[Q&A] Best Practices for Your First EVER Strategic Planning Process

May 19, 2023

Q: What would be the best practical approach to implement the first-ever strategic planning process as a (medium-sized) 2,000-person company with 5 C-level executives and 12 managers?

A: Give yourself enough time, do market research, and hire a consultant or follow a guide!


Great question! Here are a few of the best answers from our Strategy Collaborative Q&A Session!

Give Yourself Enough Time – and Don’t Try to Rush!

Before you embark on your strategic planning process, take your time and lay your groundwork. Gather your team, ensure everyone is on the same page, and equip your team with everything they need for success.

Pro Tip:

The planning process should take no longer than 90 days from start to finish! Allocate enough time during that period to create a plan, but don’t let the process last forever. It will feel cumbersome if you don’t have a plan that you can execute in 90 days.

Do Market & Customer Research Before You Plan

Take your time and do a great amount of discovery work. Engage your employees, board, shareholders, and customers. Ask them what they aspire for in your company or organization.

Your strategic plan should build on input from your organization’s stakeholders and customers.

It also gives you something to lean on when you come against tough times in your strategic process; whether due to difficult, expensive, or time-intensive initiatives, you can take security in knowing that you are doing what your customers or stakeholders provided feedback.

Find the Right Consultant or Facilitator

Anyone embarking on their strategic plan should take their time finding the right facilitator or consultant for their company or organization. Use this time to learn about the process and include your board in the decision.

If you decide to facilitate the process yourself, you can follow this guide, or sign up for the StrategyHub, which includes a self-guided course to complete the process.

Using a Consultant vs a Facilitator

While many may use the terms interchangeably, the role of a facilitator versus a consultant are vastly different. Ensure you have clear insight on whether you need a facilitator, someone to help gather the feedback and guide the process, or a consultant to create the strategic plan with your team.

OnStrategy’s lead strategists can help you with both! You can learn more about our services here.

If You Choose a Consultant, Make Sure It’s a Good Fit

There is much to be said about recruiting a third party to your strategic planning team. Sometimes, your employees are too close or entrenched in their standard roles, which may make it difficult to inject fresh energy or enthusiasm for change. Recruiting a third-party strategic planning facilitator or consultant can give your team that extra jolt.

Run an Initial Training

It’s always best to run an initial training as a form of ‘table setting.’ This ensures that you and your team are on the same page and know what you need to do to start your strategic planning journey.

You’ve got this, now just do it!

Ultimately, your process won’t look like everyone else’s. So, as long as you’ve followed the previous steps, you can confidently know you’re ready to jump into your plan and just do it!

Additional Resources to Consider

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