The Comprehensive Guide To Strategic Planning

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There are so many models and approaches to strategic planning, that it's easy to become overwhelmed or confused. Terminology varies. Some approaches call goals objectives, or confuse mission with goals, or a vision of the future.

Yet, despite the somewhat confusing landscape, companies of all sizes need to bite the bullet, choose ONE approach, and stick with it over time. In many ways it matters not what approach or model is used, because having "A PROCESS" to address your business future is the most important part. Before taking a look at the resources we've gathered together, here are some key points to keep in mind.

Key Strategic Planning Guidelines

  • While you might think that the actual result -- the strategic plan, is the most important part of the process, keep in mind that it is the PROCESS of thinking through issues to develop the plan is as important, or even more important than the result.
  • Developing a plan is not the problem, although that can be frustrating. It's the IMPLEMENTATION of the plan, on a human level, that ends up as the challenge. Most strategic plans are gathering dust in desk drawers, completely forgotten, and that is a huge waste.
  • Strategic planning and the resulting plan are not "just for executives", or the business owner. The strategic plan, when communicating properly, can play a huge role in creating meaning for all employees, aiming employees at common goals, and creating a cohesive culture to the organization.
  • To achieve any of the benefits of strategic planning, take the long haul view. Strategic planning is not short term planning (tactics), but should encompass the next 5-10 years. Yes, circumstances change, and all plans need to be revised regularly, but the core elements - values, vision, mission, etc should remain the same.

With that said, here's more help with the elements of strategic planning, strategy development, implementation and much more.

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