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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Introduction To Strategic Planning

Why bother to plan?

  1. Define a group of potential strategies

  2. Educate the group to potential actions

  3. Identify and support existing capabilities for each potential project

  4. Create a group of acceptable results

  5. Select projects which become the strategic plan

Completing a planning exercise is the beginning of the planning/execution process. A good plan creates a system for effective communication to monitor progress against planned milestones while seizing opportunities as they are defined.

Finally, defining any goal greatly increases the probability of achieving that goal. In our experience, accomplishing an ambitious 5 year goal in 18 months due to common focus on the goal has occurred enough times.

Who initiates planning?

The planning process requires a top down approach to define which goals are most valuable for the organization. While feedback from the organization may generate some good ideas, defining "conditions for satisfaction" for the planning process must come from management.

Who manages planning?

In our organizational transformation model, acceptable results are defined by the manager. Tactical procedures and reporting milestones are designed by the person doing the work, and "sold" to the manager. After the project has been negotiated, fulfilling project obligations (or managing) is the responsibility of the person doing the work.

How sophisticated should planning get?

Development and execution of the planning process for project management should be taught to every person who will be responsible for achieving a result. At each level, the planning process should be sophisticated enough to convince management that the desired result will be achieved on time, following the plan. The alternative is that if the goal will not be reached, management will be notified in time to reformulate how the goal will be reached.

At a minimum, there are three good elements to a strategic plan.

  • First Strategic Element- What is the mission of the organization?

  • Second Strategic Element- What is our history?

  • Third Strategic Element- What will our future be?

First Strategic Element - What is the Mission of the Organization?

A positioning statement is a declaration of purpose for your organization. The positioning statement should define your industry, why you exist, and identify your emotional and qualitative goals.

If you are developing a positioning statement, think about what your organization will be in 6 months. Describe it in 2 or 3 one clause declarative statements.

The only way to refine a declaration is to say it, out loud, until you are comfortable with it and you believe it.When you finish a positioning statement it will become a simple declarative statement.

"What do you do?" is the question best answered by a positioning statement. Here is a method for developing your positioning statement.

  • Why are you excellent?

  • Why is your organization excellent?

  • Why do your customers think your organization excellent?

  • After six months of improvement, what would your customers think is the best service you offer?

Second Strategic Element- What is our history?

  • Years in business

  • Key events

  • Historical performance.

  • How has the corporate mission changed?

  • Initial

  • Mid

  • Current

Initial facts

  • Year

  • Performance

  • People

  • Contracts

  • Business Units

  • Profits, etc.

Compound Ratios (based on combining 2 or more initial facts)

  • Performance per capita

  • Performance per contract (more than average or median, set up multiple bar graphs for each of the past four years) This generates contract "families".

  • Definition of existing business areas. ("Strategic business units" means we are trying to think "strategically").

Other data manipulation to develop compound ratios is best done on a spreadsheet. The purpose of the data manipulation is to discover and agree on ratios for evaluating performance.

Third Strategic Element- What will our future be?

Defining and attempting to achieve extraordinary results, builds loyalty, and actual results, whether the goal is achieved or not, exceeds the results of competing organizations that do not set, communicate and manage by their goals. By attempting to achieve a goal, problems are more easily defined, which is the first step in solving a problem.

Corporate goals come from personal needs. Risks and rewards for achieving goals should be clearly stated before the project is attempted.

Our experience is that a superior who communicates his or her goal (technically called vision) and describes their personal tactical plan, can then invite their subordinate to create a personal vision that supports the larger vision. When the superior allows the subordinate to create the tactical plan that will produce the specified results within a specified time frame, we have just created a pocket of organizational transformation.

Transformational management styles often outperform Taylor model (organizational pyramid) management styles by a compound rate over time.


  • What should our mission be this year?

  • For the next 5 years?

  • What should our quantitative goals be?

  • What are our managerial, cultural, qualitative,innovative and organizational bonding goals?

Managerial style

  • Management organization structure

  • Cultural

  • Qualitative

  • Innovative

  • Organizational Bonding


  • What resources already exist within the organization?

  • What resources can be created from within the organization?

  • What external resources will we have to define and procure?

Completing The Plan

Which ratios will we use to chart our progress? What are good milestones?

How should this be communicated to our stakeholders?

What other information is required to complete a great strategic plan?

What is our formal, one year plan for holding further strategic planning meetings?

When will the next draft of the plan be completed?

Who is going to type this beast?

Thank you.


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