Why Strategic Planning is Important

“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.”
–  Lewis Carroll, as paraphrased by George Harrison

According to Investopedia one of the key reasons business fail is not having any type of strategic plan. If a business has little idea where it is headed, it will wander aimlessly without direction, changing constantly, and with employees uncertain about the purpose of their jobs. This is why strategic planning is critical to business success, even if the planning process takes time and resources.

Creating strategy is relatively easy: you gather some information, you conduct some sort of analysis to sort through things, and then you set goals and create action plans..

Yet, developing strategy takes time and resources. It requires the time and commitment of some of the most highly paid and highly experienced people in your company. So, if your team is not willing to commit 100% to what is needed, I recommend that you don’t do it. Poor planning is often worse than no planning at all.

So, why do you need a strategy? Why take time for planning? There are many reasons but three in particular.

1) To provide clarity and focus for your company

The primary purpose of strategic planning is to connect the organisation’s purpose and vision by addressing these three questions:

  • What is our purpose?
  • What do we want to achieve?
  • How are we going to get there?

Perhaps the most obvious reason to engage in strategic planning is that it provides direction and focus by way of a written document. Having a clearly defined purpose and vision enables the company to develop a strategic plan that is a roadmap for success. Confusion and day to day business fires are often reasons why strategic planning yields little results, but these risks can be reduced by having a plan that is written down, with clear accountability, due dates, and milestones, so that employees know what must be implemented by when.

2) To communicate your message

Even if you have strong purpose and vision statements, most leaders walk around with a virtual strategy locked in their heads. The CEO knows the company’s strategic direction and the tactics that need to be implemented. Unfortunately, if the strategy isn’t down on paper, or if only the leadership team know the priorities articulated by the strategy, then it is unlikely the strategy will be implemented effectively.

When your staff, suppliers, and even customers know where you’re going, you allow even greater opportunities for people to help you maximise your success in getting there.

3) To drive alignment

A strategic plan isn’t just a document to keep everyone on track. Having everyone participate in the planning process supports team work and creates an opportunity for discussion on the direction of the company, which is why strategic planning often results in cultural transformation. Additionally, the process promotes the open sharing of ideas, including resolving disputes and working out effective solutions.

Most companies have key employees who put their best efforts into areas that have no effect on the organisations success or accomplishing important goals. Having employees involved in the planning process ensures everyone is on the same page when implementing the plan , as well as assisting employees to make better decisions in pursuit of defined goals.

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"If you don’t know where you're going, any road will take you there.” - Lewis Carroll

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