Understanding the stages and steps of each stage of the strategic planning process is critical to its success. Below is a three stage model with corresponding goals that your team will want to consider. By-passing any of these steps can stall or undermine the process entirely. For example, when a team does not adequately collect employee feedback (stage 1), then it cannot objectively formulate strategic initiatives to, for example, improve the culture.
In this Stage 1, organizational readiness must be assessed up front to help anticipate any obstacles, whether cultural, financial, etc. Organizations know they need a Strategic Plan but often don’t have the time, budget or staff allocated to devote to the process. Is this a total reset of an existing Strategic Plan necessary or does it need to be refreshed? Designating a small team to lead the Strat Planning process is also critical at the beginning to keep the entire process on track and help manage any natural loss of momentum or focus. Beyond this, Stage 1 involves assessing the organizations current state through a SWOT Analysis (or another planning framework) as well as collecting and analyzing feedback from customers, employees and any stakeholders. The goal of Stage 1 is to synthesize the results of this analysis into core themes and priorities that can inform the Goal Mapping section in Stage 2.
In Stage 2, the goals (based on the analysis process of Stage 1), are prioritized and timelined via KPI’s or OKRs. Setting these metrics, determining what are near and long-term objectives and then cascading these to each department and individual is the primary focus of this stage.
In Stage 3, the big objectives defined and mapped in Stage 2 need to be communicated and socialized throughout the organization. Working the Strat Plan throughout the layers of the organization is key.
For each of the three phases you will also want an Work Plan with specific action items and deliverables. For example in Stage 1:
|Determine organizational readiness||Owner/CEO/Strat Director||Readiness assessment||1 Week|
|Collect employee feedback||Owner/CEO/Strat Director||Employee surveys||2 Weeks|
|Complete SWOT Analysis||Strategy Team/ELT/Managing Directors/Board||SWOT Analysis||1 Month|
For consultative assistance and facilitation with your Strategic Planning process, please contact me.