Strategic planning can become quite complex.
We can go all in on Porter’s 5 forces, be thorough with our SWOT analysis, develop quite a detailed view of the organisation using the VRIO framework, base the strategic plan on some form of a Balanced Scorecard view, or even think about strategy in terms of the Value Chain.
We might even think of strategy planning and development in terms of the market cycle, even industry life cycle, in terms of diversification, mergers & acquisitions, or even some form of international expression.
But in my view, strategic planning comes down to a mix of the three main uses of strategic planning.
- Setting a common vision
- Improving resource usage
- Uncovering other possibilities
With “setting a common vision“, the emphasis of the exercise is to ensure that everyone is going in the same direction. While there may be those who wish to no longer take the same journey as everyone else, the outcome of the process is to raise the organisational flag and set the vision. It’s to get buy-in from everyone. Its to say “this is where we are going, and how we are getting there”.
With “improving resource usage“, the emphasis is to make sure you have what you need for the journey. It’s a process of uncovering either shortcomings or abundance, of looking at what you have or what you need in order to achieve the vision. Of either doing better with what you have, putting aside the things you don’t need, or investing in labour/capital/resources to ensure your success.
With “uncovering other possibilities“, the emphasis is on finding out alternatives. Whether they be new products, markets, processes, and so on. This could be seen as the province of innovation. While in other posts I have discussed strategic foresight/thinking as solving the “what might we need to do” conundrum, strategic planning is about “what will we do and how will we do it”. Thus “uncovering possibilities” falls firmly within the “what will we do” question.
So, for the obvious question, can you use strategic planning to achieve one or more of these three aims?