Implementing processes to advance your organization’s long-term goals is one aspect of business management. However, one of the more critical components to running a profitable company involves strategic planning, or documenting and establishing a direction for your business, including assessing where you are and the direction it’s trending.
Strategic planning is not only an opportunity to record your organization’s mission, vision, and values, but to also lay out your business’ goals and to develop an action plan to achieve them. A well-prepared strategic plan will play a pivotal role in the growth and success of your business, and will offer leadership and support staff the means to respond to opportunities and challenges that arise.
Notwithstanding, the best-laid plans can sometimes go awry. When developing and implementing a strategic plan for your organization, there are ways to avoid making mistakes as you move forward.
Making the Right Decisions: Avoiding Mistakes in Your Strategic Business Plan
1. Employ an internal facilitator with experience leading planning sessions. An outside qualified consultant may offer the best way to run any planning sessions. An additional benefit of hiring an outside consultant is that they bring in an objective (and outside) perspective, while encouraging others to participate and offer their own opinion.
2. State your objectives clearly. Exercise a measure of structure and lay out objectives to avoid the session going off track. Clear objectives help guide sessions and offer a way for people to remain on task.
3. Establish an environment that invites trust and openness. Brainstorming as a group is critical, and it’s important to do so in an atmosphere free of judgment. On occasion, the most out-of-box ideas create meaningful change. Not offering an environment where participants are able to freely speak their minds may stifle great ideas.
4. Engage in follow-up for ideas from your strategy session. Strategic planning sessions involve taking leadership away from their busy schedules, so it’s important to utilize that time wisely and to implement action items that emerge from the session. Lack of execution is a common way to remain stagnant and miss out on opportunities to advance toward greater success.
5. Invite the right people to the planning session. Small group sessions offer opportunities to get things done more swiftly and with greater ease, whereas larger groups with more participants offer improved opportunities for great ideas.
The larger the group, the more responsibility a facilitator must undertake. Including individuals from different disciplines and levels of expertise who offer broader perspectives is a surefire way to develop strategies that are innovative and effective.
In summary, strategic planning sessions can help ensure your business advances in the direction you expect for success, but adopting the right framework and working with the right people are critical to a positive outcome.
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