An Introduction to Strategic Planning

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The purpose of this board briefing is to provide an overview of the steps used in strategic planning.

What is strategic planning?

Strategic planning is the process of creating a vision of a desired future for your company or organisation, and then translating this into broad goals or objectives which are then further broken down into a series of steps which if taken, will result in the achievement of the vision. Although strategic planning will include an assessment of where your organisation is now, and of the environment in which it operates, it is important to start with the vision or ideal future for your company and work backwards, asking at each stage what must be done to reach the previous stage in order to achieve the vision.

How does strategic planning differ from other types of planning?

Strategic planning starts with the end result and works backwards to decide how that result can be achieved. Strategic planning looks at the broader picture than tactical or operational plans.

What does strategic planning involve?

There are many different models for developing a strategic plan. However, most involve the following steps:

  • Creating a vision of an ideal future and capturing this as a vision statement
  • Considering relevant trends in the external environment, using PESTLE (Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal, Environmental) analysis, (e.g.) the population is ageing, most people now have access to the internet, government policy is becoming more favourable to certain issues etc.
  • Analysing where the company is now by using a SWOT analysis (opportunities and threats will usually relate to the trends identified during the PESTLE analysis)
  • Developing objectives which if met will lead to the achievement of the vision
  • Consulting with stakeholders (staff, customers, funders etc.)
  • Breaking the objectives down into manageable actions to achieve the objectives
  • Implementing the actions and monitoring progress towards achieving objectives
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of each action in achieving objectives
  • Reviewing the strategic plan and adapting where necessary

What is the difference between a vision statement and a mission statement?

  • A vision statement articulates the ideal future of the organisation.
  • A mission statement expresses what a company does, and how it goes about doing it. A vision statement is what the company aspires to be, while a mission statement reflects the core purpose or what is important to the organisation.

Further information

Is this an area of concern for you? Contact Leading Governance for more help.