After reading the article “The Real Value of Strategic Planning”, I was astonished that the value of strategic planning can be interpreted like this. I thought that the process of planning a strategy is just like leaders of the organization sitting together, discussing the all possible problems in the future and working out all possible solutions to the problems. However, the fact proofs that my opinion about strategic planning is a jejune judgment without supporting of experience.
Actually, no matter how experienced the decision makers are, they still cannot consider every possible problem in the future, especially for the business world filled with uncertainties. So the focus of strategic planning should shift to increasing the ability of management teams to react the uncertainties. The merging of companies, the capital pressure, the cash flow problems and the development of new technology, all of these can occur in the unpredictable future when management teams hold a long-term consideration. So whether management teams can performance well when facing uncertainty and problems is the most important criteria for strategic ability. Apart from that, management teams also need to focus on communication during the discussion which will give them a deeper understanding of business. All of this so called prepared mind serves as the foundation to make the optimal decision in the future.
However, the prepared mind is not just a concept. It is based on so many technical details, such as the participants of the discussion, the time span of the review, the place held the discussion and what should be covered in the discussion. Every detail about the strategic planning should be considered carefully so that teams can really get well-prepared mind just as the author said. So the discussion about strategy itself is kind of technical problem as well. For example, all participant should be well-prepared before going to the review so that they are ready to ask questions and debate with others. Only in this way can the discussion become efficient. Everyone will have an experience like this, you explicitly address your opinion, while the listener doesn’t familiar with discussed issue. So they may need some time to use slides and meeting materials to remind them of the business problems. When they can remember the past fact about business, you have to address your opinion again to continue the discussion. A lot of time is wasted during the process like this. The efficiency will be significantly dragged down because of the ill preparation of the participants.
After discussion the strategic planning and set a solid strategy. The follow-up for the long-term strategic goals is also important. The management teams should divide the strategic goal into achievable small targets like financial budgets, human resource strategy and so on. The teams may also meet challenge about strategy. They may need to modify the strategy according to the challenges.
Above all, management teams should see the strategic planning process as a learning opportunity to train themselves to get deeper understand of business and improve their ability to make an optimal strategy. But all these are based on the solid technical foundation and principle rather than informal discussion.