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Planning a New Year – Strategic Planning and an Action Roadmap

It is hard to believe that 2015 is almost completed. Like everyone else I wonder where the time went, reflect on challenges and accomplishments and make plans for a great 2016. Planning without
a process, the tools, a strategic facilitator and a common approach is not always good idea. Creating a roadmap for the future and strategic planning can be time intensive and a challenge. It requires you to have a framework, make key decisions and establish a common direction. It starts with understanding what it means to do strategic planning and building a roadmap.

In my book, S.E.T. for Success: a roadmap to transform your business,  I define strategic planning and roadmap from a business perspective:

  • Strategic planning is a systematic process of envisioning a desired future, translating this vision into broadly defined goals or objectives, and then mapping out a concrete sequence of steps to achieve them. Unlike long-term planning, which begins with the current status and lays down a path to meet estimated future needs , strategic planning begins with the desired end and works backward to the current status. Rather than focusing on internal operational “issues,” a strategic focus addresses and solves business problems and opportunities from a larger, over-arching scope of focus. It’s formulated before tactical action is taken.
  • A roadmap points the business in its best direction, displaying important linkages and intersections, and bringing it most effectively and efficiently to its end goal. To keep from getting stuck (and also to get unstuck) , a business needs a navigational tool that maps boundaries and points of interest, displaying business development opportunities, process efficiencies, tools that can be used, and the people that can make the successful journey happen, all right in front of their eyes. This is where strategic planning comes in.

Often there is a challenge when planning meeting and when business leaders and their teams meet. They tend to go around and around in their discussions. Sometimes it can be like the song that never ends. This is a normal part of planning process. Establishing the strategic goals and objectives for your business isn’t always easy for a senior management team to do on their own. They often have too much on their plate in the day-to-day world, drawing their attention away from high-level planning.

If you find that your team is getting stuck in the details of the discussion (i.e. thinking tactically) and things are going round and round in circles, consider hiring a professional strategic facilitator. An outside facilitator can help the senior team to focus their efforts while remaining independent and neutral to the outcomes. They can also help in the setting of goals and objectives and bring you through a road map process, freeing your team to focus on the strategic level and not get distracted by operational details.

Other options are to consider the knowledge levels your team requires to prepare for planning and choosing the best approach. Over the course of the last few years I have written a number of articles and a book on strategic planning to prepare clients for their future. As you think about your approach and bring your team together to plan your future consider the following articles on strategic planning as a guide to your success. Good luck.

Strategic Planning: 9 Steps to Take You from a Strategic Plan to Implementation:

7 Questions You Should ASK about Your Business [What and Why]:

Alignment Planning: 4 Steps to Align Your Organization to its Strategic Plan:

Issues Based Planning: 10 Key Steps to Utilize Issue-Based Planning to Solve Business Problems:

Scenario Planning: 5 Steps on How Do You Plan for the Uncontrollable?:

Organic Planning:  5 Steps Process of Organic Planning:

Measurement: Lagging vs. Leading Business Indicators – Do you know the difference?:


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Richard Lannon
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