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3 Crucial Steps For Creating An Effective Strategic Plan

Every organisation has a mission, a vision and a set of values to guide their business and their actions. However, how many organisations can confidently say that their values would serve them 5 or even 10 years down the road? How many of these organisations can clearly say that their values are helping them tide through the current crisis?

This is where strategic planning comes in. A system that allows an organisation to assess its current standing and determine the direction of their business, strategic planning helps an organisation to document their long-term goals and the concrete steps needed to reach them. With the entire COVID-19 situation, having a strategic plan is of utmost importance right now.

The most crucial element of strategic planning is the process. Here are 3 steps that your organisation can take to ensure that its strategic plan is robust.

1. Re-evaluate your mission, vision and goals

This is the most important step because an organisation's mission, vision and goals define how they conduct their business to reach their goals. A key difference between a mission and a vision is that the vision describes the future state of the organisation. As such, a company's vision is time-bound and can be changed to reflect shifting priorities (although these changes should be kept to a minimum).

Take the time to sit down and carefully assess your mission, vision and goals. Are they still pertinent to the current situation? Are they conducive for reaching your organisational goals? Are the mission and vision aligned with the organisation's strategy? Asking such questions will help you to uncover which areas of your organisations need changing and especially if organisational goals need to be re-orientated.

2. Choose An Appropriate Strategic Framework

After defining your objectives and priorities, it is time to organise them into an appropriate framework that will organise them in a concise manner and list down the steps needed to achieve them. The most popular framework would be the Balanced Scorecard (BSC), which was developed in the 1990s to identify internal business functions and their resulting outcomes.

Designed to give a holistic view of an organisation's objectives, BSC helps organisations uncover the linkages between different projects, what type of performance metrics are needed and detect which areas need improvement. This is done by analysing organisational goals from 4 different perspectives: financial, customer, internal process and organisational capacity. If your organisation decides to use BSC, ask yourself these 4 questions:

1. What is the impact of our financial goals on the organisation?

2. What do our customers value and how does it affect our finances?

3. What internal processes that we need to adopt (or improve) in order to meet the needs of our customers and how does that affect our finances?

4. What are the skills, culture and capabilities that we need to develop in order to execute our internal processes that will go towards satisfying our customers and impact our finances?

While the BSC is the most popular and has been used by countless organisations, there are other frameworks that will work just as well. Make sure to properly research the best type of framework that will clearly express your objectives, measures and projects in an understandable manner.

3. Constantly Evaluate Your Strategy

Even after executing your strategy, it is important to constantly review the plan to make sure that your organisation is on track. In our VUCA world, things are constantly shifting and disruptions are common. In the past, it may have been feasible for an organisation to review its strategic plan once every 10 years. Now, however, an organisation will benefit from evaluating its strategic plan every six months. Consequently, dedicated time should be set aside every 6 months to properly analyse performance and finance reports to make sure that they are in line with the organisation's strategic plan. Important note: make sure that you have the proper software to compile all of the research.

Either you run the business or the business will run you. - Fritz Shoemaker


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