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Strategic Planning Models: How to Put Strategic Planning into Action

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In a recent article about strategic planning, we discussed some informal approaches to actually doing so. However, there are plenty of age-old models designed specifically for strategic planning, each of which strive to optimize your organization in a different way. This article explains the most popular of them.

As a forenote, there is no single strategic planning model which works best for all businesses. You should find out which one is optimal for your organization, bearing in mind that it’s fine to tune them to your needs or use a combination of two or more.

Model One — Standard Strategic Planning

The most popular strategic planning model goes by no particular name, but is frequently used in many large companies, all across the world. This approach includes the following steps:

  1. Identify (or re-identify) the goal of your organization, and make sure the mission statement is consistent with this.
  2. Decide on short-term strategies that will allow you to reach milestones which clearly show progress towards achieving the company vision.
  3. Create a clear plan of action for executing those strategies — ask yourself “Who will accomplish what?” and “How will we know if we are succeeding?”
  4. Revise as necessary. In most cases, mission statements should not be changed more than twice a year, but the approach to achieving them can be altered with knowledge of opportunities or threats (which can be identified with the help of a good SWOT analysis).

Model Two — Issue Based Strategic Planning

Issue Based strategic planning models are much more dynamic and fluid. This approach to strategic planning focuses on recognizing all of the different factors, internal and external, which affect your organization’s capacity to achieve its goals. If you lack resources or time to dedicate to ornate strategic plans, this is one solution:

  1. Find factors which are holding your organization back from success, or which could be leveraged for benefit. This step is easiest with the help of a SWOT analysis (linked above), but PESTLE or Five Forces analyses can also be employed.
  2. Suggest ways to overcome any issues or take advantage of circumstances, OR, adjust your organization’s entire mission if the factors are significant enough to do so.
  3. If you rely on this model as your only form of strategic planning, be sure to repeat the process every few months to gain maximum benefit.

Model Three — Alignment Model for Strategic Planning

The Alignment Model for Strategic Planning is also a tried-and-tested approach. This model focuses on ensuring alignment between a company’s vision and its resources. In step-by-step format, this approach involves:

  1. Review the mission statement and company goals.
  2. Analyze the internal workings of your organization — what is working well, and what needs re-’alignment’.
  3. Determine a short-term approach to eliminate or improve weak operations, and immediately introduce this new mindset into your company.

Model Four — Organic Strategic Planning

Organic strategic planning is, as the name suggests, a much less systematic model than the others. This strategic planning model focuses on building a universal understanding within your organization, which can be achieved by:

  1. Verify that there is common agreement about the purpose of your organization between all members.
  2. Ensure that all members have some idea of how they can help the organization achieve that vision.
  3. Allow them to contribute in their own ways, meeting regularly to see that progress is being made.

These are some of the most common, traditional, strategic planning models which can be seen in scores of companies from the local level to the global level. Be sure to experiment with each of these approaches to find out which is optimal for your organization.

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