The Fundamentals of Strategic Planning

Build your strategy for success

Effective strategic planning requires discipline and rigour. It is not a one-time event and it’s not easy.

It pays dividends to have a framework for stimulating disciplined thought to help guide you and your team to the best insights.

Good strategic planning is about the search for the right questions. You can’t hope to get the right answers if you don’t ask the right questions.

Start by looking at the brutal facts, both internal and external to your business, then seek insight from discussion and debate from which you will make a series of decisions.

Once made, you will act on those decisions and learn. Then cycle through again – every quarter - and adapt your plan and focus on actions in response to the wins and misfires of your previous decisions.

A note about who to involve in this process. The team of people you have around you is critical to the successful development of strategy. It is essential that those around you are dedicated to the success of the business above their own or their department's interests.

There needs to be a high level of trust and psychological safety in the room so people can feel safe sharing ideas and engaging in healthy debate.

Strategic planning is not a science it is a creative process. Insights will come if the team are open and have enough trust to engage in rigorous debate. Insight does not come from head nodding!

Asking the right questions

  1. Why do we exist? What is the core Purpose of your business?
  2. How do we behave? A clear set of values that support the behaviour and culture you want for your business. We believe culture is a cornerstone of your strategy.
  3. Where are you going? What is your Vision for the business? What are your long to medium-term goals for the business? Define your Vision and Strategic Themes that will help everyone focus on the work needed to move from today to your Vision.
  4. What do you do? And what do you NOT do? Defining your Bullseye will help you and the team get insight into what you do – and what you don’t (or shouldn’t) do. Where your passion and talents intersect with what the customer values.
  5. How will we Succeed? Having a picture of where you want to take your business and then seeking insight into your current situation through Strengths Weaknesses and Trends, Competitors Analysis and other inputs. Develop a clear and coherent set of principles that will guide your business decisions.
  6. What’s important now? An OKR framework will have you set focused objectives and key results to ensure everyone in the business knows what the focus and priorities are. This will help ensure your mental energy, actions and resources are all pulling in the same direction.
  7. Who needs to do what? A strategic plan without clear actions and accountabilities is nothing but a daydream. Build a culture of discipline and accountability in executing your plan.

strategy framework - from vision to action

Having clear answers to these questions means you're well on your way to a strategy for success.

Now it's time to execute!