Measuring Success in Strategic Planning: A Comprehensive Guide

Strategic planning is a process in which organizational leaders determine their vision for the future and identify their goals and objectives for the organization. To plan how they are going to achieve this, organizations create a strategic plan or a general document that directs their efforts and resources towards a clearly defined vision. After setting ambitious goals and objectives, agencies need a way to know whether or not they are making progress in achieving them. There are two main ways to measure progress: success metrics and milestones.

Success metrics are quantifiable measures that agencies track to see if their strategies are working effectively. These metrics will often be financial, such as profits, revenues, and cash flow. Accuracy is also important, as it refers to the proximity of a measured value to an established standard or a known value. Milestones are key steps or actions that agencies must take on certain dates to achieve the goal.

The final step in measuring the success of a strategic plan is to communicate the KPIs and metrics and act on them. Involving your employees, aligning their actions with departmental and organizational strategies, and valuing their professional development demonstrates the value you give them now and in the long term. During the four-year period of the strategic plan, agencies periodically review and update it to take into account changes in their operating environment. Choosing the right measures to measure your organization's success can help you develop your brand, increase your results, attract your staff, prove your worth to stakeholders, and develop a loyal customer base. If you get stuck, there are experts who can help you move forward with a successful strategic planning approach.

Let's explore how you can measure success accurately in strategic planning.

Financial Metrics

Financial metrics are quantitative measures that help you track your progress and performance in relation to the goals and objectives of your strategic plan. All companies want to provide error-free services, so some metrics will be financial, such as profits, revenues, and cash flow. If you've met or exceeded your goals, you can be confident in the quality of your overall product.


Accuracy refers to the proximity of a measured value to an established standard or a known value. In other words, “Did you reach your goal the way you originally intended?” For example, Carson's success indicators were the number of applications he submitted and the number of interviews he got.

Real Examples

A city's strategic plan determines what visions you bring to life and how you plan to carry them out.

Check out 4 real examples of urban strategic plans and discover how they balance high-level thinking with specific action elements.

Reasons for Failure

The five main reasons for the failure of these strategic plans are the misinterpretation of the opportunity, a poorly designed strategy, the misalignment of competencies, the lack of monitoring, and changes in external factors.


If you were to ask that owner today how the success of a strategic plan is measured, he will answer: “Revenue and market knowledge”. With all due respect to business leaders who think this way, hope and persistence aren't what makes strategic planning successful. To measure success accurately requires understanding financial metrics, accuracy measures, real examples of urban plans, and common reasons for failure.