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The Importance of Strategic Planning

Last week we considered strategic thinking. We explored both the process and the many benefits. You can read the full article here. This week we are looking at strategic planning.

While it is fair to say that both strategic thinking and planning are intrinsically linked, they are two different parts of a process. They are equally important and inform each other. Together they are referred to as the strategic management process.

As we have commented strategic thinking is concerned with the what and why of the situation. Now you have reached the planning stage, it’s time to focus on the how and when.

Strategic Planning

Once you have identified your vision and confirmed availability of all required resources you need to decide how you are going to make it happen. You also need to ensure you have prepared for every eventuality.

It is vital that you document the planning process. It is your blueprint for success. However, it should also remain fluid to allow for amendment or realignment of goals.

The kind of skills required for effective strategic planning are organising, prioritising, implementing, and review.

We have already discussed the importance of segmenting the process in strategic thinking, the same applies for the planning stage.

Organising and Prioritising

Create a list of individual tasks and consider the order they need to be tackled in. Delegate each task to an individual, or team. Be sure to specify when the task needs to be completed by.

If you are delegating make sure the person charged with the task understands fully what is expected of them, and get them to update you at specified intervals. You don’t have to micro manage a situation but spelling it out in the initial stages makes sure everyone understands exactly what is required. It also avoids confusion and delay at later stages.

Implementing and Review

Once everyone understands what task or tasks they are charged with make sure you schedule in regular meetings to check on implementation of your plan. This allows you to review your progress to ensure you are on track.

Any significant setbacks will be highlighted to you when they occur. However, regular reviews will allow for all small and seemingly insignificant setbacks to be identified and dealt with as necessary. This will prevent them from developing into significant issues.

Tools of the Trade

There is a plethora of project management tools available to help you document and monitor your project. From Gantt charts to kanban boards and S-curves.

Similarly there are numerous software packages available to aid project planning and monitoring. Some are free, many are not.

The methods you choose to document and monitor your project will be somewhat dependant on its complexity. It will also depend on how you want your project team to communicate and report on progress.

However, most importantly don’t over complicate this stage. There is nothing wrong with creating a simple task list and dairying in review dates. Choose a method of documentation and monitoring, or the tool, that works best for you.

The Final Word

The thinking aspect of the strategic management process is paramount. However, thinking alone will not help you obtain your goal. It allows you to explore possibility and align what you discover to your vision. Now it’s time to realise that vision through effective planning.

Creating an appropriately detailed and itemised plan will ensure you can realise your vision.

It may seem that the strategic management process requires a lot of work before you actually see any results but the expenditure of effort at the beginning is what promotes your success.

Planning and creating a strategy will maximise the success of your efforts. It also promotes efficiency throughout the project.

At Funding Track we are proud to help you achieve your goal by providing access to financial resources. Get in touch today to discuss your vision and let us help you make it a reality.