Developing a Strategic Plan: A Step-by-Step Guide to Success

Only 63% of companies plan more than a year in advance, missing out on the opportunity to create a strategic plan that will help them reach their goals. According to Ron Carucci, of the consulting firm Navalent, 61% of executives in a 10-year longitudinal study felt that they were not prepared for the strategic challenges they faced when they were appointed to senior leadership positions. Leaders who deal with quarterly objectives, crisis management, and budget reconciliation often consider executing a long-term strategy as a low priority. The COVID-19 pandemic has been a massive disruption to many industries, with some businesses being able to seize the opportunity and others being left behind.

To develop an effective strategic plan, organizations must first assess their external environment and internal strengths and weaknesses. This is done through environmental scanning and an internal analysis, such as a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) assessment. Once the research is complete, organizations can create a strategic map that illustrates the cause-effect of those perspectives and connects them to between 12 and 18 strategic objectives. This map provides an easy-to-understand diagram for all members of the organization, creating shared knowledge at all levels.

The next step is to create a strategic plan that captures the agency's voice and purpose. This plan should define where your organization is heading, how you'll win, who should do what, and how you'll review and adapt your strategy. It should also include a prioritized list of your best ideas and specific steps to achieve your company's goals. A dedicated strategic management team should be responsible for developing the plan and communicating it across the organization.

They should also be responsible for coordinating and evaluating progress in relation to objectives. Additionally, organizations should use the TOWS (Threats Opportunities Weaknesses Strengths) Strategic Alternatives Matrix to help them think about options they could pursue. Strategic planning is an essential process for any organization that wants to achieve its long-term goals. It helps set goals by allowing you to explain how your company will move toward its mission & vision statements in next three to five years.