If you're wondering why you should take time out to work on strategic planning, it's because you will reach your organizational goals faster.Every business has goals, targets, and objectives for what they are striving to achieve. Sometimes though, those goals are not helping your organization get closer to where it needs to be.
Someone once said "Wrong metrics lead to wrong decisions; doing the wrong things better doesn't do any good".
Taking the time for strategic planning, whether with your business unit or the top levels of management, will help you re-identify what you should be working on and what is going to move your business closer to where you want it to be.
Theres a great book called "Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress Free Productivity" that says there are four different types of activities:
- Important and urgent
- Urgent but not important.
- Important and not urgent
- and Not urgent and not important.
Strategic planning will help you determine which activities you're doing are important and which ones are not.
- If you're trying to determine what is important for your business, you first have to figure out where you want to go (Your vision).
- Think about what are you hoping to achieve in your business, long term, and then think about what you do on a daily basis that's going to get you there. In other words, why do you exist? (What's your mission?)
- Then identify objectives (those goals we talked about earlier) that will help you move towards your mission and vision.
If there's an activity that in one way or another does not move you closer to your vision, mission or objectives, then consider your reasoning for doing it at all. It might fall under the not important and not urgent category.
It may seems simple to do that on an individual basis, but now think of the impacts if that message and methodology were to spread throughout your organization: how much faster would it move towards its goals and targets?
By taking the time to identify the key priorities and removing potential distractions, you'll be able to achieve your goals faster.
However, if you don't take the time to identify what's most important to your organization, you risk poor performance and your team might be kept busy with things are not important to organizational growth.
Strategic planning doesn't have to be complicated, but because it sounds complicated many companies don't do it as often as they should.
Incorporate strategic planning in to your organization, and you'll quickly see the benefits. Consider working with an outside facilitator, a strategic planning expert who can guide your team through the process.
Here's a video walkthrough of the strategic planning process: