Jeremy Gray – Practical Solutions to Difficult Problems
Episode 3 Strategic Planning do I need it?
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How does strategic planning help your business? Strategic planning has been adopted by most, if not. all successful companies. Why? Why do they spend time and resources in developing a strat plan? What are the benefits that come from strategic planning? How does strategic planning help their businesses grow? In other words why should you bother with strategic planning? You have been successful to date, why add another level of planning to your business activities?
By the end of this show you will have a good understanding of what is required to write an excellent strategic plan that results in better growth and profitability for your business. In next week’s show I will discuss how to successfully implement that plan.
In a 2018 Harvard Business Review article the author Dori Clark who teaches at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business wrote “Almost every leader wants to make more time for strategic thinking. In one survey of 10,000 senior leaders, 97% of them said that being strategic was the leadership behavior most important to their organization’s success.
And yet in another study, a full 96% of the leaders surveyed said they lacked the time for strategic thinking. Of course, we’re all oppressed with meetings and overwhelmed with emails (an average of 126 per day, according to a Radicati Group analysis).”
I believe that the most important benefit of strategic planning is simply the time you set aside to think about strategy, why you are in business, where you are going and what is the best path for growth.
The What - The benefits delivered include:
A clear understanding by all your team of why you exist and where you are going and why? The why is important. If the why is not explained the strategy may be unclear to your employees. Get you team all pulling in the same direction.
Another reason for strategic planning is that it gives you an opportunity to revisit past decisions and see if there are any flaws in the logic or reasoning behind those decisions.Use the strategic planning process to validate the reasoning behind past and current business decisions.
Take the time to gather as much information about the external environment as you can so decisions can be based on facts rather than assumptions.
A further benefit of strategic planning is that the strat plan gives you the ability to track progress towards your longer term goals. Once you have decided on the strategies that are optimal for your company break them down into actions that will lead to achieving the objectives you have set for your company. Review progress against these actions.
Finally one important benefit of strategic planning is it gives you the ability to understand what resources are required and when they will be required to meet your long goals. This is a step that is often missed in strategic planning and in my opinion is a leading reason that companies fail to implement their strategic plans successfully.
Strategic thinking skills include:
• Analytical skills: To develop strategies that help your organization reach its objectives, you must be capable of analyzing a variety of inputs
• Communication skills: Putting a strategy into place for your company, regardless of its size, requires solid communication skills.
• Problem-solving skills: Strategic planning is often used to solve problems or address challenges, such as missed financial targets, inefficient workflows, or an emerging competitor.
• Planning and management skills: Strategy isn’t just about thinking of a solution—it involves implementation, too.
Skills can be improved by:
Asking Strategic Questions If you want to improve your strategic thinking skills, one of the simplest things you can do is ask more strategic questions.
Observe and Reflect In addition to asking strategic questions, you need to answer and address them skillfully. One of the most effective ways of accomplishing this is to observe and reflect on your current situation, ensuring any strategy you conceive is grounded in facts.
Consider Opposing Ideas Once you’ve decided on a strategy that can help your organization reach its goals, question your assumptions, and put your plan through rigorous testing.
Consider formal training to improve your skills
Hire a consultant experienced in strategic planning to by your guide through the process. A good consultant will teach as well as facilitate. I always consider passing on my experience and knowledge as a key part of my product offering to clients.
HBS runs an online course Disruptive Strategy, where you can discover how to make innovation a reality for your organization. It’s a six week program that costs US $1600. There is a course with an enrollment deadline of March 8. Here is a link to the course information: https://online.hbs.edu/courses/disruptive-strategy
Finally here is the link to the Tug of War video for your enjoyment. Remember getting your team pulling together is maybe the greatest benefit of strategic planning.
Join me next week 11:00 AM Sydney 8:00 AM Singapore and 7:00 PM Sunday US East Coast time when I will cover how to implement a strategic plan
• How to turn your strategic plan into action
• Making the plan relevant to your employees
• Using the strategic plan to aid decision making
• Ensuring your strategic plan remains relevant
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