article (it would require 50 pages) the following is an overview of the process.
The Ten Step Process
Let’s identify the steps first and then we’ll discuss each one in a little more detail . I cannot emphasize enough that the true value of a strategic plan is not in the document itself. It is in the process of creating it, involving many of your employees from the bottom up. This empowers them to be more effective and better-informed leaders, managers and decision makers.