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Strategic Planning - Objective Analysis For Success

Strategic Planning - Objective Analysis For Success

Strategic planning is the process an organization uses to define its strategy

, create a roadmap and allocate the resources that will get them there. This includes financial as well as personnel resources. There are many techniques used during this process. A SWOT analysis outlines an organization's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. PEST analysis addresses political, economic, social and technological issues. Though these are two of the more common tools they are not the only valid means of analysis. For a large organization to survive and prosper in a difficult economic climate, their plan must clearly define objectives.

Despite the emphasis put on analyzing data and researching new business tools and trends, many large companies have difficulty during the strategic planning process. Managers at all levels often believe that their knowledge of the company and business experience is enough to be effective in contributing to an overall strategic plan. This is not true and the result may be an inaccurate plan that greatly decreases revenue and corporate positioning. There are many tools for analysis, from strategic group maps to the value chain. They can help managers gain valuable insight to how their industry is evolving and how the competitive landscape has changed.

The goal during the strategic planning process is to present objective data, with facts to back it up. This will help create a solid basis for both long term and short term plans. Perception is a tricky thing. Many people within an organization have no idea how the customer base and the general public view them. Analysis tools help set aside preconceived notions and clearly show areas for improvement. Marketing plans, performance management, and market segment analysis are all based on these plans. It is not realistic to expect that data can be gathered and an effective plan created quickly or easily.

Regardless of how accurate the data or the focus of the plan, if it is not well executed the effort and resources spent on the strategic planning process will be wasted. Follow through is important. This means effectively communicating the goals and vision to the employees. Helping them understand their roles and the importance of the tasks at hand will help keep them engaged and focused. Strategy review meetings throughout the year keep the plan on track and provide the platform for status updates. These progress reports frequently bring issues to light that managers did not know previously existed and present the opportunity to streamline processes and increase efficiencies.

by: Troy Truman
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Strategic Planning - Objective Analysis For Success