To understand strategy Planning, we first need to understand what a strategy is. Strategy is a plan which decides how the goals can be achieved through the available resources. Strategy planning is a process through which one plans and develops tactics, action plan and policies; to utilize the available resources to the fullest and to make the best and appropriate decisions. Strategy planning is an essential tool for effective and efficient management. Strategic Planning is a process which includes inputs, activities, output and outcomes.
- Inputs are gathered from various available sources, through, research, interview and surveys. Theses inputs help in the understanding of the competitive setting, the stakeholder, the risks and opportunities and the values of an organisation.
- Activities include various communication methods used to understand the various inputs, this can be done through meetings, presentations, memos and letters and so on.
- Outputs of strategic planning include communication and documentation of the strategies or the action to be taken. It decides how these strategies are to be used to bring in improvement in the performance of the organisation. This includes analysing the competitive scenario, development of action plans and policies to enhance performance.
- Outcome is the result of output. The implementation and execution of the strategies, action plan and policies show the outcome. The outcomes may vary from the strategic plans. How closely they represent the goals and vision of the organisation, determines whether the strategies planned were a success or a failure.
Fundamentals of Strategy Planning
A successful strategy plan includes numerous factors. First of all one should have a passion for what one is doing, he should have clear knowledge of the business he is into, his customers and the environment in which he has to function. This passion should be guided by a clear vision and mission. One should have clear goals and objectives based on the vision and mission. But just outlining the vision, mission, goals and objectives; does not guarantee success in any business. For this one needs to make sure that each and every individual in the Organisation is performing his tasks and duties regularly. He should make sure that they understand the goals and objectives of the organisation and thrive to achieve them. Success of strategy planning highly depends on the following things:
One should be passionate about what he does; he should have the complete knowledge of all the things which determine the success of a particular business. He should possess an unique quality to understand the business and should have an urge to make it a success.
Vision and mission
This includes the ability to develop ideas and understanding about the clients. It answers the question, who you want to work for, how and what you are going to do to get their attention, how you will you attract them towards your products and services in the competitive market, develop prospective clients.
This refers to the setting up of goals to achieve the mission. These can be setting up target for sales, profit, increase in the customer, bringing in efficiency in the work force and so on. These goals should have a specific, measurable and attainable. They should practical, relevant and time bound.
After the goals are set we move on to developing the winning strategies. These strategies will determine how you plan to achieve these set goals. How you will increase your customers, how you will increase your sales, profit, how you will enhance the performance of your work force and management.
This includes setting and developing specific time bound objective, for determining the success of the winning strategies. This includes planning of what resources are to be used to achieve the goal, how and when they will be used and so on.
Development of tactics
This includes the development of different ways to achieve the set objectives. Setting up of targets, ways for efficient functioning and management and so on.
This includes making a list of all the things you actually need to do to achieve the goals. Like development of new models of your product, using new software to track your customers and sales profit, or setting up new outlets for increase in your business, entering into a partnership deal and so on.
Once all these things are done one needs to ensure that these things are followed on a daily basis for achieving the overall mission and goals of the organisation.
It is also necessary to develop some long term plans like for a period of four five years. This should include forecast of the revenue and returns it is going to generate, how the performance of the work force will enhance, where your organisation will stand in the competitive market and so on. Another important thing to keep in mind for the success of the strategic planning is regular follow up and review of these plans at regular intervals. For this purpose time to time documentation is required and timely review of these documents is a must. This will give an idea, which area you need to work on more and which area needs more focus and attention.
The reviewing process can be mad easy by regular meetings of the management, where they consider the outcome of the tactics and strategies, modify them accordingly, identify risk factors and develop action plans for doing away with them. One should be updated about all the things happening in the organisation. This can be done by regular follow ups of the work strategies and about the work force. Follow ups can be made easy by development of monthly, quarterly and annual reports. This will help in analysing the past and present situations.
For the success of any strategy planning it is essential that each person working in the organisation should be clear about their roles and responsibilities. They should understand what is expected from them. This not only enhances the performance of the work force, but also increases the team spirit, cohesiveness and morale.
Tips for Successful Strategic Planning
To ensure long term success and sustainable growth every organisation needs to develop clear plans and actions. Here are certain tips to ensure simple management of the day to day activities of the organisation:
- One should identify and analyse the external factors in the environment, which would directly or indirectly affect the performance and success of the organisation. The analysis should be able to give a clear view of the economic forecast, development in the industry, market trends and customer trends. Analyse what effect it will have in your business and how policies and action plans can be developed to have a positive effect on the business.
- One also needs to understand and focus on the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. One should be aware about the advantages of the company and product, what unique qualities you have that your competitors don’t have, what factors can help in a positive client relationship building and so on. Similarly you need to identify the loopholes in your organisational set up, where and what improvements are required and so on. You need to find out which resources you can capitalize upon and how. You also need to find out the external and internal threats, strategies of competitors which would affect your success.
- You may have to have to redefine your mission and action plans in accordance to the changing and demanding market and business trends. This may include change or modification of the products and services you offer, change in the customer attraction techniques, change, modify or open new market territories. You may have to modify the future guidelines and directions of the organisation.
- One should focus on building a clear vision and consensus among the members of the organisation, so that work in unison to achieve the set goals.
- For any action plan to be a success, it is necessary that each person should be allotted with a duty. Each person should work in coordination with each other and utilize the available resources to the fullest. Develop measurable objectives and then develop strategies to achieve these objectives.
- One should set targets for accomplishing the set objectives. These targets should be realistic. Each person should be given sufficient time frame to complete their work and targets.
- The organisation should hold meetings of different department, and combined meetings of all the departments on a regular basis. This enhances development of a common goal and a realistic plan of action.
- The meetings should have an agenda for discussion. Minutes of the meeting should be noted down clearly. To give a clear idea what was discussed in the meeting, and later should be be distributed to all the members of the management committee.
- It is very essential to coordinate and monitor all the activities of the organisation. This can be done by maintaining up to date documentations and progress reports. A person should be specially appointed to look after the coordination functions between the management and the work force, and also to take care of the monitoring and evaluation process on regular basis.
- It is also very necessary to plan a realistic budget. The strategies and action plans that one develops will require a certain budget to fulfil the objectives. This budget should be planned in advance, as it would affect the overall income expenditure of the organisation.
- Another important aspect that affects the success of any strategic planning is the development of contingency plans. One needs to visualize all the issues which may hamper or appear as bottle necks for the progress of the organisation. One should have an emergency plan and resources ready to back up these plans. One should have another plan ready I f one fails, therefore one needs to be creative in handling these issues.
Strategic planning is process in one develops directions and action plans, makes long term decisions to achieve the set goals and objectives efficiently. Here the available resources are taken into account and best utilised to enhance the performance of the organisation and its work force. While undertaking strategic planning one should answer these questions- where you are now, your present position; where you are going, what you want to achieve in the future; and how will you get there, what ways you will employ to reach the position you desire for.
It is always better to conduct short term experiments to confirm your postulation about the strategy you have planned. And if you encounter a problem or issue, the best way to tackle it is through brainstorming of ideas. Consider each idea and suggestion, note down the pro and cons, and develop a consensus over them. For and plan to be successful it is necessary that the visions and missions are practical. The goals and objectives are well defined. Every person in the organisation should be aware and clear about the mission, goals and objectives. Each one should understand how their role and responsibilities will affect these objectives, and how their performance will determine the overall performance of the organisation.
Once done with the strategic planning, realistic targets should be set. Regular monitoring, reviewing and evaluations should be done to see whether one is going on the right track. Whether the action plans developed are able to provide the desired outcome. Identify the loopholes and plan how to encounter them. Regular meetings should be held to discuss various issues related to the strategic planning process. The management should be updated with all that is going on in the organisation. The work force should work on the principles of cooperation, cohesion and team work. It should be kept in mind that only planning does not guarantee success of an organisation, but the systematic implementation of the action plans and decision makes it successful. And each member of the organisation has a specific role to play in the overall success of the organisation, this goal can be easily acknowledged through strategic planning.
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