Creating a Road Map to Success with Strategic Planning
Regardless of the size of your business or where you stand on the corporate ladder, a crash course in strategic planning is never a bad thing. Like a game of chess, the individual with the best strategy is going to succeed. The great thing about strategy in business and management is that it does not require you to memorize arbitrary rules about the movement of pieces. In fact, if you have been operating in your current position or field for any length of time, you probably have the skill sets required for impressive strategy development.
Contrary to its technical sounding name, strategic planning is simply drawing a road map for your process or business. Anyone who understands the business, not only business consultants, can develop effective plans. Teams involved ask themselves questions like:
- What is the current state of the process?
- Where is the desired state of the process?
- How does the process get from the current state to the desired state?
- What resources are required?
- What approvals will be needed?
- What are the risks associated with the changes?
- What can be done to mitigate the risks?
The more questions that are asked and answered by a strategic planning team at the onset of a project, the better the chance at success in implementation. It is crucial that teams address both the how, when and where of the problem, as well as the risks. Failures in business development and new process implementation often occur because teams neglect to plan for risks or issues. Very few solutions are implemented without a few bumps, and if the team has not prepared their project vehicle for shocks, they are likely to run off the road.
In the competitive market of today's corporate office culture, companies cannot afford to miss opportunities for improvement. A constant quest for increased efficiencies and lower costs have made strategic planning one of the most valued tools among leaders. Some companies have entire departments allocated to planning and risk management.
An employee who is able to demonstrate consistent and successful strategy in business situations secures a solid place within most companies. Business owners and corporate leaders should dust off their chess playing skills and take a critical look at their department. They should ask themselves: "Are all the resources being used to the highest advantage in order to achieve a target or goal?"