Planning Part 1 of 4: Pre-Planning Activities

There’s no denying it–the end of the year is drawing near. The coming holiday festivities are accompanied by the need for your organization to begin updating and revamping your strategic plan for the new year. During the next four Strategy Check Newsletters, we will be providing a high-level process overview for you to follow as you update your strategy for the new year.

The first phase of the process is to gather all the necessary information you need, create your planning team, decide who will champion the ongoing planning and execution process, and establish an implementation schedule for your organization to follow.

Pre-Planning Activity Duration: 1-2 weeks


  • A planning team
  • Analyzed data to use in planning sessions

Step 1: Determine Your Planning Readiness

This step consists of posing a few questions to consider before you embark upon the planning process. These include:

  • What steps need to be taken to ensure the planning process is successful?
  • What planning pitfalls from last year should we need to avoid?

Consider your answers to these questions as you create your planning team and schedule. It’s important you consider what it will take to make your organization successfully complete the planning process and what you need to avoid.

Step 2: Select Your Team

The next action you’ll need to take is deciding on who will be part of your planning team. At minimum, you need to appoint an individual that will champion the process (a Chief Strategy Officer, Strategy Direct, etc.), decision-makers within your organization (CEO, CMO), and other key individuals that will add value to the process. We recommended keeping this team between 12-15 people.

Once you’ve selected your team, clearly articulate and outline everyone’s role, responsibilities, and expectations for the process. It’s important to establish these expectations so your team can come prepared to each planning session.

Step 3: Collect Current Performance Data

Before you can begin analyzing your marketing position, organizational strengths and weaknesses, and creating your plan’s foundation, you need to collect and analyze your organization’s pertinent data to create a clear picture of where your organization stands today. As you collect this information, we recommend including:

  • Your current strategic plan, even if it’s not current
  • Your mission, vision, and values statements
  • Any business plans
  • Financial records from this year
  • Any functional department plans you may have
  • Any information you deem relevant from last year’s planning activities

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Step 4: Analyze & Review Your Data

As you analyze the information you gathered in step 3, look at the big picture. What trends are you seeing within your information? Are there any obvious gaps in information or performance? What do your financial statements tell you about the health and efficiency of your organization.

Make any notes you see relevant and save them to reference during your planning sessions.

Bonus: Complete a Free Organizational Benchmark

Our free strategic performance index will gather insights from your leadership team and benchmark your organization’s performance against other high-performing organizations. The free 15-minute web-based survey provides a report that will help you identify gaps in your organization, gives you an effectiveness baseline, and compares your organization’s strengths and weaknesses against other growth oriented organizations. Take it here.

With your pre-planning activities complete, you can begin the first phase of planning to determine your strategic position in the market and identify your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats, and competitive advantages. Now stay tuned for part 2/4!


One Comment

  1. Glyn Mwaka says:

    I have immensely benefited from your articles and would like to sincerely thank you for the great work you are doing around the world.

    I was wondering and I wanted to ask a question, what is your level of involvement in Africa specifically Southern Africa?

    What sort of clients do you have and what are the consumption patterns in Africa; Do you consult face to face, or they just buy your strategy tools online and use them on their own?

    Warm Regards,
    Glyn Mwaka (Mr.)

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