7 Steps of effective strategic planning process

This TQM article provides insight into the 7 most effective steps in the Strategic Planning Process that have been used in many organisations in the past and proven to be very practical in implementation. the key processes of this typical Strategic Planning Process are lined up into 7 steps. Details of each step are illustrated below:-

Step 1 – Review or develop Vision & Mission

Able to obtain first-hand information from various stakeholders (Shareholders, customers, employees, suppliers communities, etc).

You may use templates to evaluate how the stakeholders think about your organization. To find out whether their action is aligned with the organization’s objectives.

To review or develop the company’s Vision and Mission with the involvement of other stakeholders to ensure it is still current with the business changes and new challenges. Also, use this session as a means of communication.

Step 2 – Business and operation analysis (SWOT Analysis etc)

One of the key considerations of strategic planning is to understand internal (own organisation) Strengths and Weaknesses as well as external Threats and Opportunities. These are commonly known as the four factors of a SWOT analysis.

Involvement from various stakeholders to provide their points of view about your organization is key. In the process, you will gain better buy-in from these implementers of strategies and policies.

Step 3 – Develop and Select Strategic Options

You may use templates to develop several key possible strategies to address the organization’s objectives. More importantly, these possible strategies are developed based on the inputs from stakeholders (step 1) and Business and Operation analysis (step 2).

It is often several possible strategies that are developed and every one of them is important. Since it is quite normal that an organization would have several key issues to tackle, you will be able to use proper tools to select a few from the possible strategies. You will be able to apply several prioritising tools as introduced in this step.

Step 4 – Establish Strategic Objectives

During this step, you will be able to view the overall picture of the organisation and able to select a few strategic options objectively. The template may be used to understand various strategic options, and set key measures and a broad timeline to ensure the selected strategic options are achieved.

While it is quite common that measures and timelines are given by top management, it is the intention of step 4 that these measures and timelines are S.M.A.R.T. Which stands for, Specific (S), Measurable (M), Achievable (A), Realistic (R) and Time-bound (T). When the strategic options are SMART, it will help to ease the communication toward the lower level of the organizational hierarchy for implementation.

Step 5 – Strategy Execution Plan

Many organisations fail to realise the full potential of their strategies due to weak implementation. In step 5, a proper deployment plan is developed to implement these strategies.

Step 6 – Establish Resource Allocation

Very often, the management team assigned selected strategies to key personnel and left it to the individual to carry out the task. While most organizations operate with minimum resources, it often ends up work overloaded by an individual.

Step 7 – Execution Review

One of the key success factors for an effective strategy deployment is a constant review of its progress and making the decision for any deviations from to plan. It is vital to decide what to review and with whom the review is done. The new decision may be required as the status of the strategies progresses.

In summary: Following these 7 steps in Strategic Planning will ensure various options are considered including its execution, resource allocation d and Execution Review. These 7 steps form a complete cycle for new or existing Strategic Planning initiatives.