There are hundreds if not thousands of templates for strategic plans that you will find by searching Google (or Yahoo/Bing/Ask Jeeves?). Which ever option you go with, make sure you're incorporating these 5 topics to have a complete and easy to follow framework for strategic planning. This will take most of the guessing game and uncertainty out of the equation and give you and your company a great plan that you can go execute on.
1. Knowing where you're at today
Great planning starts with understanding where you are today and confronting the facts. A SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis helps capture and frame up your current state. Once you are clear on where you are today, you can more easily identify what you need to focus on to move forward. 2. Knowing where you're going
Call it your BHAG, Destination, 5-Year Target, Vision, One Big Goal or whatever you'd like. For this article, I will reference it as One Big Goal. The bottom line is having clarity on where your company is going is key to getting alignment. Without clarity comes confusion. When everyone is on the same page with where you're going, everyone begins rowing in the same direction and great momentum takes place. 3. Identifying your Key Conditions and Barriers
What are the key conditions, if you create them, that will drive achievement of your One Big Goal? These are the factors that absolutely need to be in place for you to be successful. On the opposite end, what’s standing in your way from achieving your One Big Goal? These are existing or potential challenges that are keeping you where you are today and preventing you from getting where you want to be. Being transparent with both of these make putting together a successful plan much more likely. 4. Determining your Strategies
Your strategies are the broad activities that your company will be focusing on to achieve your One Big Goal. You've already identified what Key Conditions need to be in place and Barriers overcame to achieve your One Big Goal. Now, use these to narrow in on what strategies you should focus on. What are the strategies that are necessary to create the Key Conditions you've identified? What strategies are needed to overcome the Barrier’s you're facing that are holding you back from achieving your One Big Goal? If these strategies are implemented it is highly likely that your One Big Goal will be achieved. 5. Setting your Goals
The reason you went through all the previous steps is for your company to clarify what you need to focus on to make the necessary progress towards achieving your One Big Goal. When it comes to identifying your annual goals, think about the results you want to achieve by the end of the year. Now, what are the strategies you've already identified that you need to focus on this year? Remember, Strategies = activities focused while Goals = results focused. In order for your goals to make the cut, they need to address EACH of the strategies you've identified. Without doing so, you will have gaps in your strategic plan. Following these 5 steps is a simple and effective way to get you and your company a great strategic plan to focus on for the upcoming year. Remember, start with where you're at today then look where you want to go and put together the roadmap for what needs to get accomplished to make this a reality. Makes sense yet still not sure you want to go through this alone? Grab some time on my calendar to discuss how I could help you put together a great strategic plan and get a template to use with your team.