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Strategic planning should be a straightforward process. It’s a tool to help you plan for future success. But it’s easy for planning to fail.
We use strategic planning to reach a particular result in the most efficient method. But things don’t always go as planned.
Why does the plan fail? Typically, because crucial elements aren’t answered. Specifically:
- Do you know who your company serves?
- What are your primary goals?
- Which strategies are necessary to reach those goals?
By answering the above questions, you’re on track to prevent your strategic plan from failing before the execution.
1. Mission statement
In a single sentence, can you clearly say what your business does? Do you know exactly who your customer is? And what sets you apart from the competition?
Your mission statement helps create goals. The statement must be accurate, easy to understand, and known by everyone in the company. Every business decision is made to follow the mission statement.
Your strategic planning efforts are no different.
It’s simple: if you don’t have a goal, you have a problem. This is especially true when you’re doing strategic planning. The goal is the result. It’s the reason behind choosing a strategy. And it’s a measurement to determine whether efforts were successful or not.
Set goals based on your mission statement. For example, do you help find forever homes for puppies? Your goal, then, can be to provide X amount of puppies a home in Y amount of months.
But the more fleshed out the goal, the better chance your plan will succeed.
3. The strategy
The chosen strategic planning strategy must be efficient to reach objectives. Your strategy is the blueprint for results. If it’s not selected specifically for the purpose at hand, you may never see results.
A strategy ensures:
- Resources are used efficiently
- Stakeholders and relevant parties agree on goals, and
- Operations are strengthened to meet those goals
Checking off this list may require a thorough analysis of the company, workers, and expected results. A business analyst might be the best option to conduct the analysis.
But what if you want to take shortcuts? You needed results yesterday, so why not skip the analysis or the mission statement to get moving? Well, because it’s not a good idea if you want your strategic plan to be successful.
Analysis weeds out problems regarding poor communication, vague ideas, and bad resource usage. If you skip this, the company may survive today. But in a few months, it might not be so lucky.
By using any old strategy, the chances may be in your favor. Maybe it’ll all work out. Maybe you’ll reach your goals. Or maybe you’ll waste massive amounts of investments. Either way, you don’t want to leave it up to chance. Even casinos don’t gamble like this.
Get the right strategy by doing the right footwork. Allow analysis. Seek out several strategies to reach solutions. And ensure everyone is on the same page.
Without these three criteria…
Without identifying your mission statement, selecting goals, and choosing an appropriate strategy, your strategic plan will fail. These three components are the foundation for successful planning. Don’t skip it to reduce workload or meet deadlines — you might regret it.