An organization or business without goals is far less productive and effective than one with clearly defined objectives. Each quarter, even if projects are going well, revenue is increasing, and trend markers showcase long-term growth, clear objectives help clarify the direction you want your organization to take, and how it can get there.
In order to set your organization on a path towards fulfilling any objective it sets, you need a strategic planning process with actionable, detailed steps that take each person and department of your business into account. To help you with this planning process, NFA Consulting has created this article with key considerations for your reference.
Simply put, strategic planning encompasses a set of processes a business or organization follows to establish goals, plan courses of action, and implement a long-term strategy to achieve growth. At its core, the strategic planning process aims to help organizations hone in on their strengths, who it serves, and the reason for their work with a forward-looking mindset.
By following and expanding on each step of the process to fit your unique business, you create a roadmap for achieving the objectives you set.
The very first step of strategic planning is to first set priorities. By establishing priorities for this quarter, and the next, you learn where the organization’s resources and energy should be going. This includes what projects your team members should be working on, and even what clients or customers you should be targeting.
During this initial step, get feedback from your team leaders and employees to get a big picture view of the business as a whole. What issues are you facing internally? What feedback are you hearing from customers? Factor in both the internal and external parts of the organization, compare the organization to industry and market standards, and over time, priorities will start to reveal themselves.
Furthermore, it can be helpful to review your organization’s mission and vision statements to help establish what success looks like. If you don’t have a mission and vision statement in place, use the initial phase of the strategic planning process to create one!
The main goal of setting priorities is to get the organization and its people clear on what objectives it should focus on, and establish an understanding of how each individual contributes to those priorities. You want everyone to be on the same page so that each part of the organization is working towards a common goal.
Once you have priorities set and outcomes defined, it’s time to implement. Try reassessing progress each month or quarter. Where are KPIs being met? Where are they falling short? Use this data and feedback to improve your process and readjust how objectives are being tasked or carried out.
It’s likely that a business will need to restructure itself and its process a few times to find a system that works effectively. But the more your organization tries new procedures, the more information it has available to inform its future decisions.
Before you begin implementing, analyze your existing data to create an accurate forecast for the future. However, be prepared with backup strategies or plans in case unforeseeable events take place. Factor in changing market and industry environments, brainstorm solutions to problems before they arise, and use the evidence you receive each quarter to fine-tune. Problems may be inevitable, but a proactive approach to finding solutions is far more effective than a reactive one.
And, of course, to ensure your on track to your targets, you should consider meeting with a strategic planning expert.
Every business, company, and organization has different needs for achieving its long-term objectives. That’s why at NFA Consulting, we tailor all of our strategic planning process steps and growth management services to fit your specific goals and business structure. Together, we can help you visualize your future, and put actionable plans in place to get there.