Monday, Feb 29 2016

How to Excel at Strategic Planning

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how to excel at strategic planning

Completing projects successfully is important, so good project-planning skills are important. You can make those projects contribute to a larger goal through creating a strategic plan that guides all your decision making and drives it towards the goal. Use these tips to make your strategic plan effective.

Define the goal clearly

If you don't know what you're trying to achieve, the actions you take don't matter. The goal needs to be clearly expressed and also realistic. Consider multiple perspectives when defining the goal; both internal and external factors, especially the values of your stakeholders, need to be incorporated. 

Measure regularly

Your strategic plan will help guide your decisions, but without measuring regularly, you won't know how you're progressing. Identify the key performance indicators and rank their relative importance as part of the planning process. Unless there's a good reason to think you emphasized the wrong metric, avoid the temptation to reassess their ranking to come up with a more favorable evaluation of performance. 

Get buy-in

Make sure everyone impacted by the strategic plan knows it exists, understands it, and accepts its importance. This means you need to share the plan with your team, your management, and your clients. Refine the plan based on their feedback. 

Promote common values and culture

A strategic plan is executed by the team, not the manager. For the plan to work, everyone needs to buy into it, and the company values and culture need to support making decisions that work towards the strategic goal. If the day-to-day operational culture requires taking shortcuts while the strategic goal emphasizes quality, the culture needs to change or the goal will never be satisfied. 


The best way to get commitment to a plan is to demonstrate your own commitment to the plan. Take actions in support of the plan and talk about the decisions that had to be made and how they will help realize the plan. Be transparent about how your efforts and the team efforts are working and how much progress remains. Your team will be motivated to match your level of success.