Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Strategic Planning or Strategic Thinking?

Strategic planning is not only about writing a catchy vision and mission statements, values, SWOT analyses, objectives and policies.  It is also not about copying and pasting these elements on a sheet of paper.  Strategic planning includes, but is not limited to, defining [1]:

  •         Today: Where is my organization?
  •         Tomorrow: Where would I like my organization to be? When?

Without this initial assessment, strategic planning is an abstract, empty concept.  Taking this step is necessary to get the gears of every organization –human resource– to start thinking strategically.  From this point onward, they will start evaluating different scenarios in which the organization can move towards achieving an established goal.
Some of the common success factors in strategic planning that I have identified from the organizations I have worked in include:
  • Ø  Creating, and constantly referring to, a strategic map or plan
  • Ø  Identifying measurable key performance indicators (KPIs) of success
  • Ø  Iterating through the plan-do-check-act to ensure efficiency of the plan
  • Ø  Seeking continuous improvement

The final approved scenario by leadership will include KPIs that are suitable [and feasible] for the organization and the purpose.  Lack of KPIs (or using the wrong ones) will lead to partial results and compromise optimal performance.  Clarity in this aspect will also facilitate conducting SWOT analyses for each KPI and greater probabilities of success [2].  This is what I have identified in my experience, what about you? Do you think there could be a formula for strategic planning and thinking?


By Elisa Taymes

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