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Overview

The process is divided into five logical stages as you can appreciate below. Each stage has a number of steps that we recommend get completed for a thorough and effective Strategic Planning exercise.

 

Below is a suggested plan across a four-week period. This plan may change depending on the unique circumstances of each business. However, it’s a good baseline to have as it gives you an understanding of sequencing and expected durations for each task.

 

Strategic Planning Project Plan

This is the roadmap of the Strategic Planning process.

Strategic Planning Organisational Structure

Below is an example of how you can structure the Strategic Planning organisation. This may be simpler or more complex depending on the nuance of your business. The idea here is to give you a baseline to work with.

Strategic Planning Organisational Structure

Strategic Planning Organisational Structure

Phase 1: Groundwork

Before you get stuck into the core of Strategic Planning, you want to have all the information at hand. This is what I call doing the groundwork. There is no point immediately scheduling a workshop without having done the pre-work to make it successful. I can’t tell you how many workshops I’ve attended where the facilitator is unprepared, the audience is not briefed enough and you are starting on a blank piece of paper. I’m sure you can imagine, they are not effective at all. And when you start adding up man-day costs, these ineffective sessions can get quite expensive!

So do yourself a favor and prepare well! Cover the groundwork thoroughly; go above and beyond what is prescribed in this book if you have to.

Step #1: Assign a Strategic Planning Resource (SPR)

 

Who Inputs Outputs Tools & Resources
CEO/COO or the person accountable for business strategy n/a Appointment of a Strategic Planning Resource

Its best if one person or small team is appointed to oversee the logistical aspects of the strategic planning exercise. This could be a talented business manager, senior leadership member or an external party. Whoever is appointed should be comfortable liaising with multiple stakeholders and experienced in facilitating workshops and discussions. We discourage key decision makers being given this role as it deters them from partaking in the workshop and other planning activities as they get pre-occupied with managing the logistics of the process.

Step #2: Assemble the Planning Team (PT)

 

Who Inputs Outputs Tools & Resources
SPR + Executive Leadership Team (LT) n/a
  • Stakeholder list with their availability clearly documented
  • Booked meetings & offsite logistics
Strategic Planning Participant Profile and Availability

 

This should be a small group of key individuals in the business (key decision makers, subject matter experts, etc.). The group size varies depending on the size of your business. But a team of 8-15 people will usually be more than enough.

When each participant is advised of their required attendance, information about their planned leave in the coming weeks/months should be collected to facilitate workshop and meeting scheduling.

As part of this step, it’s a good idea to spend some time booking calendars for all the meetings that are expected (workshops, offsite, tollgates and progress catch ups). Don’t forget to arrange the venues and other facilities as appropriate (lunch, snacks, teas, coffee’s, etc.).

Don’t underestimate this part of the process, as it can be quite a task to manage all the moving parts of events, people’s schedules, room availabilities, catering, etc. Its more time consuming than it appears.

Step #3: Collate existing information

 

Who Inputs Outputs Tools & Resources
SPR
  • Business Plan
  • Historical Strategy Documents
  • Mission/Vision/Value Statements
  • Organisational Structure
  • Financials for the last 3-5 years
  • Marketing Plan/Strategy
  • Key Projects and Programs currently ongoing or planned.

 

1 Shared folder with all this information catalogued for the reference of the Planning Team
  • Drop Box
  • Google Drive
  • Confluence
  • SharePoint

 

Collect any pertinent material to the Strategic Planning exercise. Once the information is collected from the various sources, this should be centrally stored and shared with the Planning Team for review and perusal prior to the planning session. Its best to catalogue these documents somewhere secure and with lots of focus on entitlements (in line with your company’s policies and procedures) as these are all confidential and potentially sensitive documents.

Step #4: Perform an employee survey

 

Who Inputs Outputs Tools & Resources
SPR n/a Completed Employee Survey
  • Employee Survey Template
  • Surveymokey

 

During the “Audit” phase of Strategic Planning, employee feedback is crucial for the completion of the SWOT analysis. It is recommended that an employee Survey is conducted early in the process so that this input is ready to be used in the next phase. Ideally you want to allow 3-4 days for most staff to complete the survey.

An important point to take into consideration is that employees will usually partake on these types of surveys honestly, only when you have made them anonymous. Staff usually feel reluctance in participating, or fear of retribution should they be honest about a development area of the business. So, for best and most accurate results, keep it anonymous!

Step #5: Pre-Planning Assessment (optional)

 

Who Inputs Outputs Tools & Resources
SPR Documents Collected in Step #3 Completed Pre-Planning Assessment Pre-Planning Assessment

 

Once there has been a review of the historical information collected in Step #3, its helpful to form observations, identify trends and company behaviors.  Complete the Pre-Planning Assessment to get a view on the current state of your company’s strategy based on observations. The results of this Assessment will enable you to understand what areas of your overall strategy you need to focus on.