We have been discussing strategic planning process approaches for next year with multiple people. While they are all considering different ideas, there is one common element to the conversations. They all want to spend less time planning, making it more productive and beneficial than in the past.
3 Strategic Planning Process Tweaks to Make Right Away!
There is no one answer for every organization to improve its strategic planning process. We can share some important fundamentals, however, to improve planning productively in significant ways.
1. Adapting the Strategic Planning Process for Your Organization
Make sure your strategic planning approach fits how your organization addresses:
- Developing information and insights
- Exploring opportunities
- Making decisions
- Implementing successfully
While you may want to change planning, recognize you are doing so relative to what creates the highest likelihood of success. Against what will work best for your team, consider these ideas to shape specific planning activities.
2. Capture Current Ideas and Imagine New Ones
The most important strategic planning activities are those that help participants think about capitalizing innovatively on opportunities and addressing challenges. Don't forget, however, to begin by asking everyone to identify their starting lists of opportunities and threats along with sharing their best current ideas to address them. Documenting these starting points acknowledges current thinking and typically frees participants to consider new ideas.
To accelerate thinking about new opportunities and approaches, ask unconventional strategic planning questions. You can try these five hypothetical situations we find valuable to spur innovative thinking:
- Suppose we have the same goal we have now, but severely constrained resources. What can we do differently?
- If our goal were two times greater than what is now with the same resources, what would we do differently to hit it?
- Select some of the starting ideas we shared to accomplish our goals. What are completely opposite ways we might be able to try that have a chance of working?
- If another company outside our industry were addressing these opportunities and challenges, what would they do to achieve success?
- If a non-traditional, emerging competitor were trying to disrupt our market position, what would it do? How can we adopt those same moves to protect and improve what we do now?
These types of scenarios set the stage for dramatically different strategic thinking and innovative possibilities.
3. Deciding on Strategies and Writing the Plan
Relative to making decisions about which strategies to incorporate into the plan, we recommend soliciting input from the planning participants while recognizing who owns the ultimate decisions. Specify upfront which individual or group will prioritize the ideas to form the final plan.
When it comes to documenting the actual plan, spare participants the chore of writing it during the workshop. Identify who in your organization is strong at shaping project management plans; those people are likely the best equipped to efficiently translate all the input into a plan people will use.
Customize to Make It Work for Your Organization
Incorporating even a few of these suggest will make your planning more productive this year. If you want help to identify which ideas will work best in your organization, contact us, and let’s talk about what our experience suggests for your situation! – Mike Brown
Want to Avoid Typical Boring Strategic Planning Process Meetings?
Here is your answer. These 11 not stuffy for work techniques will spice up strategic planning with new thinking on:
- How to move out of long-established comfort zones that limit strategic thinking
- Livening up strategic discussions with exercises designed to generate disruptive ideas
- Capturing the benefits of an offsite meeting right in your office