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Strategic planning

In organizational development, strategic management, and marketing, organizations employ strategic planning as a way to move toward their desired future states. It is the process of developing and implementing plans to reach goals and objectives. Strategic planning, more than anything else, is what gives direction to an organization.

Table of contents

Process Most strategic planning methodologies are based on the STP process:

  • Situation - Where are we right now? How did we get here?
  • Target - Where do we want to be?
  • Path - How can we get there?

General Approaches In general terms, there are two approaches to strategic planning:

There are two ways of doing strategic planning:

  • Strategy as logical incremental steps
  • Strategy as revolution
    • more a mind-set than a formal technique
    • not rule or ritual oriented, not reductionist, not reactive, not autocratic[?]
    • identify the unquestioned beliefs in your industry and challenge them - Look for opportunities to re-write the rules of the industry
    • look for major discontinuities in technology, lifestyle, habits, and geopolitics, and embrace the change wholeheartedly - Do not waste time making small incremental adjustments - Be prepared to create a completely new business model at any time

Elements While there are many variations, most strategic planning processes include:

  • Environmental scanning
  • SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats)
  • GTSM (Goals, Targets, Strategies, Measures)

A good strategy should be:

  • a good fit between the business environment and a companies resources and core competency - It must be feasible and appropriate
  • capable of providing the company with a sustainable competitive advantage - It should be unique and sustainable
  • dynamic, flexible, and able to adapt to changing situations and value migrations
  • sufficient on its own - ie.: profitable without cross-subsidization

Reasons Strategic Plans Fail There are many reasons why strategic plans fail, especially:

  • Failure to understand the customer
    • why do they buy
    • is there a real need for the product
    • inadequate or incorrect marketing research
  • Inability to predict environmental reaction
  • Over-estimation of resource competence
    • can the staff, equipment, and processes handle the new strategy
    • failure to develop new employee and management skills
  • Failure to coordinate
    • reporting and control relationships not adequate
    • organizational structure not flexible enough
  • Failure to obtain senior management commitment
    • failure to get management involved right from the start
    • failure to obtain sufficient company resources to accomplish task
  • Failure to obtain employee commitment
    • new strategy not well explained to employees
    • no incentives given to workers to embrace the new strategy
  • Under-estimation of time requirements
  • Failure to follow the plan
    • no follow through after initial planning
    • no tracking of progress against plan
    • no consequences for above

Figures in Strategic Planning

See also: strategic management, marketing, marketing plan, Porter 5 forces analysis

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