What is Strategic Planning?
If you own small business or lead a FORTUNE 500, multi-national
company, most business leaders ultimately want to leverage
previous successes and eliminate causes of prior failures. This
is a difficult and complex process that begins with strategic
Sometimes it is not enough to focus on day to day operations,
leaders must have the discipline to take the time and effort to
clearly define where the organization is now and best determine
where the organization must be within a specific timeline.
Today’s business environment is very dynamic. Changes in the
marketplace are faster and more diverse than ever. Intensifying
competition and rapid technology advances make for constant
worry of your organization’s eventual obsolescence. Ultimately
your customers are never satisfied and will go elsewhere if you
do not give them what they want!
What is Strategic Planning?
Strategic planning focuses on obtaining accurate and unique
information relevant to your business objectives, presenting
same in an articulate written or oral form, to ultimately
position the company or organization to most effectively
leverage existing resources for the purpose of gaining market
share within reasonable profit metrics and within a specific
Strategic planning requires creativity, innovation and non-
inear thinking. It is focused on defining causality within a
leadership perspective. It is much more than a descriptive “what
happened” reporting function; it is more about what “will or
should happen” to or within an organization to reach their
Strategic planning is about the future, not the past. It is
about long term thinking, not near term. It requires making
assumptions about your organization’s future.
Does Strategic Planning Work?
Strategic planning more often than not does not work. All the
time and money that has been spent by so many companies on
strategic planning has been ineffective for four fundamental
1) No clearly defined business objectives to begin with
2) The belief among organization leaders that the strategic
planning process is finite, a once a year task, a
necessary management evil … versus a dynamic, ever-
hanging need to look into the organization’s future.
A desire to “Plan the work and work the plan!”
3) Too much debate among the planners about the forecasts and
not of the ASSUMPTIONS made in the strategic plan
4) Lastly, and most importantly, failure to execute the
defined tactics necessary to drive the planned
It is difficult to effectively plan for the future of an
organization and to motivate leaders to do the same when the
strategic planning function has long been fraught with a valid
representative history of failure. However, if business planners
strive to understand WHY and HOW strategy planning most often
fails, they will significantly improve their odds of achieving
future planning success. It has also been proven that the
rewards of effective planning success are worth the effort!
Define a Strategic Planning “Champion”
There are so many demands today on business leaders. If there is
no planning discipline within the organization, there will only
be reactive responses to future business challenges not
proactive tactics to form the organization’s purpose and related
successes. There must be a “champion” within the organization
who makes strategic planning an ongoing priority within the
organization. This requires an ongoing commitment from senior
management and a constant priority given to strategic planning
processes. A shared commitment to strategic planning is
theoretically important but practically best maintained with
anointment of one person to constantly drive the priority among
the organization’s leadership.
A strategic plan should be considered a “live” document,
constantly being updated and upgraded, addressing valid changes
within the assumptions made in its development. Business or
organization strategies and their associated tactics are
integrative, should cut across; a broad number of issues,
organizational functions and entities. An effective strategic
plan will pragmatically force change within the organization to
ultimately drive improvement OF the organization and its
products or services offered.
About the Author:
Mark Smock is 30+ year veteran of business leadership and is
President of http://www.business-buyer-directory.com, the FIRST
International business buyer directory of its kind. Business
Buyer Directory provides a non-traditional means for proactive
business buyers to locate businesses for sale worldwide that
meet their exact registered purchase criteria.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/