Good strategic planning is all about knowing where you want to go and charting out the steps to get there. As Yogi Berra famously said, “You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you are going, because you might not get there.” Whether you manage a large enterprise or a small one, you undoubtedly have goals that you would like to achieve. Here are five steps that will help you chart a strategic course to get there.
Here are five essential tips to help you and your organization get started.
1) Choose optimistic yet achievable objectives. Strategic goals should be ambitious enough to truly impact your bottom line when you achieve them. However, they shouldn’t be “pie in the sky” goals that your organization has little hope of achieving. You should have the human and financial resources needed to accomplish every goal on your list: if a goal is too costly and you won’t realistically be able to achieve it, place it in a “parking lot” for the future.
2) Define objectives first, then the key strategies you will use to achieve them. An objective is a simple and direct statement of what you wish to achieve. For example, “Grow the business” might be your primary business objective for 2016. Key strategies are game plans for how to achieve each objective. If your objective is to grow your business, one key strategy could be “Improve digital marketing.” Often, you will be able to think of more strategies than your organization will be able to accomplish. If this happens, whittle down the longer list by filtering for anticipated impact.
3) Identify tactics to make your strategies take flight. Tactics are the wings of strategic planning: they are the concrete actions that support your strategies and enable you to achieve your objectives. As such, they should be specific and concrete enough to serve as preliminary directives for key management. They should also include timing guidance that clearly articulates when each tactic needs to be completed in order to reach your larger goal.
4) Define who will be responsible for achieving each key strategy. When delegating, we have found the RASIC structure to be very useful in clarifying who will be Responsible, who will Approve, who will Support, who will be Informed and who will be Consulted. Defining these roles clearly and early will help you get and keep all of your key players on board and in the know.
5) Determine how you will judge success. Big goals are often vague. “Grow the Business” is a perfect case in point. This is why we articulate key strategies and concrete tactics in order to create manageable paths to achieve objectives. But how will your team know when you have achieved enough growth? Defining desired results and/or ROI is the final piece of the strategic puzzle that lets everyone involved know exactly what success looks like and when the organization has attained it.
Good planning is all about knowing where you want to go and charting out the steps to get there. It’s not too late for your organization to create and follow a plan that will guide you to greater success.
Noetic is a marketing consultancy specializing in brand strategy, research & training.
We are built upon an avid curiosity about varied businesses and their unique strategic challenges. We provide a fresh perspective and intelligent thinking without a rigid agenda that requires starting from scratch.
Our “I.D.E.A.” approach always starts with the vision our senior executive clients set. And our mission is to help our clients release their team’s full potential to achieve that vision.