•     •   13 min read

The Strategic Planning Process — Chapter 2

This is the sec­ond part of our mate­r­i­al on the strate­gic plan­ning process. Fol­low the link to read from the begin­ning. And if you have already done so, wel­come to the next part!

Phase 2: Devel­op­ing Strategy

In the sec­ond phase of strate­gic plan­ning, the focus shifts to craft­ing essen­tial ele­ments that define the orga­ni­za­tion’s direc­tion. This involves for­mu­lat­ing mis­sion state­ments, val­ues, and vision state­ments that artic­u­late the orga­ni­za­tion’s pur­pose and aspi­ra­tions. Addi­tion­al­ly, the devel­op­ment of com­pet­i­tive advan­tages and orga­ni­za­tion-wide strate­gies ensures a com­pre­hen­sive roadmap for success. 

By delv­ing into these crit­i­cal com­po­nents of strate­gic plan­ning, orga­ni­za­tions lay the foun­da­tion for a cohe­sive and aligned approach, guid­ing deci­sion-mak­ing and actions at every lev­el for sus­tain­able growth and com­pet­i­tive advantage.

Action Grid

This Action Grid ensures a sys­tem­at­ic approach to devel­op­ing essen­tial ele­ments of strate­gic plan­ning, fos­ter­ing align­ment, and set­ting the stage for suc­cess­ful exe­cu­tion in sub­se­quent phas­es of the strate­gic plan­ning process.

Step 1: Devel­op Your Mis­sion Statement

Devel­op­ing a mis­sion state­ment is a crit­i­cal step in defin­ing an orga­ni­za­tion’s pur­pose and guid­ing prin­ci­ples in the strate­gic plan. Con­sid­er the fol­low­ing guide:
  • Iden­ti­fy Core Pur­pose: Artic­u­late the fun­da­men­tal rea­son for the orga­ni­za­tion’s existence.
  • Define Key Val­ues: Incor­po­rate core val­ues that reflect the orga­ni­za­tion’s beliefs and principles.
  • Express Aspi­ra­tions: Con­vey the desired impact or con­tri­bu­tion the orga­ni­za­tion seeks to make.
Expect­ed Results
A suc­cinct and inspir­ing mis­sion state­ment that res­onates with stake­hold­ers, pro­vides clar­i­ty on orga­ni­za­tion­al pur­pose, and serves as a guid­ing bea­con for deci­sion-mak­ing, strate­gic plan­ning, and actions.

What is our pur­pose? Why do we exist? What do we do?

Answer­ing these ques­tions lays the ground­work for strate­gic plan­ning and craft­ing a mis­sion state­ment that suc­cinct­ly cap­tures the essence of the orga­ni­za­tion’s pur­pose and aspirations:

❓What is our Core Purpose?
  • Why do we exist?: Iden­ti­fy the fun­da­men­tal rea­son for the orga­ni­za­tion’s exis­tence, empha­siz­ing its broad­er soci­etal or com­mu­ni­ty impact.
❓What Val­ues Define Us?
  • What do we believe in?: Define the key val­ues that under­pin the orga­ni­za­tion’s cul­ture and deci­sion-mak­ing processes.
❓What Impact Do We Aspire to Make?
  • What do we do?: Con­vey the desired impact or con­tri­bu­tion the orga­ni­za­tion seeks to achieve, spec­i­fy­ing the core activ­i­ties or ser­vices it provides.

Ques­tions to Ask:

  • Ques­tion: Why does our orga­ni­za­tion exist?
  • Answer: To address a spe­cif­ic need or con­tribute to a broad­er soci­etal or indus­try goal.
  • Ques­tion: What prin­ci­ples guide our actions and decisions?
  • Answer: Core val­ues such as integri­ty, inno­va­tion, or sustainability.
  • Ques­tion: What pos­i­tive change or con­tri­bu­tion do we aim to make?
  • Answer: The desired soci­etal or com­mu­ni­ty impact through our prod­ucts, ser­vices, or initiatives.
  • Ques­tion: Who ben­e­fits from our existence?
  • Answer: Define the pri­ma­ry ben­e­fi­cia­ries or stake­hold­ers of the organization.
  • Ques­tion: What sets us apart from oth­ers in our indus­try or sector?
  • Answer: Iden­ti­fy unique qual­i­ties, strengths, or approach­es that dis­tin­guish the organization.
Craft­ing a mis­sion state­ment involves address­ing these ques­tions to encap­su­late the orga­ni­za­tion’s pur­pose, val­ues, impact, audi­ence, and uniqueness.

Out­come: A short, con­cise, con­crete state­ment that clear­ly defines the scope of the organization.

The out­come of the mis­sion state­ment devel­op­ment process should be a short, con­cise, and con­crete state­ment that serves as a lead­ing light for the orga­ni­za­tion. It must suc­cinct­ly define the scope of the orga­ni­za­tion, cap­tur­ing its core pur­pose, val­ues, and intend­ed impact. 

This state­ment acts as a uni­fy­ing force. It pro­vides clar­i­ty to inter­nal and exter­nal stake­hold­ers about the orga­ni­za­tion’s pur­pose. A well-craft­ed mis­sion state­ment should res­onate, inspire, and serve as a con­stant reminder of the orga­ni­za­tion’s fun­da­men­tal iden­ti­ty, fos­ter­ing align­ment and cohe­sion across all facets of its oper­a­tions and strate­gic planning.

Step 2: Dis­cov­er Your Values

Embark­ing on the jour­ney to dis­cov­er orga­ni­za­tion­al val­ues requires a metic­u­lous exam­i­na­tion of the core prin­ci­ples that guide deci­sion-mak­ing and actions of strate­gic plan­ning process. Key ques­tions include:

What do we prioritize?
  • Iden­ti­fy­ing the fun­da­men­tal prin­ci­ples and pri­or­i­ties that define the orga­ni­za­tion’s eth­i­cal and oper­a­tional stance.
How do we interact?
  • Exam­in­ing the pre­ferred behav­iors and inter­ac­tions with­in the orga­ni­za­tion­al culture.
What do we hold dear?
  • Deter­min­ing the core beliefs and prin­ci­ples that are non-nego­tiable for the organization.
Find­ings from this step con­tribute to craft­ing a val­ues’ frame­work that aligns with the orga­ni­za­tion’s iden­ti­ty and aspi­ra­tions indi­cat­ed in the strate­gic plan.

How will we behave?

Defin­ing orga­ni­za­tion­al behav­ior is achieved by out­lin­ing and embrac­ing core val­ues that serve as the com­pass for every action in strate­gic plan­ning process. These val­ues artic­u­late the expect­ed con­duct, atti­tudes, and eth­i­cal stan­dards across all lev­els of the organization. 

By answer­ing the ques­tion How will we behave?” through clear­ly defined val­ues, the orga­ni­za­tion estab­lish­es a shared under­stand­ing of the expect­ed norms and prin­ci­ples. This fos­ters a cohe­sive and pos­i­tive work cul­ture, guid­ing deci­sion-mak­ing and actions toward a col­lec­tive vision and ensur­ing con­sis­ten­cy in behav­ior that aligns with the orga­ni­za­tion’s iden­ti­ty and goals.

Ques­tions to Ask:

Eth­i­cal Principles
  • Ques­tion: What eth­i­cal prin­ci­ples should guide our actions?
  • Answer: Iden­ti­fy­ing foun­da­tion­al eth­i­cal stan­dards ensures integri­ty in orga­ni­za­tion­al behavior.
Col­lab­o­ra­tive Culture
  • Ques­tion: How do we fos­ter col­lab­o­ra­tion and teamwork?
  • Answer: Defin­ing col­lab­o­ra­tive val­ues pro­motes a coop­er­a­tive and inclu­sive orga­ni­za­tion­al culture.
Inno­va­tion Focus
  • Ques­tion: What val­ues encour­age a cul­ture of innovation?
  • Answer: Iden­ti­fy­ing val­ues that embrace cre­ativ­i­ty and adapt­abil­i­ty dri­ves innovation.
Cus­tomer-Cen­tric Approach
  • Ques­tion: How should we pri­or­i­tize and serve our customers?
  • Answer: Defin­ing cus­tomer-cen­tric val­ues ensures a focus on deliv­er­ing val­ue and excep­tion­al service.
Employ­ee Well-being
  • Ques­tion: What val­ues sup­port employ­ee well-being and satisfaction?
  • Answer: Iden­ti­fy­ing val­ues that pri­or­i­tize staff hap­pi­ness and devel­op­ment fos­ters a pos­i­tive work environment.

Out­come: Short list of 5 – 7 core values.

The out­come of the val­ues dis­cov­ery process should be a con­cise list of 5 – 7 core val­ues that encap­su­late the essence of the orga­ni­za­tion’s beliefs and prin­ci­ples. These val­ues should serve as a foun­da­tion for orga­ni­za­tion­al behav­ior, guid­ing deci­sions, inter­ac­tions, and ini­tia­tives in the strate­gic plan­ning process. 

The result­ing list should be clear, mem­o­rable, and rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the orga­ni­za­tion’s iden­ti­ty. This short but pow­er­ful com­pi­la­tion ensures a focused and action­able set of val­ues that can be embed­ded into the orga­ni­za­tion­al cul­ture, out­lined in the strate­gic plan, fos­ter­ing a shared under­stand­ing and com­mit­ment among all stakeholders.

Step 3: Cast­ing Your Vision Statement

Cast­ing a vision state­ment involves a thought­ful and strate­gic for­mu­la­tion in the strate­gic plan­ning process, address­ing key issues to artic­u­late a com­pelling orga­ni­za­tion­al direc­tion. Focus on:
  • Future Aspi­ra­tions: Envi­sion the desired state or achieve­ments the orga­ni­za­tion aspires to attain.
  • Inspi­ra­tion and Moti­va­tionCraft lan­guage that inspires and moti­vates stake­hold­ers toward a shared vision.
  • Align­ment with Mis­sion: Ensur­ing con­sis­ten­cy with cor­po­rate vision, val­ues and strate­gic goals.
Expect­ed Results
A con­cise, inspi­ra­tional, and for­ward-look­ing vision state­ment that res­onates with stake­hold­ers, pro­vid­ing a clear direc­tion for the orga­ni­za­tion’s future endeav­ors, and seam­less­ly sup­ports your strate­gic planning.

Where are we going?

Defin­ing the orga­ni­za­tion’s future direc­tion is achieved through a vision state­ment, answer­ing the ques­tion, Where are we going?” This state­ment artic­u­lates a com­pelling and aspi­ra­tional view of the desired future state. It out­lines the orga­ni­za­tion’s long-term goals, aspi­ra­tions, and the impact it seeks to make. 

By pro­vid­ing a clear and inspi­ra­tional roadmap, the vision state­ment guides strate­gic plan­ning process and deci­sion-mak­ing, aligns stake­hold­ers, and moti­vates col­lec­tive efforts toward a shared and promis­ing future. It is fos­ter­ing uni­ty and com­mit­ment as the orga­ni­za­tion nav­i­gates toward its envi­sioned destination.

Ques­tions to Ask:

Future State
  • Ques­tion: What does the orga­ni­za­tion aim to achieve in the long term?
  • Answer: Artic­u­lat­ing the desired future state pro­vides a foun­da­tion for the vision statement.
  • Ques­tion: How will the orga­ni­za­tion make a pos­i­tive impact on its stake­hold­ers and the world?
  • Answer: Describ­ing the intend­ed impact ensures the vision is pur­pose­ful and meaningful.
Align­ment with Values
  • Ques­tion: How does the vision align with the orga­ni­za­tion’s core values?
  • Answer: Ensur­ing align­ment rein­forces con­sis­ten­cy and authen­tic­i­ty in the orga­ni­za­tion­al vision.
  • Ques­tion: What lan­guage and imagery will inspire and moti­vate stakeholders?
  • Answer: Craft­ing inspi­ra­tional ele­ments ensures res­o­nance and engage­ment with the vision.
Long-Term Goals
  • Ques­tion: What spe­cif­ic long-term goals define the envi­sioned future?
  • Answer: Out­lin­ing con­crete goals pro­vides clar­i­ty on the orga­ni­za­tion’s future trajectory.
Answer­ing these ques­tions con­tributes to the for­ma­tion of a vision state­ment that is clear, inspir­ing, and strate­gic plan­ning is aligned with the orga­ni­za­tion’s pur­pose and values.

Out­come: A pic­ture of the future.

The out­come of the vision state­ment devel­op­ment process as a part of the strate­gic plan­ning process should be a vivid and com­pelling pic­ture of the future. This con­cise and inspir­ing nar­ra­tive encap­su­lates the orga­ni­za­tion’s long-term aspi­ra­tions, goals, and the pos­i­tive impact it seeks to make. It acts as a direct­ing sig­nal, pro­vid­ing clar­i­ty on the envi­sioned des­ti­na­tion and moti­vat­ing stake­hold­ers toward a shared and mean­ing­ful future.

Step 4: Iden­ti­fy Your Com­pet­i­tive Advantages

Iden­ti­fy­ing com­pet­i­tive advan­tages involves a strate­gic assess­ment of what sets the orga­ni­za­tion apart in the mar­ket. Key ques­tions and results for strate­gic plan­ning include:

Dis­tinc­tive Capabilities
  • Ques­tion: What unique capa­bil­i­ties, skills, or resources does the orga­ni­za­tion possess?
  • Result: Clear iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of inter­nal strengths that pro­vide a com­pet­i­tive edge.
Mar­ket Perception
  • Ques­tion: How is the orga­ni­za­tion per­ceived by cus­tomers com­pared to competitors?
  • Result: Under­stand­ing of fac­tors that con­tribute to a pos­i­tive mar­ket per­cep­tion and differentiation.
Inno­va­tion and Adaptability
  • Ques­tion: How effec­tive­ly does the orga­ni­za­tion inno­vate and adapt to mar­ket changes?
  • Result: Recog­ni­tion of agili­ty and inno­va­tion as com­pet­i­tive strengths.
This part of the strate­gic plan­ning process informs strate­gies that lever­age strengths and cap­i­tal­ize on mar­ket differentiators.

What are we best at?

Gain­ing a com­pet­i­tive edge requires orga­ni­za­tions to pin­point and har­ness their core strengths. The ques­tion, What are we best at?” directs atten­tion to iden­ti­fy­ing key com­pe­ten­cies, unique capa­bil­i­ties, or spe­cial­ized resources that dif­fer­en­ti­ate the orga­ni­za­tion. By strate­gi­cal­ly lever­ag­ing these strengths, the orga­ni­za­tion posi­tions itself in the mar­ket, high­light­ing supe­ri­or abil­i­ties and qualities. 

This strate­gic plan­ning approach not only enhances com­pet­i­tive­ness but also serves as a guid­ing force for strate­gic plan­ning process. Ulti­mate­ly, it ensures the estab­lish­ment of a unique val­ue propo­si­tion, fos­ter­ing sus­tain­able suc­cess in the ever-evolv­ing busi­ness landscape.

Ques­tions to Ask:

Dis­tinc­tive Capabilities
  • Ques­tion: What unique capa­bil­i­ties or skills set us apart in the market?
  • Answer: Iden­ti­fy­ing dis­tinc­tive inter­nal strengths pro­vides a com­pet­i­tive advantage.
Cus­tomer Perceptions
  • Ques­tion: How do cus­tomers per­ceive us com­pared to competitors?
  • Answer: Under­stand­ing cus­tomer per­cep­tions reveals mar­ket differentiators.
Oper­a­tional Efficiency
  • Ques­tion: In what areas are we oper­a­tional­ly effi­cient and effective?
  • Answer: Rec­og­niz­ing oper­a­tional strengths enhances over­all competitiveness.
Inno­va­tion Practices
  • Ques­tion: How do we inno­vate and adapt to chang­ing mar­ket dynamics?
  • Answer: Inno­va­tion strate­gies con­tribute to a com­pet­i­tive edge in the dynam­ic busi­ness landscape.
By address­ing these ques­tions, orga­ni­za­tions gain insights into cur­rent issues that shape their com­pet­i­tive advantages.

Out­come: A list of 2 or 3 items that hon­est­ly express the orga­ni­za­tion’s foun­da­tion for winning.

The out­come of the com­pet­i­tive advan­tage iden­ti­fi­ca­tion process should be a suc­cinct list of 2 or 3 items that trans­par­ent­ly artic­u­late the orga­ni­za­tion’s foun­da­tion for win­ning. This list encap­su­lates the core strengths, dis­tinc­tive capa­bil­i­ties, or unique resources that set the orga­ni­za­tion apart in the market. 

It serves as a strate­gic toolk­it, pro­vid­ing clar­i­ty on the pil­lars that con­tribute to com­pet­i­tive­ness. These iden­ti­fied items become the focal points for posi­tion­ing the orga­ni­za­tion strate­gi­cal­ly, empha­siz­ing its supe­ri­or attributes. 
The out­come ensures a com­pre­hen­sive under­stand­ing of the orga­ni­za­tion’s unique val­ue propo­si­tion, lay­ing the ground­work for tar­get­ed strate­gies and sus­tained success.

Step 5: Craft­ing Your Orga­ni­za­tion-Wide Strategies

Craft­ing orga­ni­za­tion-wide strate­gies involves a strate­gic approach to align­ing all facets of the busi­ness. Key guid­ance for strate­gic plan­ning includes:

Strate­gic Alignment:
  • Ensure strate­gies align with the orga­ni­za­tion’s mis­sion, vision, and core values.
Cross-Func­tion­al Integration:
  • Fos­ter col­lab­o­ra­tion and inte­gra­tion across var­i­ous depart­ments and teams.
Resource Allo­ca­tion:
  • Strate­gi­cal­ly allo­cate resources to ini­tia­tives that align with over­ar­ch­ing goals.

Expect­ed Results: a cohe­sive set of orga­ni­za­tion-wide strate­gies that dri­ve align­ment, col­lab­o­ra­tion, and effi­cient strate­gic plan­ning, guid­ing the orga­ni­za­tion over strate­gic plan­ning process toward its mis­sion and vision.

How will we succeed?

Iden­ti­fy­ing com­pre­hen­sive meth­ods of strate­gic plan­ning process for achiev­ing suc­cess involves answer­ing the ques­tion, How will we suc­ceed?” This involves a strate­gic review of the orga­ni­za­tion’s strengths, oppor­tu­ni­ties and com­pet­i­tive advan­tages. By for­mu­lat­ing tar­get­ed strate­gies, allo­cat­ing resources effi­cient­ly, and fos­ter­ing a cul­ture of inno­va­tion and adapt­abil­i­ty, the orga­ni­za­tion sets the ground­work for success. 

The empha­sis is on align­ing all facets of the busi­ness with a uni­fied vision, ensur­ing that every deci­sion and action con­tributes to the real­iza­tion of strate­gic plan­ning. This holis­tic approach boosts com­pet­i­tive­ness, for­ti­fies resilience, and ensures long-term suc­cess in an ever-evolv­ing busi­ness environment.

Ques­tions to Ask:

Mar­ket Positioning
  • Ques­tion: How can we strate­gi­cal­ly posi­tion our­selves in the mar­ket to stand out?
  • Answer: Eval­u­at­ing mar­ket posi­tion­ing ensures a dis­tinct and com­pet­i­tive presence.
Resource Opti­miza­tion
  • Ques­tion: How can we allo­cate resources effi­cient­ly to sup­port our strate­gic goals?
  • Answer: Strate­gic resource allo­ca­tion max­i­mizes impact while min­i­miz­ing waste.
Inno­va­tion Focus
  • Ques­tion: What strate­gies fos­ter a cul­ture of inno­va­tion and adaptability?
  • Answer: Pri­or­i­tiz­ing inno­va­tion ensures rel­e­vance and resilience in a dynam­ic busi­ness landscape.
Col­lab­o­ra­tion Strategies
  • Ques­tion: How can cross-func­tion­al col­lab­o­ra­tion be enhanced to dri­ve orga­ni­za­tion­al goals?
  • Answer: Fos­ter­ing col­lab­o­ra­tion ensures a cohe­sive and aligned orga­ni­za­tion­al strategy.

By address­ing these ques­tions, orga­ni­za­tions devel­op insight­ful and effec­tive cor­po­rate strategies.

Out­come: Estab­lish the gen­er­al, umbrel­la meth­ods you intend to use to reach your vision.

The out­come of the strat­e­gy devel­op­ment process is to estab­lish over­ar­ch­ing and com­pre­hen­sive meth­ods that serve as the guid­ing frame­work to reach the orga­ni­za­tion’s vision. This out­come encom­pass­es a set of gen­er­al strate­gies, form­ing an umbrel­la approach that aligns all facets of the strate­gic plan­ning process. 

These meth­ods should effec­tive­ly steer the orga­ni­za­tion toward its envi­sioned future, ensur­ing cohe­sion, resilience, and adapt­abil­i­ty. By estab­lish­ing this strate­gic frame­work, the orga­ni­za­tion sets the stage for coor­di­nat­ed efforts, resource opti­miza­tion, and sus­tained progress, fos­ter­ing a clear path to real­iz­ing its vision.

Phase 3: Strate­gic Plan Development

The strate­gic plan takes shape through a metic­u­lous strate­gic plan­ning process. Uti­liz­ing insights from the SWOT analy­sis, the orga­ni­za­tion defines long-term strate­gic goals, sets spe­cif­ic objec­tives, selects Key Per­for­mance Indi­ca­tors (KPIs), and cas­cades strate­gies into day-to-day operations. 

This phase of the strate­gic plan­ning process marks the trans­la­tion of high-lev­el aspi­ra­tions into action­able steps, ensur­ing a robust and detailed roadmap that aligns with the orga­ni­za­tion’s mis­sion and vision. The strate­gic plan becomes a dynam­ic tool guid­ing the orga­ni­za­tion toward its envi­sioned future while fos­ter­ing adapt­abil­i­ty and per­for­mance mea­sure­ment at every lev­el of the strate­gic plan­ning process.

Action Grid

Action Grid for Phase 3: Strate­gic Plan Development:

This Action Grid ensures a struc­tured and col­lab­o­ra­tive approach to the devel­op­ment of the strate­gic plan, fos­ter­ing align­ment, clar­i­ty, and adapt­abil­i­ty through­out the organization.

You can learn more about each step by fol­low­ing the link to the last part of our mate­r­i­al about the strate­gic plan­ning process.

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