Monday, July 6, 2015

Improving the Strategic Planning Process



This week’s theme and readings really opened my eyes to the strategic planning process, and what successful companies have done to implement a strong and effective strategic plan. In the article, “The Real Value of Strategic Planning,” we were given an outline of the strategic planning process and several tips on how to get the most out of the strategic planning meetings. This article covered the who, what, when, where, and why of the strategic planning process and the way that it should be executed for maximized efficiency. 

The article was straight forward and simple, yet several companies struggle with the strategic planning process, and constantly try to reinvent their process in order to make a greater impact in the company. After reading this article, it led me to research further about the strategic planning process and what companies are doing to improve this annual process. I came across the article, “How to Improve Strategic Planning” by Renee Dye and Olivier Sibony in the McKinsey Quarterly. This article polled 800 executives, and reported that less than half were satisfied with the strategic planning process at McKinsey.  In an effort to improve this process, the article offered several suggestions which I found interesting. It seems that one of the major factors of a failed strategic plan is a lack of follow through and execution. This article urged an implementation of a “strategic performance management system” in order to track progress. Most companies use budgets and operating reviews to track their progress, but this article states that this is not enough. 

The article states that when implementing a strategic performance management system, it needs to cover all possible metrics, not just the financials. Regular reviews of the non-financial metrics are also essential to the success of the strategic plan. This allows managers to analyze the data, and determine where things are going right, and where things may be going wrong so that they might be able to implement changes to correct the initiatives that may be failing or veering off course. Implementing a management system could help to track and monitor the strategic plan in order to ensure that it is being carried out effectively and thoughtfully. 

The article leads in to other key aspects that may help to improve strategic planning processes. I think that the implementation of a strategic performance management system was interesting, and one that I had not thought about prior to reading this article. 

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Renee Dye and Olivier Sibony, “How to Improve Strategic Planning,” McKinsey Quarterly, August 2007, http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/strategy/how_to_improve_strategic_planning, accessed July 5, 2015. 

Sarah Kaplan and Eric D. Beinhocker, “The Real Value of Strategic Planning,” MIT Sloan Management Review, Winter 2003, Vol. 44, No.2.

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