For a manager, strategic planning plays an important role. With strategic planning, one can easily accomplish the important goals set ahead, and can also allow the business to run with much more efficiency. Let us understand the steps involved in strategic planning process that will yield you with better results. But before that, let’s first find out,
What is strategic planning?
Organizations emphasize on strategic planning because it helps them to set goals and have an actionable plan to achieve those in a specific time span. There may be a different plan for the organization, and with that, there are several different strategies managers implement with their teams.
Everyone employs different methods that suit them. So why do we need to understand the strategic planning process? It is because, if you use the right methods, you will be able to get better results and higher productivity, which is integral to the company’s long-term success.
Here are the 7 steps involved in strategic planning process
Understand the Need for a Strategic Plan:
This is the most important step in the entire process. Before you plan out anything, you need to understand why it has to be planned, and then you can move on to other questions like how to plan and execute.
In the terms of management it means that you have a close watch at the industry environment, how the businesses operate and then carefully identify the opportunity for development.
And after you have identified the opportunities, you can then begin to plan out the actions that would help you take advantage of those opportunities.
The second step in the strategic planning process is setting goals. One can set goals for both, the individual departments and also the organization as a whole.
For example, the goal for the entire organization would be to secure the bid, whereas for individual departments it would be specific performance metrics.
One thing you need to keep in mind is that, when you set goals for the organization, it can be general. But when you set goals for individual teams, they need to be specific.
Develop Assumptions or Premises:
When you are setting goals for the organization or even the team, it has to be done with the future in mind. Of course, you cannot predict what will happen in the future, which is why you need to make plans by assuming certain things.
If your team’s goal is to increase the profits, you have to set it with a few assumptions. Because the management team cannot forecast the change in the industry scenario, and whether or not the industry will support the increase in profits.
During this process, you will have to look into both, internal and external premise.
Some of the internal premises include-
- The expected availability of the resources.
- The changed company policies that you will have to implement.
- And the interaction of the levels of management with the plan.
The external premises that might affect include-
- The social and the political environment.
- Technological advancements.
- The competitive environment.
Work on Different Ways to Achieve the Goals:
A goal can be achieved in many different ways. But you have to still research the different ways to get there. This is because we all know, one size does not fit all. You need to find the way to which your team responds the best.
Now why is this important you might wonder? It is so that it gives the managers some flexibility to direct their team.
If one strategy does not work, it shouldn’t end there. The managers should constantly experiment with what works and what does not.
Choose Your Plan of Action:
Now once you have completed everything, that is set the goals, researched and evaluated different and the best solutions to work towards it the next step is to decide the plan of action. An ideal plan of action would be the one that is most profitable.
One thing you need to keep in mind is that when you decide the plan of action, you have to base it on concrete evidence, like a mathematical analysis. While doing this, you can also take the elements from other plans into considerations and fit it accordingly.
Develop a Supporting Plan:
When you make a solid plan with all the research that is going to help you increase the profit margins, you also need to develop a secondary plan, as a support plan.
For example, if your objective is to launch a new product, the main plan may include the necessary steps like market research, product research, developing a promising marketing plan, manufacturing etc. The secondary plan n this case would include all the necessary steps that will support the implementation of this plan.
Implementing the Strategic Plan:
The final step amongst the steps involved in strategic planning process is implementing the plan that you have made. So when you are implementing the plan, you have to draw out your skills and make sure the made plan runs smoothly.
If the goals you have set are difficult, making the plan a little more complex, the managers must take their time to make sure that the team members have a better understanding of their responsibilities and align with the larger goal.
Thus strategic planning can help the managers take out the best in their employees and team members, by promising increased productivity and efficiency.