With the first quarter under our belts, it’s time to start re-evaluating our goals and planning out the balance of the year. Senior executives generally agree that strategic planning is one of the most important parts of their job. As a result, most companies invest significant time and effort in annual strategic-planning process. Whether your a big company or a small business, it makes sense to plan strategically.
In a business environment of heightened risk and uncertainty,developing effective strategies is crucial. But how can companies reinvent the process in order to get the payoff required?
3 Tips for a Strategic Planning Session:
- Clearly Define Goals
- Increase the Innovation
- Preparing minds
Goals-based planning starts with focus on the organization’s mission(and vision and/or values), goals to work toward the mission, strategies to achieve the goals, and action planning (who will do what and by when). Make sure the goals are S.M.A.R.T – specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely.
Companies can create conditions in which creative ideas are more likely to happen. Some executives take the approach where they are constantly starting up small new initiatives, trying out different strategies in the market, seeing what works and what doesn’t, shutting down the things that don’t work, and starting up the things that do. Thus, this approach allows the company’s strategy to adapt to change constantly. It also allows employees to feel open to introducing new ideas and initiatives as they understand that innovation is welcomed. You can also create an elite task forces staffed by top-performing managers to work on the issues, deliver decisions, ideas or recommendations.
It’s always good to prepare for a strategic planning session. Start off by taking a look at your current situation. Take a look at your financials currently, last year’s actual and where you want to be in the future. Whatever your goals are make certain that you have measurable actions that will allow you to achieve the goals created in a timely manor. Make sure you and your team take the time to prepare for the actual planning session.
“Chance favors only the prepared mind.” ~ Louis Pasteur
Lastly, set aside time to plan creatively as a team. Running a strategic planning session can be overwhelming, but try to keep things simple. Get out of the normal environment and go somewhere special to plan. Encourage a team environment where creativity can grow.
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