Strategic planning is a process that helps a company define who it is, where it is, where it wants to go and what it will do to get there. With planning, a kind of travel route map is created, analysing scenarios, establishing goals and outlining the paths, known as action plans.
Strategic planning helps the institution to know itself better and draw a map of its objectives and goals. With it, the collaborators know where the company wants to go and which will be the obstacles on the way. More than outlining what the objective is, the method describes how to proceed to reach it. This allows for a much more efficient management of resources.
Now it is time to teach how strategic planning happens in practice. To this end, we have divided the process into five phases. Read on!
In this first stage, you and your team should apply the SWOT analysis. This is the acronym for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
From the internal point of view, the intention is to perceive what the organization has as good and what it can still improve. As for the external environment, it is observed what may impact, positively or negatively, the business.
Perhaps the competition is seen as a threat. On the other hand, if the other businesses in your niche present low quality, there is an opportunity to win customers with better products. In summary, the SWOT analysis reveals your differential in the market.
After the diagnosis, it is time to refine the organizational philosophy. It translates the purpose of the company, that is, its reason for existing.
The concept is divided into mission, vision and values. The mission concerns the benefits that the company wishes to offer to society. The vision is related to long-term projections, considering how the organisation intends to be in five or ten years’ time. Finally, the values are the principles that guide your day-to-day activities, such as ethics, safety, etc.
3. Goals and indicators
From the philosophy come the strategic guidelines. This is the phase of transforming the objectives into goals. The difference is that the latter are operational and, most importantly, measurable. The indicators have the function of monitoring the results.
Let’s say the goal is to increase turnover. In this case, the values of income and expenses will act as financial indicators. The goals and indicators must be distributed to all employees. Each one needs to be aware of their importance in achieving the strategic objectives of the organisation.
4. Action plans
The fourth step of strategic planning is the elaboration of projects and processes. These are called action plans. They define the strategic step-by-step to achieve the goals.
Going back to the previous situation, one way to increase turnover would be to cut costs. Therefore, the plan should define actions and the people responsible for them.
5. Control and management
Note that planning is not a watertight procedure. On the contrary: as the indicators appear, you should use this information to improve the processes. Hold regular evaluation meetings with the managers, or even with the whole team. Take the opportunity to interpret the results, identify errors and, of course, correct them. Yes, failures usually appear, because not all scenarios are predictable.
That is why you should seek the help of technology. All the steps we have described so far become simpler with a strategic planning software. The solution makes it possible to update data in real time, generating more accurate reports for quick and accurate decision-making.