When it comes to strategy, many organizations have questions about different stages of the process. Whether you're a seasoned leader who has worked through the strategic planning process, or starting your first organizational strategy, questions may arise along the way. While organizations across sectors and of all sizes should develop a strategic plan, it's not necessarily a one size fits all process.
Who needs a strategy, what should the strategic plan include, where is the best place to hold a strategy meeting, why is strategic planning important, and when should a strategy be created or updated are some common queries that emerge.
Who needs a strategy?
In short, everyone. Regardless of your industry or the size of your organization, a strategic plan is an important way to align your team and keep your business moving forward and achieving its goals. In an article by Harvard Business Review, the author reviews different levels of strategy and explains that while small-medium organizations may have an ongoing strategy process, larger diversified companies may need a more systemic approach to strategic planning.
What should a strategic plan include?
Each organization has a different vision, mission and goal, and it's important that your organizational strategy supports yours. Furthermore, it's crucial that your leadership team and any staff that will play a role in implementing the strategy are involved in the process early on. While there are certain aspects of a strategic plan that are imperative, like a SWOT analysis, KPIs, and an execution plan, (Forbes shares the basics of what to include in a strategic plan) your strategy meeting is also a great time to get innovative with your team and encourage creative thinking and teamwork.
Where a strategic planning meeting be held?
Depending on the size of your organization, your budget, and how often you review your strategy, you may want to consider different options. For example, if you work in a fast paced technology industry where you are addressing your strategy on a daily basis, you may decide that it's best done in house. However, if you review your strategy quarterly, you may want to hold offsite strategy meetings to encourage creativity and to have a change of scenery. Similarly, organizations who choose to update their strategy on a yearly basis may decide that a multi-day strategic planning retreat is the best fit for them. Many organizations find that using a facilitator can help you make the most of offsite strategy sessions.
Why is strategic planning important?
Strategic planning is important for a variety of reasons. Aligning your team, ensuring progress towards your vision, mission and goals, eliminating communication silos, addressing organizational change, understanding your market, industry, audiences and competitors, and analyzing and planning for best and worst case scenarios are some of the many reasons to regularly address your strategy.
When should strategic planning be done?
It depends. Different industries have different busy and slow seasons as well as different organizational needs. If your organization has never gone through the strategic planning process, then any time is a good time to get started. For other organizations who have addressed strategy in the past, deciding how often your strategy needs a review can be a factor for planning when to hold your next session. Some companies, like non-profit organizations, like to hold strategy sessions in their slower seasons, when staff are less distracted by events or high volumes of customers. On the other hand, organizations who regularly update their strategy may choose to hold strategic planning sessions whether they are busy or not.
Looking for an easy way to address the who, what, where, why, and when of strategic planning?
Check out our complete starter kit that will guide you through the entire strategic planning process: