The following strategic planning best practices while fairly broad are important to management teams regardless of industry or challenge they are facing:
Determine and Set Realistic Goals
A business has to set realistic goals based on their company’s capabilities, resources and industry. Once key goals are determined, then strategies can be developed to achieve them.
Create Accountability and Leadership Focus
Company executives need to be in control of the process of strategic planning from the beginning to end. A facilitator should be appointed to keep things organized and on schedule. Seek perspective from subject matter experts outside of the company. Benchmark what competitors are doing. Understand how the company performs against its competitors and develop strategies to either close the gap or maintain a leadership position.
Engage the Company, Not Just the “Key” Managers
Promote new ideas by engaging all the employees in the process. An opportunity presented from a field representative or customer service agent may be more compelling than those from the executive committee.
Make it Clear that Nothing is off Limits
When determining the future of a company anything that needs to be changed has to be changed. The process can’t work if people are too emotionally invested in their own projects, programs or team members. It is important to obtain an open and honest view of the situation.
Once a plan is drafted it should be presented to the company in the form of clearly defined goals. Agreement may prove challenging between personalities and departments. The executive leadership needs to be decisive. Receiving feedback from qualified outsiders can also be effective.
Communicate and Execute
Once the plan has been developed, it’s imperative it be communicated properly and then followed. In the words of Peter Drucker, “What gets measured, gets managed.”