By Shannon Sage
Creating a Strategic Plan – What, Why, How

Creating a strategic plan is critical to a business’s long-term sustainability. Unfortunately, there are too many organizations out there without a strategic plan. In this comprehensive article we’ll discuss precisely what a strategic plan is, why your organization needs one, and how you go about creating and implementing a strategic plan.

What exactly is a strategic plan?  The term strategic planning refers to a coordinated and systematic process for developing a plan for the overall direction of your endeavor for the purpose of optimizing future potential. 

Why should you create a strategic plan?  What does it do for your organization?

  • Organize the chaos and all the good ideas
  • Get you ready for the coming growth
  • Employee engagement – clear sense of direction
  • Helps build your competitive advantage
  • Communicates your strategy to staff
  • Prioritizes your financial needs
  • Provides focus and direction to move your plan to action

How are you going to create your strategic plan?  When creating a strategic plan, you need to get from Point A to Point B in a straight line, not in a twisted, detoured way.  Strategic planning means different things to different people.

  • Level 1 – Articulated Plan: Established  Mission, Vision, Goals, Actions, and KPIs for the next 24-36 months
  • Level 2 – Strategic Differentiation: The plan has a strategic focus on delivering a unique value proposition developed from a clear  understanding of market position and customer needs.
  • Level 3 – Organizational Engagement: Everyone knows the strategic direction, understands their role and commits to accountability. An execution/governance process is in place.
  • Level 4 – Organizational Transformation:  High-performing team that is driven by shared values, consistently driving decision making based on  the agreed upon strategy with data, structure (organizational and process)  and systems in place to support the activity.