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The strategic planning process in 4 steps, to help you throughout our strategic planning framework, we have created a how-to guide on the basics of a strategic plan, which we will take you through step-by-step..

Free Strategic Planning Guide

What is Strategic Planning?

Strategic Planning is when organizations define a bold vision and create a plan with objectives and goals to reach that future. A great strategic plan defines where your organization is going, how you’ll win, who must do what, and how you’ll review and adapt your strategy development.

What

Overview of the Strategic Planning Process:

The strategic management process involves taking your organization on a journey from point A (where you are today) to point B (your vision of the future).

Part of that journey is the strategy built during strategic planning, and part of it is execution during the strategic management process. A good strategic plan dictates “how” you travel the selected road.

Effective execution ensures you are reviewing, refreshing, and recalibrating your strategy to reach your destination. The planning process should take no longer than 90 days. But, move at a pace that works best for you and your team and leverage this as a resource.

To kick this process off, we recommend 1-2 weeks (1-hour meeting with the Owner/CEO, Strategy Director, and Facilitator (if necessary) to discuss the information collected and direction for continued planning.)

Strategic Planning Guide and Process

Questions to Ask:

  • Who is on your Planning Team? What senior leadership members and key stakeholders are included? Checkout these links you need help finding a strategic planning consultant , someone to facilitate strategic planning , or expert AI strategy consulting .
  • Who will be the business process owner (Strategy Director) of planning in your organization?
  • Fast forward 12 months from now, what do you want to see differently in your organization as a result of your strategic plan and implementation?
  • Planning team members are informed of their roles and responsibilities.
  • A strategic planning schedule is established.
  • Existing planning information and secondary data collected.

Action Grid:

What

Step 1: Determine Organizational Readiness

Set up your plan for success – questions to ask:

  • Are the conditions and criteria for successful planning in place at the current time? Can certain pitfalls be avoided?
  • Is this the appropriate time for your organization to initiate a planning process? Yes or no? If no, where do you go from here?

Step 2: Develop Your Team & Schedule

Who is going to be on your planning team? You need to choose someone to oversee the strategy implementation (Chief Strategy Officer or Strategy Director) and strategic management of your plan? You need some of the key individuals and decision makers for this team. It should be a small group of approximately 12-15 people.

OnStrategy is the leader in strategic planning and performance management. Our cloud-based software and hands-on services closes the gap between strategy and execution. Learn more about OnStrategy here .

Step 3: Collect Current Data

All strategic plans are developed using the following information:

  • The last strategic plan, even if it is not current
  • Mission statement, vision statement, values statement
  • Past or current Business plan
  • Financial records for the last few years
  • Marketing plan
  • Other information, such as last year’s SWOT, sales figures and projections

Step 4: Review Collected Data

Review the data collected in the last action with your strategy director and facilitator.

  • What trends do you see?
  • Are there areas of obvious weakness or strengths?
  • Have you been following a plan or have you just been going along with the market?

Conclusion: A successful strategic plan must be adaptable to changing conditions. Organizations benefit from having a flexible plan that can evolve, as assumptions and goals may need adjustments. Preparing to adapt or restart the planning process is crucial, so we recommend updating actions quarterly and refreshing your plan annually.

Strategic Planning Pyramid

Strategic Planning Phase 1: Determine Your Strategic Position

Want more? Dive into the “ Evaluate Your Strategic Position ” How-To Guide.

Action Grid

Step 1: identify strategic issues.

Strategic issues are critical unknowns driving you to embark on a robust strategic planning process. These issues can be problems, opportunities, market shifts, or anything else that keeps you awake at night and begging for a solution or decision. The best strategic plans address your strategic issues head-on.

  • How will we grow, stabilize, or retrench in order to sustain our organization into the future?
  • How will we diversify our revenue to reduce our dependence on a major customer?
  • What must we do to improve our cost structure and stay competitive?
  • How and where must we innovate our products and services?

Step 2: Conduct an Environmental Scan

Conducting an environmental scan will help you understand your operating environment. An environmental scan is called a PEST analysis, an acronym for Political, Economic, Social, and Technological trends. Sometimes, it is helpful to include Ecological and Legal trends as well. All of these trends play a part in determining the overall business environment.

Step 3: Conduct a Competitive Analysis

The reason to do a competitive analysis is to assess the opportunities and threats that may occur from those organizations competing for the same business you are. You need to understand what your competitors are or aren’t offering your potential customers. Here are a few other key ways a competitive analysis fits into strategic planning:

  • To help you assess whether your competitive advantage is really an advantage.
  • To understand what your competitors’ current and future strategies are so you can plan accordingly.
  • To provide information that will help you evaluate your strategic decisions against what your competitors may or may not be doing.

Learn more on how to conduct a competitive analysis here .

Step 4: Identify Opportunities and Threats

Opportunities are situations that exist but must be acted on if the business is to benefit from them.

What do you want to capitalize on?

  • What new needs of customers could you meet?
  • What are the economic trends that benefit you?
  • What are the emerging political and social opportunities?
  • What niches have your competitors missed?

Threats refer to external conditions or barriers preventing a company from reaching its objectives.

What do you need to mitigate? What external driving force do you need to anticipate?

Questions to Answer:

  • What are the negative economic trends?
  • What are the negative political and social trends?
  • Where are competitors about to bite you?
  • Where are you vulnerable?

Step 5: Identify Strengths and Weaknesses

Strengths refer to what your company does well.

What do you want to build on?

  • What do you do well (in sales, marketing, operations, management)?
  • What are your core competencies?
  • What differentiates you from your competitors?
  • Why do your customers buy from you?

Weaknesses refer to any limitations a company faces in developing or implementing a strategy.

What do you need to shore up?

  • Where do you lack resources?
  • What can you do better?
  • Where are you losing money?
  • In what areas do your competitors have an edge?

Step 6: Customer Segments

What

Customer segmentation defines the different groups of people or organizations a company aims to reach or serve.

  • What needs or wants define your ideal customer?
  • What characteristics describe your typical customer?
  • Can you sort your customers into different profiles using their needs, wants and characteristics?
  • Can you reach this segment through clear communication channels?

Step 7: Develop Your SWOT

What

A SWOT analysis is a quick way of examining your organization by looking at the internal strengths and weaknesses in relation to the external opportunities and threats. Creating a SWOT analysis lets you see all the important factors affecting your organization together in one place.

It’s easy to read, easy to communicate, and easy to create. Take the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats you developed earlier, review, prioritize, and combine like terms. The SWOT analysis helps you ask and answer the following questions: “How do you….”

  • Build on your strengths
  • Shore up your weaknesses
  • Capitalize on your opportunities
  • Manage your threats

What

Strategic Planning Process Phase 2: Developing Strategy

Want More? Deep Dive Into the “Developing Your Strategy” How-To Guide.

Step 1: Develop Your Mission Statement

The mission statement describes an organization’s purpose or reason for existing.

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

  • What are your organization’s goals? What does your organization intend to accomplish?
  • Why do you work here? Why is it special to work here?
  • What would happen if we were not here?

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

Step 2: discover your values.

Your values statement clarifies what your organization stands for, believes in and the behaviors you expect to see as a result. Check our the post on great what are core values and examples of core values .

How will we behave?

  • What are the key non-negotiables that are critical to the company’s success?
  • What guiding principles are core to how we operate in this organization?
  • What behaviors do you expect to see?
  • If the circumstances changed and penalized us for holding this core value, would we still keep it?

Outcome: Short list of 5-7 core values.

Step 3: casting your vision statement.

What

A Vision Statement defines your desired future state and directs where we are going as an organization.

Where are we going?

  • What will our organization look like 5–10 years from now?
  • What does success look like?
  • What are we aspiring to achieve?
  • What mountain are you climbing and why?

Outcome: A picture of the future.

Step 4: identify your competitive advantages.

How to Identify Competitive Advantages

A competitive advantage is a characteristic of an organization that allows it to meet its customer’s need(s) better than its competition can. It’s important to consider your competitive advantages when creating your competitive strategy.

What are we best at?

  • What are your unique strengths?
  • What are you best at in your market?
  • Do your customers still value what is being delivered? Ask them.
  • How do your value propositions stack up in the marketplace?

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

Step 5: crafting your organization-wide strategies.

What

Your competitive strategy is the general methods you intend to use to reach your vision. Regardless of the level, a strategy answers the question “how.”

How will we succeed?

  • Broad: market scope; a relatively wide market emphasis.
  • Narrow: limited to only one or few segments in the market
  • Does your competitive position focus on lowest total cost or product/service differentiation or both?

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

What

Phase 3: Strategic Plan Development

Want More? Deep Dive Into the “Build Your Plan” How-To Guide.

Strategic Planning Process Step 1: Use Your SWOT to Set Priorities

If your team wants to take the next step in the SWOT analysis, apply the TOWS Strategic Alternatives Matrix to your strategy map to help you think about the options you could pursue. To do this, match external opportunities and threats with your internal strengths and weaknesses, as illustrated in the matrix below:

TOWS Strategic Alternatives Matrix

Evaluate the options you’ve generated, and identify the ones that give the greatest benefit, and that best achieve the mission and vision of your organization. Add these to the other strategic options that you’re considering.

Step 2: Define Long-Term Strategic Objectives

Long-Term Strategic Objectives are long-term, broad, continuous statements that holistically address all areas of your organization. What must we focus on to achieve our vision? Check out examples of strategic objectives here. What are the “big rocks”?

Questions to ask:

  • What are our shareholders or stakeholders expectations for our financial performance or social outcomes?
  • To reach our outcomes, what value must we provide to our customers? What is our value proposition?
  • To provide value, what process must we excel at to deliver our products and services?
  • To drive our processes, what skills, capabilities and organizational structure must we have?

Outcome: Framework for your plan – no more than 6. You can use the balanced scorecard framework, OKRs, or whatever methodology works best for you. Just don’t exceed 6 long-term objectives.

Strategy Map

Step 3: Setting Organization-Wide Goals and Measures

What

Once you have formulated your strategic objectives, you should translate them into goals and measures that can be communicated to your strategic planning team (team of business leaders and/or team members).

You want to set goals that convert the strategic objectives into specific performance targets. Effective strategic goals clearly state what, when, how, and who, and they are specifically measurable. They should address what you must do in the short term (think 1-3 years) to achieve your strategic objectives.

Organization-wide goals are annual statements that are SMART – specific, measurable, attainable, responsible, and time-bound. These are outcome statements expressing a result to achieve the desired outcomes expected in the organization.

What is most important right now to reach our long-term objectives?

Outcome: clear outcomes for the current year..

Strategic Planning Outcomes Table

Step 4: Select KPIs

What

Key Performance Indicators (KPI) are the key measures that will have the most impact in moving your organization forward. We recommend you guide your organization with measures that matter. See examples of KPIs here.

How will we measure our success?

Outcome: 5-7 measures that help you keep the pulse on your performance. When selecting your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), ask, “What are the key performance measures we need to track to monitor if we are achieving our goals?” These KPIs include the key goals you want to measure that will have the most impact on moving your organization forward.

Step 5: Cascade Your Strategies to Operations

NPS Step #5

To move from big ideas to action, creating action items and to-dos for short-term goals is crucial. This involves translating strategy from the organizational level to individuals. Functional area managers and contributors play a role in developing short-term goals to support the organization.

Before taking action, decide whether to create plans directly derived from the strategic plan or sync existing operational, business, or account plans with organizational goals. Avoid the pitfall of managing multiple sets of goals and actions, as this shifts from strategic planning to annual planning.

Questions to Ask

  • How are we going to get there at a functional level?
  • Who must do what by when to accomplish and drive the organizational goals?
  • What strategic questions still remain and need to be solved?

Department/functional goals, actions, measures and targets for the next 12-24 months

Step 6: Cascading Goals to Departments and Team Members

Now in your Departments / Teams, you need to create goals to support the organization-wide goals. These goals should still be SMART and are generally (short-term) something to be done in the next 12-18 months. Finally, you should develop an action plan for each goal.

Keep the acronym SMART in mind again when setting action items, and make sure they include start and end dates and have someone assigned their responsibility. Since these action items support your previously established goals, it may be helpful to consider action items your immediate plans on the way to achieving your (short-term) goals. In other words, identify all the actions that need to occur in the next 90 days and continue this same process every 90 days until the goal is achieved.

Examples of Cascading Goals:

What

Phase 4: Executing Strategy and Managing Performance

Want more? Dive Into the “Managing Performance” How-To Guide.

Step 1: Strategic Plan Implementation Schedule

Implementation is the process that turns strategies and plans into actions in order to accomplish strategic objectives and goals.

How will we use the plan as a management tool?

  • Communication Schedule: How and when will you roll-out your plan to your staff? How frequently will you send out updates?
  • Process Leader: Who is your strategy director?
  • Structure: What are the dates for your strategy reviews (we recommend at least quarterly)?
  • System & Reports: What are you expecting each staff member to come prepared with to those strategy review sessions?

Outcome: Syncing your plan into the “rhythm of your business.”

Once your resources are in place, you can set your implementation schedule. Use the following steps as your base implementation plan:

  • Establish your performance management and reward system.
  • Set up monthly and quarterly strategy meetings with established reporting procedures.
  • Set up annual strategic review dates including new assessments and a large group meeting for an annual plan review.

Now you’re ready to start plan roll-out. Below are sample implementation schedules, which double for a full strategic management process timeline.

Strategic Planning Calendar

Step 2: Tracking Goals & Actions

Monthly strategy meetings don’t need to take a lot of time – 30 to 60 minutes should suffice. But it is important that key team members report on their progress toward the goals they are responsible for – including reporting on metrics in the scorecard they have been assigned.

By using the measurements already established, it’s easy to make course corrections if necessary. You should also commit to reviewing your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) during these regular meetings. Need help comparing strategic planning software ? Check out our guide.

Effective Strategic Planning: Your Bi-Annual Checklist

What

Never lose sight of the fact that strategic plans are guidelines, not rules. Every six months or so, you should evaluate your strategy execution and strategic plan implementation by asking these key questions:

  • Will your goals be achieved within the time frame of the plan? If not, why?
  • Should the deadlines be modified? (Before you modify deadlines, figure out why you’re behind schedule.)
  • Are your goals and action items still realistic?
  • Should the organization’s focus be changed to put more emphasis on achieving your goals?
  • Should your goals be changed? (Be careful about making these changes – know why efforts aren’t achieving the goals before changing the goals.)
  • What can be gathered from an adaptation to improve future planning activities?

Why Track Your Goals?

  • Ownership: Having a stake and responsibility in the plan makes you feel part of it and leads you to drive your goals forward.
  • Culture: Successful plans tie tracking and updating goals into organizational culture.
  • Implementation: If you don’t review and update your strategic goals, they are just good intentions
  • Accountability: Accountability and high visibility help drive change. This means that each measure, objective, data source and initiative must have an owner.
  • Empowerment: Changing goals from In Progress to Complete just feels good!

Step 3: Review & Adapt

Guidelines for your strategy review.

The most important part of this meeting is a 70/30 review. 30% is about reviewing performance, and 70% should be spent on making decisions to move the company’s strategy forward in the next quarter.

The best strategic planners spend about 60-90 minutes in the sessions. Holding meetings helps focus your goals on accomplishing top priorities and accelerating the organization’s growth. Although the meeting structure is relatively simple, it does require a high degree of discipline.

Strategy Review Session Questions:

Strategic planning frequently asked questions, read our frequently asked questions about strategic planning to learn how to build a great strategic plan..

Strategic planning is when organizations define a bold vision and create a plan with objectives and goals to reach that future. A great strategic plan defines where your organization is going, how you’ll win, who must do what, and how you’ll review and adapt your strategy..

Your strategic plan needs to include an assessment of your current state, a SWOT analysis, mission, vision, values, competitive advantages, growth strategy, growth enablers, a 3-year roadmap, and annual plan with strategic goals, OKRs, and KPIs.

A strategic planning process should take no longer than 90 days to complete from start to finish! Any longer could fatigue your organization and team.

There are four overarching phases to the strategic planning process that include: determining position, developing your strategy, building your plan, and managing performance. Each phase plays a unique but distinctly crucial role in the strategic planning process.

Prior to starting your strategic plan, you must go through this pre-planning process to determine your organization’s readiness by following these steps:

Ask yourself these questions: Are the conditions and criteria for successful planning in place now? Can we foresee any pitfalls that we can avoid? Is there an appropriate time for our organization to initiate this process?

Develop your team and schedule. Who will oversee the implementation as Chief Strategy Officer or Director? Do we have at least 12-15 other key individuals on our team?

Research and Collect Current Data. Find the following resources that your organization may have used in the past to assist you with your new plan: last strategic plan, mission, vision, and values statement, business plan, financial records, marketing plan, SWOT, sales figures, or projections.

Finally, review the data with your strategy director and facilitator and ask these questions: What trends do we see? Any obvious strengths or weaknesses? Have we been following a plan or just going along with the market?

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strategic planning process examples

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What is Strategic Planning? Definition, Importance, Model, Process and Examples

By Paul VanZandt

Published on: February 2, 2023

strategic planning

Table of Contents

What is Strategic Planning?

Importance and benefits of strategic planning, strategic planning models, strategic planning process: 6 key steps, what makes an effective strategic plan example, strategic planning example.

Strategic planning is defined as a pivotal organizational endeavor, meticulously charting the mission, goals, and objectives over a strategic timeframe, typically spanning 2-5 years. This comprehensive roadmap takes into meticulous consideration the current organizational landscape, navigating through the intricacies of prevailing legislation, the dynamic business environment, product portfolios, departmental dynamics, and the judicious allocation of budget resources. By weaving together these critical elements, a strategic plan becomes a guiding compass, steering the organization towards its vision with adaptability and foresight.

Strategic planning first entered business environments in the post-war period of the 1950s, and has been so effective that it is still widely used and applied across organizational spectrums, including non-profits.

While a strategic plan is the final outcome of the strategic planning process, here are the key factors and components that feed into creating this plan:

  • Profitability and balance sheet management

For any business, profitability and the adjacent balance sheet management is and always should be a key factor to be taken into consideration during strategic planning, depending on the size of the business. Both these factors are in fact co-dependent. For example, one of the key outcomes of a strategic plan is to set the revenue growth percentage to be achieved each year for, say, 3 years. This in turn will require an evaluation of the balance sheet, including any debt payments, dividend payout, shareholder expectations, etc.

Even if the business is a startup and is rich with investor cash to spend in acquiring customers in the short to medium term, it is still aspiring to be profitable and must lay out a larger strategic path to profitability.

  • SWOT analysis outcomes

Strength, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats – these are the outcomes and full terms of the abbreviated term, SWOT analysis. Strength refers to the business factors that indicate key factors that are contributing to the achievement of business outcomes. These may be factors related to sales, employee and talent retention, software stack, business efficiency, etc. Similarly, weakness refers to factors that are holding back the growth and achievement of business outcomes, such as poor margins, lack of company data management, employee attrition, etc.

Opportunity refers to areas in the business environment that the business can potentially explore. For example, one of the opportunities identified could be sales in a new market, implementing a better human resources management model, branching into new products and/ or services, etc.

  • Operations management

Operations management pertains to the cohesive movement of all moving and communicating parts to produce the company’s products or services. While creating a strategic business plan, management needs to take into account how each department and team will need to interact with each other to produce the results desired as outcomes in the strategic plan. This includes ensuring the right technology stack needed for each team including communication and collaboration technology needed for remote and on-premise task execution.

  • Human resource management

Strategic planning involves taking into account all aspects of HR and employee-related spending and policies. One of the key aspects of a strategic plan must be to ensure a harmonious work experience for employees such that it increases employee retention and helps build an environment that enhances employee productivity and workplace satisfaction.

A strategic plan is more than just a business tool, it also plays a key role in defining operational, cultural, and workplace ethics. Here are some of the key aspects of the importance of strategic planning:

1. Provides a unified goal

A strategic plan is like a unified action plan for the whole company in order to achieve common outcomes. For example, a strategic plan to achieve a certain revenue growth each year requires sales, account management, product development, and marketing teams to work together to ensure a seamless lead pipeline, customer upsells and account retention, meet customer expectations, etc.

2. Adds to management transparency

Strategic planning is more than just for direct business growth, it also helps shine clarity to employees and shareholders as to what their mid-to-long-term objectives are and how their actions are derived from these larger goals. Such a plan must always be referenced for citation and justification for key business moves and decisions to make it apparently justified and based on logic and reason. This also encourages team leads and employees to in turn be more transparent with their team members and peers with their plans and goals.

One of the issues most dreaded by investors and employees alike is management that seems to make random decisions without any clear guidance on how they help meet requirements for the final business objectives or tackle the challenges of the day. A strategic plan helps build investor and employee confidence in the management and adds to building a culture of transparency in day-to-day business operations.

3. Identifies hidden strengths and weaknesses

Many strengths and weaknesses in a company may be contributing, yet hidden factors in the path to meeting or hindering the meeting of business goals. A strategic plan’s primary input is a SWOT analysis of the company, which is conducted by auditing the firm to recognize and list strengths and weaknesses within the company. These may be a competitive product, a better monetization model, a weak employee incentive policy, etc.

The important step here is the actual deep analysis and listing down of these strengths and weaknesses and how they can be leveraged or minimized.

4. Leads to better financial health

A company with a clear strategic plan is able to better plan expenses and set the right expectations on return on investment (ROI). It takes into account balance sheets, profitability, accounting and expense management, all of which contribute to better bookkeeping and financial health of the company.

5. Improves management-employee relations

Employees and teams work in silos when the management works in silos. But when a company shares a strategic plan with employees and lays out exactly how each team will be working towards contributing to this larger plan, it gives each team and its members a sense of belonging and importance within the larger company, In today’s environment of hybrid or remote work cultures, it is a key step to ensuring that the company remains cohesive and collaborative in getting work done and meeting final objectives.

Learn more: What is Tactical Planning?

Strategic planning inputs may require one of many of the following business analysis models:

  • SWOT analysis

SWOT analysis is the process and visual template for identifying and listing a company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. These are cornerstone considerations for any leadership team and play a key role in the strategic planning process.

  • Business model canvas

A business model canvas is a process used to identify and represent existing business models of an enterprise and develop new models to better meet company goals and objectives. Like SWOT analysis, the business model canvas is also a standard business template.

  • PESTEL analysis

PESTEL is an abbreviation for political, economic, social, technological, environmental, and legal, and PESTEL analysis aims to identify the impact of these external factors on a business.

  • Cost-benefit analysis

A cost-benefit analysis is a method of evaluating an investment in the business based on the benefits it would bring to the table. This is a good method for ensuring a healthy financial balance sheet where spending and budgeting are carefully analyzed to ensure only those investments bring back reasonable ROI.

Most companies have 2 or more product/service streams or even 2 or more businesses. A BCG matrix is a visual process of managing an enterprise’s portfolio by prioritizing profitable companies with good market share and growth.

An effective strategic planning process requires the following key steps:

1. Identify core business objectives

Strategic planning begins with first identifying your business objectives- what does it produce? What does it do better than the competition? What is the quality-profitability balance? These are examples of the questions that need to be asked to identify core business objectives. The strategic planning tools can be applied at any stage of the planning process to help answer these questions.

2. Identify the objectives of each department

Once the core business objective is ready, it needs to trickle down to an execution plan that involves each department. This in turn will result in breaking down of the core objectives into smaller objectives for the teams. This needs to be laid out with clarity and precision since the team leaders will further use this team goal to assign individual targets for members.

3. Identify potential roadblocks

Before formulating the final strategy, it is important to discuss it with relevant leaders in the company to ensure an error-free process that is achievable with minimal roadblocks. Of course, as the execution work begins, the management should be flexible enough to absorb unforeseen and small issues that are inevitable. The goal here is to avoid any big boulders which may cripple the strategy at a later stage, such as data security, pricing estimations, hiring new employees or expansion to new departments/ teams, investment in new product development, mergers and acquisition plans, etc.

4. Formulate the final strategy

Once the objectives and goals have been scanned for potential roadblocks and alterations/ safeguards have been accommodated, this is the first draft of the final strategic plan for the company. This strategy may be applicable for the foreseeable future or have a specific deadline, it should however be pulled up for revision annually. Small companies or startups who have much to learn on the way, need to keep an active eye on the larger strategy based on changing business realities.

5. Re-evaluate based on feedback

Before you iron out the processes and policies that will enable the execution of the new strategic plan of the company, it is important to hear back from your employees. This doesn’t have to be every single employee, especially if you have a large team, but to the extent possible. You may at first discuss the strategy with team leaders, who if needed, may take it further down the chain to their own team members and absorb their feedback. Complete agreement may not be possible, but it is important that both sides remain flexible while discussions are on but must be prepared to execute once the discussions are over.

6. Set or revise adjacent policies and processes

Now that the strategic plan for the business is complete and sealed, the leadership team needs to start the execution with necessary changes to the processes and policies as the need may be. This may need to include data management process changes, technology stack updates, issue escalation matrix, etc. In some cases, it may not require any change, and the right processes may already be in place with just a new direction based on the strategic plan.

Learn more: What is SWOT Analysis Framework?

Crafting a good example of a strategic plan involves several key elements. Here’s a breakdown of what makes a strategic plan exemplary:

  • Clear Mission Statement: A strong strategic plan starts with a clear and concise mission statement that defines the organization’s purpose and the value it aims to provide.
  • SMART Objectives: The plan should include specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) objectives. This ensures that goals are well-defined and actionable.
  • Environmental Analysis: A good strategic plan conducts a thorough analysis of the internal and external environment, taking into account strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT). This provides a foundation for strategic decision-making.
  • Alignment with Vision: The plan should clearly articulate how each objective contributes to the overall vision of the organization. There should be a cohesive alignment between the strategic goals and the long-term vision.
  • Resource Allocation: Effective resource allocation is crucial. The plan should outline how financial, human, and other resources will be distributed to support the strategic goals.
  • Actionable Steps: Each objective should be broken down into actionable steps or initiatives. This helps in practical implementation and provides a roadmap for achieving the goals.
  • Monitoring and Evaluation: A good strategic plan includes mechanisms for ongoing monitoring and evaluation. Key performance indicators (KPIs) should be defined, and regular assessments should be conducted to track progress.
  • Flexibility and Adaptability: The plan should acknowledge the dynamic nature of business environments. Flexibility and adaptability are essential to adjust strategies in response to changes in the internal or external landscape.
  • Communication Strategy: A strategic plan should include a communication strategy to ensure that stakeholders are well-informed about the goals, progress, and any adjustments made to the plan.
  • Inclusivity: Involving key stakeholders in the strategic planning process fosters a sense of ownership and commitment. A good plan considers input from various departments, employees, and external partners.
  • Risk Management: Anticipating and addressing potential risks is a vital aspect of a strategic plan. Contingency plans should be in place to mitigate unforeseen challenges.
  • Continuous Improvement: A strategic plan should not be static. There should be a commitment to continuous improvement, with regular reviews and updates to ensure its relevance and effectiveness.

By incorporating these elements into your example of a strategic plan, you can demonstrate a comprehensive and thoughtful approach to organizational planning, which may resonate well with both practitioners and those seeking to understand the principles of strategic planning.

A strategic plan is a detailed document that outlines an organization’s goals, objectives, and the actions required to achieve them. While the specific details of a strategic plan will vary depending on the organization, its industry, and its unique circumstances, here’s an example of a strategic plan for a fictional company:

Company: Visionary Tech Solutions (VTS)

Mission Statement: “To empower businesses through innovative technology solutions, fostering growth and sustainability in an ever-evolving digital landscape.”

Strategic Goals: Presented below are ten strategic goals that serve as excellent examples to enhance the functionality of a company.

1. Market Leadership in Tech Solutions:

Objective: Capture a 20% increase in market share within the next three years.

Action Steps:

  • Launch two new cutting-edge products catering to emerging market demands.
  • Strengthen strategic partnerships with key industry players.
  • Implement aggressive marketing campaigns highlighting VTS’s technological prowess.

2. Operational Efficiency:

Objective: Improve operational efficiency by 15% over the next two years.

  • Streamline internal processes through the implementation of advanced project management tools.
  • Invest in employee training programs to enhance skills and productivity.
  • Conduct regular process audits for continuous improvement.

3. Customer-Centric Innovation:

Objective: Introduce at least three customer-centric innovations annually.

  • Establish a dedicated R&D team focused on anticipating and addressing customer needs.
  • Implement customer feedback loops to gather insights for product enhancements.
  • Launch a customer loyalty program to foster long-term relationships.

4. Global Expansion:

Objective: Expand operations to two new international markets within the next four years.

  • Conduct thorough market research to identify viable expansion opportunities.
  • Establish local partnerships to navigate regulatory and cultural nuances.
  • Develop customized marketing strategies tailored to each target market.

5. Resource Allocation:

Budget allocation:

  • 30% for research and development.
  • 25% for marketing and promotional activities.
  • 20% for employee training and development.
  • 15% for operational improvements.
  • 10% for international expansion initiatives.

6. Monitoring and Evaluation:

  • Quarterly performance reviews with key performance indicators (KPIs) tracked against predefined targets.
  • Annual comprehensive evaluation of the strategic plan’s effectiveness and adjustments as needed.

7. Communication Strategy:

  • Regular updates through internal newsletters, town hall meetings, and an interactive company intranet.
  • External communication through press releases, social media updates, and a dedicated section on the company website.

8. Risk Management:

  • Identification of potential risks such as technological disruptions, market fluctuations, and geopolitical challenges.
  • Development of contingency plans and regular risk assessments.

9. Inclusivity:

  • Cross-functional teams involved in the strategic planning process, ensuring diverse perspectives and expertise.

10. Continuous Improvement:

  • Commitment to regular reviews and updates to the strategic plan based on industry trends, technological advancements, and feedback from stakeholders.

This example of a strategic plan for Visionary Tech Solutions outlines a roadmap that integrates the company’s mission, strategic goals, resource allocation, monitoring mechanisms, and a commitment to adaptability and continuous improvement. Adjustments should be made as needed based on ongoing evaluations and changes in the business environment.

Learn more: What is Enterprise Planning?

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6 Steps to Make Your Strategic Plan Really Strategic

  • Graham Kenny

strategic planning process examples

You don’t need dozens of strategic goals.

Many strategic plans aren’t strategic, or even plans. To fix that, try a six step process: first, identify key stakeholders. Second, identify a specific, very important key stakeholder: your target customer. Third, figure out what these stakeholders want from you. Fourth, figure out what you want from them. Fifth, design your strategy around these requirements. Sixth, focus on continuously improving this plan.

Why is it that when a group of managers gets together for a strategic planning session they often emerge with a document that’s devoid of “strategy”, and often not even a plan ?

strategic planning process examples

  • Graham Kenny is CEO of  Strategic Factors and author of the book Strategy Discovery.   He is a recognized expert in strategy and performance measurement who helps managers, executives, and boards create successful organizations in the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors. He has been a professor of management in universities in the U.S., and Canada.  You can connect to or follow him on  LinkedIn .

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  • Business strategy |
  • 7 strategic planning models, plus 8 fra ...

7 strategic planning models, plus 8 frameworks to help you get started

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Strategic planning is vital in defining where your business is going in the next three to five years. With the right strategic planning models and frameworks, you can uncover opportunities, identify risks, and create a strategic plan to fuel your organization’s success. We list the most popular models and frameworks and explain how you can combine them to create a strategic plan that fits your business.

A strategic plan is a great tool to help you hit your business goals . But sometimes, this tool needs to be updated to reflect new business priorities or changing market conditions. If you decide to use a model that already exists, you can benefit from a roadmap that’s already created. The model you choose can improve your knowledge of what works best in your organization, uncover unknown strengths and weaknesses, or help you find out how you can outpace your competitors.

In this article, we cover the most common strategic planning models and frameworks and explain when to use which one. Plus, get tips on how to apply them and which models and frameworks work well together. 

Strategic planning models vs. frameworks

First off: This is not a one-or-nothing scenario. You can use as many or as few strategic planning models and frameworks as you like. 

When your organization undergoes a strategic planning phase, you should first pick a model or two that you want to apply. This will provide you with a basic outline of the steps to take during the strategic planning process.

[Inline illustration] Strategic planning models vs. frameworks (Infographic)

During that process, think of strategic planning frameworks as the tools in your toolbox. Many models suggest starting with a SWOT analysis or defining your vision and mission statements first. Depending on your goals, though, you may want to apply several different frameworks throughout the strategic planning process.

For example, if you’re applying a scenario-based strategic plan, you could start with a SWOT and PEST(LE) analysis to get a better overview of your current standing. If one of the weaknesses you identify has to do with your manufacturing process, you could apply the theory of constraints to improve bottlenecks and mitigate risks. 

Now that you know the difference between the two, learn more about the seven strategic planning models, as well as the eight most commonly used frameworks that go along with them.

[Inline illustration] The seven strategic planning models (Infographic)

1. Basic model

The basic strategic planning model is ideal for establishing your company’s vision, mission, business objectives, and values. This model helps you outline the specific steps you need to take to reach your goals, monitor progress to keep everyone on target, and address issues as they arise.

If it’s your first strategic planning session, the basic model is the way to go. Later on, you can embellish it with other models to adjust or rewrite your business strategy as needed. Let’s take a look at what kinds of businesses can benefit from this strategic planning model and how to apply it.

Small businesses or organizations

Companies with little to no strategic planning experience

Organizations with few resources 

Write your mission statement. Gather your planning team and have a brainstorming session. The more ideas you can collect early in this step, the more fun and rewarding the analysis phase will feel.

Identify your organization’s goals . Setting clear business goals will increase your team’s performance and positively impact their motivation.

Outline strategies that will help you reach your goals. Ask yourself what steps you have to take in order to reach these goals and break them down into long-term, mid-term, and short-term goals .

Create action plans to implement each of the strategies above. Action plans will keep teams motivated and your organization on target.

Monitor and revise the plan as you go . As with any strategic plan, it’s important to closely monitor if your company is implementing it successfully and how you can adjust it for a better outcome.

2. Issue-based model

Also called goal-based planning model, this is essentially an extension of the basic strategic planning model. It’s a bit more dynamic and very popular for companies that want to create a more comprehensive plan.

Organizations with basic strategic planning experience

Businesses that are looking for a more comprehensive plan

Conduct a SWOT analysis . Assess your organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats with a SWOT analysis to get a better overview of what your strategic plan should focus on. We’ll give into how to conduct a SWOT analysis when we get into the strategic planning frameworks below.

Identify and prioritize major issues and/or goals. Based on your SWOT analysis, identify and prioritize what your strategic plan should focus on this time around.

Develop your main strategies that address these issues and/or goals. Aim to develop one overarching strategy that addresses your highest-priority goal and/or issue to keep this process as simple as possible.

Update or create a mission and vision statement . Make sure that your business’s statements align with your new or updated strategy. If you haven’t already, this is also a chance for you to define your organization’s values.

Create action plans. These will help you address your organization’s goals, resource needs, roles, and responsibilities. 

Develop a yearly operational plan document. This model works best if your business repeats the strategic plan implementation process on an annual basis, so use a yearly operational plan to capture your goals, progress, and opportunities for next time.

Allocate resources for your year-one operational plan. Whether you need funding or dedicated team members to implement your first strategic plan, now is the time to allocate all the resources you’ll need.

Monitor and revise the strategic plan. Record your lessons learned in the operational plan so you can revisit and improve it for the next strategic planning phase.

The issue-based plan can repeat on an annual basis (or less often once you resolve the issues). It’s important to update the plan every time it’s in action to ensure it’s still doing the best it can for your organization.

You don’t have to repeat the full process every year—rather, focus on what’s a priority during this run.

3. Alignment model

This model is also called strategic alignment model (SAM) and is one of the most popular strategic planning models. It helps you align your business and IT strategies with your organization’s strategic goals. 

You’ll have to consider four equally important, yet different perspectives when applying the alignment strategic planning model:

Strategy execution: The business strategy driving the model

Technology potential: The IT strategy supporting the business strategy

Competitive potential: Emerging IT capabilities that can create new products and services

Service level: Team members dedicated to creating the best IT system in the organization

Ideally, your strategy will check off all the criteria above—however, it’s more likely you’ll have to find a compromise. 

Here’s how to create a strategic plan using the alignment model and what kinds of companies can benefit from it.

Organizations that need to fine-tune their strategies

Businesses that want to uncover issues that prevent them from aligning with their mission

Companies that want to reassess objectives or correct problem areas that prevent them from growing

Outline your organization’s mission, programs, resources, and where support is needed. Before you can improve your statements and approaches, you need to define what exactly they are.

Identify what internal processes are working and which ones aren’t. Pinpoint which processes are causing problems, creating bottlenecks , or could otherwise use improving. Then prioritize which internal processes will have the biggest positive impact on your business.

Identify solutions. Work with the respective teams when you’re creating a new strategy to benefit from their experience and perspective on the current situation.

Update your strategic plan with the solutions. Update your strategic plan and monitor if implementing it is setting your business up for improvement or growth. If not, you may have to return to the drawing board and update your strategic plan with new solutions.

4. Scenario model

The scenario model works great if you combine it with other models like the basic or issue-based model. This model is particularly helpful if you need to consider external factors as well. These can be government regulations, technical, or demographic changes that may impact your business.

Organizations trying to identify strategic issues and goals caused by external factors

Identify external factors that influence your organization. For example, you should consider demographic, regulation, or environmental factors.

Review the worst case scenario the above factors could have on your organization. If you know what the worst case scenario for your business looks like, it’ll be much easier to prepare for it. Besides, it’ll take some of the pressure and surprise out of the mix, should a scenario similar to the one you create actually occur.

Identify and discuss two additional hypothetical organizational scenarios. On top of your worst case scenario, you’ll also want to define the best case and average case scenarios. Keep in mind that the worst case scenario from the previous step can often provoke strong motivation to change your organization for the better. However, discussing the other two will allow you to focus on the positive—the opportunities your business may have ahead.

Identify and suggest potential strategies or solutions. Everyone on the team should now brainstorm different ways your business could potentially respond to each of the three scenarios. Discuss the proposed strategies as a team afterward.

Uncover common considerations or strategies for your organization. There’s a good chance that your teammates come up with similar solutions. Decide which ones you like best as a team or create a new one together.

Identify the most likely scenario and the most reasonable strategy. Finally, examine which of the three scenarios is most likely to occur in the next three to five years and how your business should respond to potential changes.

5. Self-organizing model

Also called the organic planning model, the self-organizing model is a bit different from the linear approaches of the other models. You’ll have to be very patient with this method. 

This strategic planning model is all about focusing on the learning and growing process rather than achieving a specific goal. Since the organic model concentrates on continuous improvement , the process is never really over.

Large organizations that can afford to take their time

Businesses that prefer a more naturalistic, organic planning approach that revolves around common values, communication, and shared reflection

Companies that have a clear understanding of their vision

Define and communicate your organization’s cultural values . Your team can only think clearly and with solutions in mind when they have a clear understanding of your organization's values.

Communicate the planning group’s vision for the organization. Define and communicate the vision with everyone involved in the strategic planning process. This will align everyone’s ideas with your company’s vision.

Discuss what processes will help realize the organization’s vision on a regular basis. Meet every quarter to discuss strategies or tactics that will move your organization closer to realizing your vision.

6. Real-time model

This fluid model can help organizations that deal with rapid changes to their work environment. There are three levels of success in the real-time model: 

Organizational: At the organizational level, you’re forming strategies in response to opportunities or trends.

Programmatic: At the programmatic level, you have to decide how to respond to specific outcomes or environmental changes.

Operational: On the operational level, you will study internal systems, policies, and people to develop a strategy for your company.

Figuring out your competitive advantage can be difficult, but this is absolutely crucial to ensure success. Whether it’s a unique asset or strength your organization has or an outstanding execution of services or programs—it’s important that you can set yourself apart from others in the industry to succeed.

Companies that need to react quickly to changing environments

Businesses that are seeking new tools to help them align with their organizational strategy

Define your mission and vision statement. If you ever feel stuck formulating your company’s mission or vision statement, take a look at those of others. Maybe Asana’s vision statement sparks some inspiration.

Research, understand, and learn from competitor strategy and market trends. Pick a handful of competitors in your industry and find out how they’ve created success for themselves. How did they handle setbacks or challenges? What kinds of challenges did they even encounter? Are these common scenarios in the market? Learn from your competitors by finding out as much as you can about them.

Study external environments. At this point, you can combine the real-time model with the scenario model to find solutions to threats and opportunities outside of your control.

Conduct a SWOT analysis of your internal processes, systems, and resources. Besides the external factors your team has to consider, it’s also important to look at your company’s internal environment and how well you’re prepared for different scenarios.

Develop a strategy. Discuss the results of your SWOT analysis to develop a business strategy that builds toward organizational, programmatic, and operational success.

Rinse and repeat. Monitor how well the new strategy is working for your organization and repeat the planning process as needed to ensure you’re on top or, perhaps, ahead of the game. 

7. Inspirational model

This last strategic planning model is perfect to inspire and energize your team as they work toward your organization’s goals. It’s also a great way to introduce or reconnect your employees to your business strategy after a merger or acquisition.

Businesses with a dynamic and inspired start-up culture

Organizations looking for inspiration to reinvigorate the creative process

Companies looking for quick solutions and strategy shifts

Gather your team to discuss an inspirational vision for your organization. The more people you can gather for this process, the more input you will receive.

Brainstorm big, hairy audacious goals and ideas. Encouraging your team not to hold back with ideas that may seem ridiculous will do two things: for one, it will mitigate the fear of contributing bad ideas. But more importantly, it may lead to a genius idea or suggestion that your team wouldn’t have thought of if they felt like they had to think inside of the box.

Assess your organization’s resources. Find out if your company has the resources to implement your new ideas. If they don’t, you’ll have to either adjust your strategy or allocate more resources.

Develop a strategy balancing your resources and brainstorming ideas. Far-fetched ideas can grow into amazing opportunities but they can also bear great risk. Make sure to balance ideas with your strategic direction. 

Now, let’s dive into the most commonly used strategic frameworks.

8. SWOT analysis framework

One of the most popular strategic planning frameworks is the SWOT analysis . A SWOT analysis is a great first step in identifying areas of opportunity and risk—which can help you create a strategic plan that accounts for growth and prepares for threats.

SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Here’s an example:

[Inline illustration] SWOT analysis (Example)

9. OKRs framework

A big part of strategic planning is setting goals for your company. That’s where OKRs come into play. 

OKRs stand for objective and key results—this goal-setting framework helps your organization set and achieve goals. It provides a somewhat holistic approach that you can use to connect your team’s work to your organization’s big-picture goals.  When team members understand how their individual work contributes to the organization’s success, they tend to be more motivated and produce better results

10. Balanced scorecard (BSC) framework

The balanced scorecard is a popular strategic framework for businesses that want to take a more holistic approach rather than just focus on their financial performance. It was designed by David Norton and Robert Kaplan in the 1990s, it’s used by companies around the globe to: 

Communicate goals

Align their team’s daily work with their company’s strategy

Prioritize products, services, and projects

Monitor their progress toward their strategic goals

Your balanced scorecard will outline four main business perspectives:

Customers or clients , meaning their value, satisfaction, and/or retention

Financial , meaning your effectiveness in using resources and your financial performance

Internal process , meaning your business’s quality and efficiency

Organizational capacity , meaning your organizational culture, infrastructure and technology, and human resources

With the help of a strategy map, you can visualize and communicate how your company is creating value. A strategy map is a simple graphic that shows cause-and-effect connections between strategic objectives. 

The balanced scorecard framework is an amazing tool to use from outlining your mission, vision, and values all the way to implementing your strategic plan .

You can use an integration like Lucidchart to create strategy maps for your business in Asana.

11. Porter’s Five Forces framework

If you’re using the real-time strategic planning model, Porter’s Five Forces are a great framework to apply. You can use it to find out what your product’s or service’s competitive advantage is before entering the market.

Developed by Michael E. Porter , the framework outlines five forces you have to be aware of and monitor:

[Inline illustration] Porter’s Five Forces framework (Infographic)

Threat of new industry entrants: Any new entry into the market results in increased pressure on prices and costs. 

Competition in the industry: The more competitors that exist, the more difficult it will be for you to create value in the market with your product or service.

Bargaining power of suppliers: Suppliers can wield more power if there are less alternatives for buyers or it’s expensive, time consuming, or difficult to switch to a different supplier.

Bargaining power of buyers: Buyers can wield more power if the same product or service is available elsewhere with little to no difference in quality.

Threat of substitutes: If another company already covers the market’s needs, you’ll have to create a better product or service or make it available for a lower price at the same quality in order to compete.

Remember, industry structures aren’t static. The more dynamic your strategic plan is, the better you’ll be able to compete in a market.

12. VRIO framework

The VRIO framework is another strategic planning tool designed to help you evaluate your competitive advantage. VRIO stands for value, rarity, imitability, and organization.

It’s a resource-based theory developed by Jay Barney. With this framework, you can study your firmed resources and find out whether or not your company can transform them into sustained competitive advantages. 

Firmed resources can be tangible (e.g., cash, tools, inventory, etc.) or intangible (e.g., copyrights, trademarks, organizational culture, etc.). Whether these resources will actually help your business once you enter the market depends on four qualities:

Valuable : Will this resource either increase your revenue or decrease your costs and thereby create value for your business?

Rare : Are the resources you’re using rare or can others use your resources as well and therefore easily provide the same product or service?

Inimitable : Are your resources either inimitable or non-substitutable? In other words, how unique and complex are your resources?

Organizational: Are you organized enough to use your resources in a way that captures their value, rarity, and inimitability?

It’s important that your resources check all the boxes above so you can ensure that you have sustained competitive advantage over others in the industry.

13. Theory of Constraints (TOC) framework

If the reason you’re currently in a strategic planning process is because you’re trying to mitigate risks or uncover issues that could hurt your business—this framework should be in your toolkit.

The theory of constraints (TOC) is a problem-solving framework that can help you identify limiting factors or bottlenecks preventing your organization from hitting OKRs or KPIs . 

Whether it’s a policy, market, or recourse constraint—you can apply the theory of constraints to solve potential problems, respond to issues, and empower your team to improve their work with the resources they have.

14. PEST/PESTLE analysis framework

The idea of the PEST analysis is similar to that of the SWOT analysis except that you’re focusing on external factors and solutions. It’s a great framework to combine with the scenario-based strategic planning model as it helps you define external factors connected to your business’s success.

PEST stands for political, economic, sociological, and technological factors. Depending on your business model, you may want to expand this framework to include legal and environmental factors as well (PESTLE). These are the most common factors you can include in a PESTLE analysis:

Political: Taxes, trade tariffs, conflicts

Economic: Interest and inflation rate, economic growth patterns, unemployment rate

Social: Demographics, education, media, health

Technological: Communication, information technology, research and development, patents

Legal: Regulatory bodies, environmental regulations, consumer protection

Environmental: Climate, geographical location, environmental offsets

15. Hoshin Kanri framework

Hoshin Kanri is a great tool to communicate and implement strategic goals. It’s a planning system that involves the entire organization in the strategic planning process. The term is Japanese and stands for “compass management” and is also known as policy management. 

This strategic planning framework is a top-down approach that starts with your leadership team defining long-term goals which are then aligned and communicated with every team member in the company. 

You should hold regular meetings to monitor progress and update the timeline to ensure that every teammate’s contributions are aligned with the overarching company goals.

Stick to your strategic goals

Whether you’re a small business just starting out or a nonprofit organization with decades of experience, strategic planning is a crucial step in your journey to success. 

If you’re looking for a tool that can help you and your team define, organize, and implement your strategic goals, Asana is here to help. Our goal-setting software allows you to connect all of your team members in one place, visualize progress, and stay on target.

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Examples of Strategic Plan

Examples of a Strategic Plan to Achieve Long-Term Growth

Team Ninety, Author at Work From Anywhere

This is a comprehensive guide on strategic planning for small to midsize companies.

If you want to:

  • Move your organization in the direction you intend for long-term success,
  • Implement your plan smoothly for greater growth,
  • Use a better platform for developing a truly effective strategic plan,

… then you’ll love this guide. Let’s get started.

What’s Covered in This Guide

Click on each to jump to that section.

What is Strategic Planning?

What does strategic planning mean, what is the goal of strategic planning.

  • What is Strategic Leadership?

4 Strategic Planning Strategies

The strategic planning process [11 steps], what does strategic planning involve.

  • How to Implement Your Strategic Plan

Examples of Strategic Plans

Get your strategic planning done on ninety.

Strategic planning is the process you use to:

  • Establish and document a clear direction for your organization.
  • Identify business goals and set priorities that create growth for your company.
  • Formulate a long-term plan of action designed to achieve these objectives.
  • Determine an internal system tracking and evaluating performance.

When organizations want to, they use a strategic plan to:

  • Strengthen their operation.
  • Focus on collective energy and resources.
  • Enable leaders, teams, and other stakeholders to work toward common goals.
  • Make agreements around desired results.
  • Refresh direction and prevail over a changing or challenging environment.

Thinking strategically helps companies take the right action for more success and better outcomes. Some even call it an art.

Strategic planning is one of three essential ways to pursue important objectives for your company. When tackling challenges and determining action plans, you can think strategically, tactically, or operationally. These three thought processes often work in concert to help you create a framework that achieves your desired objectives.

  • Strategic plans are designed for multilevel involvement throughout the entire organization. Leaders will look ahead to where they want to be in three, five, and ten years and develop a mission.
  • Tactical plans support strategic plans. They outline the specific responsibilities and functionalities at the department level so employees know how to do their part to make the strategic plan successful.
  • Operational plans focus on the highly detailed procedures, processes, and routine tasks that frontline employees must accomplish to achieve desired outcomes.

The goal of your strategic plan is to determine:

  • Where your company stands in relation to the current business environment. Understand how your business operates, how you create value, and how you differentiate from your competitors.
  • Where you want to take the business based on long-term objectives such as your company’s vision, mission, culture, values, and goals. Envision how you see the company five or ten years from now.
  • What you need to do to get there. You come away from your planning sessions with a roadmap that helps deliver on your strategic objectives. Determine better ways to enable and implement change, schedule deadlines, and structure goals, so they’re achievable.

The main purpose of your strategic plan is to create clearly defined goals for achieving the growth and success of your organization. These goals are connected to your organization’s mission and long-term vision.

What is Strategic Leadership? 

Strategic leadership is how you create, implement, and sustain your strategic plan, so your organization moves in the direction you intend for long-term success. This usually involves establishing ongoing practices and benchmarks, allocating resources, and providing leadership that supports your strategic mission and vision statement.

Strategic leadership, also known as strategy execution, can employ two different approaches:

  • A prescriptive approach is analytical and focuses on how strategies are created to account for risks and opportunities.
  • A descriptive approach is principle-driven and focuses on how strategies are implemented to account for risks and opportunities.

Most people agree that a strategic plan is only as good as the company’s ability to research, create, implement, evaluate, and adjust when needed. The benefits can be great when:

  • Your entire organization supports the plan.
  • Your business is set up to succeed.
  • Your employees are more likely to stay on track without being distracted or derailed.
  • You make better decisions based on metrics that facilitate course correction.
  • Everyone in your company is involved and invested in better outcomes.
  • Departments and teams are aligned across your company.
  • People are committed to learning and training.
  • Productivity increases, and performance improves.
  • Creativity is encouraged and rewarded.

What are the four main points of strategic planning? You engage in strategic thinking so you can create effective company goals that are:

Purpose-driven

Align your strategic plan with the company’s purpose and values as you understand them.

Actionable strategic goals are worth spending your time and resources on to reach organizational objectives.

It’s critical for you to track your strategy's progress and success, enabling your teams to take action and meet the goals more effectively.

Focused Long-term

A long-term focus distinguishes a strategic plan from operational goals, which involve daily activities and milestones required for success. When planning strategically, you’re looking ahead to the company’s future.

A strategic plan isn’t written in a day. Critical thinking evolves over several months. Those involved in the strategic planning are usually a team of leaders and employees from your company and possibly other stakeholders.

When should strategic planning be done?

You should plan strategically for start-ups and newer organizations from the start. But even if your company is more established, it’s not too late to start working on strategy.

Flexible timing that’s tailored to the needs of your organization is smart. Although the frequency of strategy sessions is up to you, many leaders use these milestones as a guide:

  • When the economy, your market, and industry trends change, or a global event occurs (like the onset of a pandemic).
  • Following a change in senior leadership.
  • Before a product launch or when a new division is added to your business.
  • After your company merges with another organization.
  • During a convenient time frame such as a quarterly and annual review.

Many organizations opt to schedule regular strategic reviews such as quarterly or annually. Especially when crafting a plan, your strategic planning team should meet regularly. They will often follow predetermined steps in the development of your long-term plan.

What are the 11 steps of strategic planning?

Identify your company’s strategic position in the marketplace. .

Gather market data and research information from both internal and external sources. You may want to conduct a comprehensive SWOT analysis to determine your company’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats against success. Your strengths and weaknesses are directly related to your current competitive advantage within your industry. They are what you use to balance challenges to your success. They also influence the likelihood of increased market share in the future.

Define your unique vision and mission. 

What would success look like for you in three years? Five years? Ten years? Articulate that in a vision statement. How do you intend to realize your vision? That’s articulated in your mission statement. Formulating purpose-driven strategic goals articulates why your company does what it does. Your organizational values inform your mission and vision and connect them to specific objectives.

Determine your company’s value.

Many companies use financial forecasting for this purpose. A forecast can assign anticipated measurable results, return on investment (ROI), or profits and cost of investment.

Set your organizational direction.

Defining the impact you want to have and the time frame for achieving helps focus a too-broad or over-ambitious first draft. This way, your plan will have objectives that will have the most impact. 

Create specific strategic objectives.

Your strategic objectives identify the conditions for your success. For instance, they may cover:

  • Value: Increasing revenue and shareholder value, budgeting cost, allocating resources aligned with the strategic plan, forecasting profitability, and ensuring financial stability. 
  • Customer Experience: Identifying target audiences, solution-based products and services, value for the cost, better service, and increased market share.
  • Operational Efficiency: Streamlining internal processes, investing in research and development, total quality and performance priorities, reducing cost, and improving workplace safety.
  • Learning and Growth: Training leaders and teams to address change and sustain growth, improving employee productivity and retention, and building high-performing teams.

Set specific strategic initiatives.

Strategic initiatives are your company's actions to reach your strategic objectives, such as raising brand awareness, a commitment to product development, purpose-driven employee training, and more.

Develop cascading goals.

Cascading goals are like cascading messages : They filter your strategy throughout the company from top to bottom. The highest-level goals align with mid-level goals to individual goals employees must accomplish to achieve overall outcomes. This helps everyone see how their performance will influence overall success, which improves engagement and productivity.

Create alignment across the entire company.

The success of your strategy is directly impacted by your commitment to inform and engage your entire workforce in strategy implementation. This involves ensuring everyone is connected and working together to achieve your goals. Overall decision-making becomes easier and more aligned.

Consider strategy mapping.

A strategy map is an easy-to-understand diagram, graphic, or illustration that shows the logical, cause-and-effect relationship among various strategic objectives. They are used to quickly communicate how your organization creates value. It will help you communicate the details of your strategic plan better to people by tapping into their visual learning abilities.

Use metrics to measure performance.

When your strategy informs the creation of SMART organizational goals , benchmarks can be established and metrics can be assigned to evaluate performance within time frames. Key performance indicators (KPIs) align performance and productivity with long-term strategic objectives. 

Evaluate the performance of your plan regularly.

You write a strategic plan to improve your company’s overall performance. Evaluating your progress at regular intervals will tell you whether you’re on your way to achieving your objectives or whether your plan needs an adjustment.

Effective strategic planning involves creating a company culture of good communication and accountability. It involves creating and embracing the opportunity for positive change.

Consider these statistics:

  • In many companies, only 42% of leaders and 27% of employees have access to a strategic plan.
  • Even if they have access, 95% of employees do not understand their organization's strategy.
  • 5.2% of a strategy’s potential is lost to poor communication.
  • What leaders care about makes up at least 80% of the content of their communications. But those messages do not tap into around 80% of their employees’ primary motivators for putting extra energy into a change program.
  • 28% of leaders say one of the main reasons strategic initiatives succeed is the ability to attract skilled personnel; 25% say it’s good communication; 25% say it’s the ability to manage organizational change.

Here’s what you can do to embrace a culture of good communication and accountability:

Make your strategic plan visible. Talk about what's working and what isn't. People want to know where and how they fit into the organization and why their contribution is valuable. Even if they don't understand every element of the plan.

Build accountability. If you've agreed on a plan with clear objectives and priorities, your leaders have to take responsibility for what's in it. They must own the objectives and activities in your plan.

Create an environment for change. It’s much more difficult to implement a strategy if you think there will be no support or collaboration from your coworkers. Addressing their concerns will help build a culture that understands how to champion change.

Implementing Your Strategic Plan

  • 98% of leaders think strategy implementation takes more time than strategy formulation.
  • 61% of leaders acknowledge that their organizations often struggle to bridge the gap between strategy formulation and its day-to-day implementation.
  • 45% of leaders say ensuring employees take different actions or demonstrate different behaviors is the toughest implementation challenge; 37% of leaders say it’s gaining support across the whole organization.
  • 39% of leaders say one of the main reasons strategic plans succeed is skilled implementation.

The reality for so many is that it’s harder to implement a strategic plan than to craft one. Great strategic ideas and a clear direction are key to success, no matter what. But so is:

  • Turning strategic ideas into an easy-to-implement framework that enables meaningful managing, tracking, and adapting.  
  • Getting everyone in the organization on the same strategic page, from creation to execution.

When your plan is structured to support implementation, you're more likely to get it done.

What are examples of good strategic planning? There are lots of templates out there to help you create a plan document with pen and paper.

But Ninety has a better way.

The Vision planner is essentially a strategic planning template on Ninety’s cloud-based platform that allows you to:

  • Set goals, establish how you will meet them, and share them with those who need to know.
  • Gain visibility around your company values.
  • Create core values, a niche, and long-term goals that are accessible to everyone in your company.
  • Create a vision of the future that lets you know what needs to happen now.
  • Streamline and organize your processes.
  • Easily update and track changes.
  • Bring alignment to your entire organization.

And you can do all this with only two digitized pages.

In your Vision tool inside Ninety, you can easily access all the things that make strategic plans effective:

  • Executive Summary
  • Elevator Pitch
  • Mission Statement
  • Vision Statement
  • SWOT Analysis
  • Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
  • Industry Analysis
  • Marketing Plan
  • Operations Plan
  • Financial Projections

Vision + Goals is also completely integrated with all other features on Ninety, such as Scorecards, 90-Day Goals, To-Dos, Issues, Roles & Responsibilities Chart, Meetings, One-on-Ones, and more:

  • Create a clear vision for each team.
  • Determine one- and three-year goals.
  • Reference past versions in a Vision archive.
  • Share your Vision with all teams, or keep it private.

Now that you’ve learned how to grow your company using strategic planning, it’s time to put your knowledge into practice:

Build your strategic plan on Ninety now.

Do you want more step-by-step guides on strategy, strategic planning, and creating actionable strategic plans?  Subscribe to our blog!

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Executing strategy in a fast-paced environment is a crucial focus for every business executive. Developing strategies around uncertainty and tough decisions can be a challenging process. So much so, in fact, that research commissioned by Anaplan recently found that only 15 percent of businesses execute on their plans .

Instead, many executives drift away from the strategic planning process and toward more comprehensive planning initiatives around goals, initiatives, and budgets. Because producing better business results starts with a better way of acting on strategy, for enterprises, strategic planning needs to encompass more than just a process in itself; it needs to align people, processes, and technology with a shared goal of strategic data-driven decision-making.

With today’s steady evolution of every business function, business leaders need to push forward with change-adaptable technology. Strategic planning can help.

What is strategic planning?

Strategic planning is the development of a specific, measurable goal or (more commonly) a set of goals that deliver the desired results for your organization. The strategic plan can be used by many different teams across the organization to address the varying cadence of achieving business goals. For corporate finance teams, for example, strategic planning is a critical process for attaining mid- to long-term financial and business objectives.

In addition to developing a roadmap that can better steer business performance, the practice of strategic planning can enable organizations to make better-informed decisions around desired cost discipline and resource allocation.

Developing and implementing a strategic plan must complement the needs of different organizations and industries. Although the concept, process, and deliverables might all look different, the desired outcomes of successful strategic planning are alike. At its core, successful strategic planning includes developing a specific, measurable goal or set of goals that deliver the anticipated results.

What is the strategic planning process?

From conception to execution, the strategic planning process revolves heavily around establishing goals and measuring their respective outcomes. Business leaders must determine where their organization stands within its industry with respect to size, structure, workforce, current profits and losses, and any other major factors that characterize the business.

Existing business plans must be leveraged or a new one produced to clearly define what the organization does. Without specific goals shared across the organization, there are no clear expectations for future improvements. Business leaders determine where the organization should be within a given period of time—whether it’s three months, six months, or a year–and establish a timeline for objectives that include significant milestones directly related to business goals.

Once the goals and outcomes have been identified, business leaders determine which processes are needed and assign each step to the appropriate team. Each team’s respective leadership shares the organization’s new goals, timeframe, process, and next steps with their teams.

It’s necessary to monitor progress to ensure that the business is on track to deliver each goal. Additional sub-goals or checkpoints are set based on the primary goals at specific intervals in the timeline. Occasionally, it’s necessary to rethink the plan and correct the course.

Seven questions to ask before course-correcting a strategic plan

Uncertainty is constant. Political shifts, revised tax policies, and a spike in interest rates, among many other variables, contribute to uncertainty across industries and companies. With increasing market volatility and complexity, executives must find, analyze, and determine whether they need to course-correct within a strategic plan.

When considering pivoting a plan, the following questions can help make a sound decision:

  • What is the expected outcome if the business stays on its current course?
  • What obstacles have come up or could potentially arise?
  • How much could these obstacles delay the achievement of goals?

It can also help to answer questions around possible ways to adjust plans without straying too far from the established course. A small turn doesn’t have to unravel an entire plan.

  • Is the obstacle only affecting one area?
  • How could the obstacle be navigated around without changing other parts of the plan?
  • What happens to the overall timeline if the organization pivots?
  • What happens if the organization doesn’t pivot?

Altering a course of action can seem intimidating at first. Using technology to help determine the projected ramifications of pivoting—or of not responding to new stimuli—can make quick adjustments or large direction changes intuitive and effortless.

Strategy and budgets: Making budgets more useful throughout the year

Budgets are an integral component of strategic planning. Whether for a nonprofit organization, public company, private business, or government entity, financial resources need to be optimally allocated to achieve short- and long-term business goals. Educating and influencing people across the organization is a key element to success, so every team and team member understands how to deliver a healthy return on the resources they control. Enterprise-wide buy-in from salespeople, human resources, supply chain, and operations is necessary or friction can prevent goal achievement.

A culture of communication and shared goals must be consistently reinforced by leadership. People across the enterprise are resources for achieving corporate and departmental goals. Optimization of all resources, including institutional knowledge, advanced technology, and an intelligent plan’s implementation, can help companies achieve goals and increase the value of the company.

Investing in technology requires skilled workers who can leverage the power of these assets. Can your company really afford to fall behind?

When strategic planning meets Connected Planning

Companies that thrive in fast-paced environments are those attuned to the pulse of the market and equipped to respond to changes quickly. Changes in the market, innovation, business dynamics, resources, and commodity costs fluctuate rapidly, and subsequent resource reallocation needs to happen just as quickly.

Consider an emerging market opportunity that didn’t exist six months ago when the strategic plan was put together. For unforeseen opportunities, how can business leaders procure the necessary resources to respond efficiently? Effective companies need to have flexibility to reduce spending from a lower value area and reallocate to the new and higher-value opportunity.

For many organizations, the problem lies in cultural legacy: Many non-financial managers maintain loose alignment between strategic imperatives and performance factors because the organization’s senior executives didn’t clearly explain the business strategy. Across the organization, everybody needs to focus on the same goal at the same time and understand what they can do as individuals to influence that goal. The best technology can make that easy and efficient, which is exactly where Connected Planning comes into play.

Connected Planning connects people, data, and plans across the organization to help leaders make better business decisions and take calculated risks quickly. Connected Planning creates and manages a bi-directional flow of data that provides one true source of information for the entire organization to operate from.

Once a strategic plan has been established and distributed across the organization, teams in every business unit and department need to stay connected to remain on track. Employing a Connected Planning approach, led by a chief planning officer, can help enterprises achieve this level of organizational unity. Each department is connected through a common platform, resulting in a single source of truth that is maintained as it flows up- and down-stream to every department.

Connected Planning further complements the strategic planning process by enabling leaders to track the progress of goals. Specifically, it can help business leaders make quick, informed decisions that may result in significant changes to organizational processes.

Five things to look for in a solution for strategic planning

Organizations have traditionally relied on two options for strategic planning: spreadsheets or packaged legacy applications. Spreadsheets involve a significant amount of time and effort building sophisticated financial logic from scratch for each silo of business data. They are highly susceptible to errors and not conducive to enterprise-wide collaboration.

Packaged, legacy, and on-premises applications can be hindered by inflexible functionality and a tight focus on built-in financial reporting and analytics rather than the modelling of revenue streams.

To evaluate the criteria for a flexible and supportive strategic planning solution, here are five considerations that set next-gen planning platforms apart from legacy software and manual toolsets.

  • Business-owned innovation. Look for solutions that can be self-managed by business users and allow users to build and maintain models themselves. This enables them to manage complex, overlapping relationships between changing business entities and quickly update key variables such as cost of capital, depreciation methods, taxation rates, exchange rates, etc.
  • Data integration. Understand how quickly users can integrate data from other parts of the business and better understand key drivers that underpin the longer-term strategic planning model, such as average selling prices, free cash flow, etc.
  • Scenario analysis capabilities. Evaluate how the planning solution creates and tests new scenarios and various assumptions. This analysis should be quick and easy and measured in minutes rather than hours.
  • Information accessibility. Accessibility to information is key. Consider how to use technology that shares information across a community of decision-makers.
  • Timely cloud implementations. How fast can you get up and running without having to install software? Cloud-based Connected Planning technology makes implementation and adoption throughout the entire enterprise and hundreds of users quick, scalable, and seamless.

Explore the new game plan for strategic planning

The 5 steps of the strategic planning process

An illustration of a digital whiteboard with a bullseye diagram and sticky notes

Starting a project without a strategy is like trying to bake a cake without a recipe — you might have all the ingredients you need, but without a plan for how to combine them, or a vision for what the finished product will look like, you’re likely to end up with a mess. This is especially true when working with a team — it’s crucial to have a shared plan that can serve as a map on the pathway to success.

Creating a strategic plan not only provides a useful document for the future, but also helps you define what you have right now, and think through and outline all of the steps and considerations you’ll need to succeed.

What is strategic planning?

While there is no single approach to creating a strategic plan, most approaches can be boiled down to five overarching steps:

  • Define your vision
  • Assess where you are
  • Determine your priorities and objectives
  • Define responsibilities
  • Measure and evaluate results

Each step requires close collaboration as you build a shared vision, strategy for implementation, and system for understanding performance.

Related: Learn how to hold an effective strategic planning meeting

Why do I need a strategic plan?

Building a strategic plan is the best way to ensure that your whole team is on the same page, from the initial vision and the metrics for success to evaluating outcomes and adjusting (if necessary) for the future. Even if you’re an expert baker, working with a team to bake a cake means having a collaborative approach and clearly defined steps so that the result reflects the strategic goals you laid out at the beginning.

The benefits of strategic planning also permeate into the general efficiency and productivity of your organization as a whole. They include: 

  • Greater attention to potential biases or flaws, improving decision-making 
  • Clear direction and focus, motivating and engaging employees
  • Better resource management, improving project outcomes 
  • Improved employee performance, increasing profitability
  • Enhanced communication and collaboration, fostering team efficiency 

Next, let’s dive into how to build and structure your strategic plan, complete with templates and assets to help you along the way.

Before you begin: Pick a brainstorming method

There are many brainstorming methods you can use to come up with, outline, and rank your priorities. When it comes to strategy planning, it’s important to get everyone’s thoughts and ideas out before committing to any one strategy. With the right facilitation , brainstorming helps make this process fair and transparent for everyone involved.  

First, decide if you want to run a real-time rapid ideation session or a structured brainstorming . In a rapid ideation session, you encourage sharing half-baked or silly ideas, typically within a set time frame. The key is to just get out all your ideas quickly and then edit the best ones. Examples of rapid ideation methods include round robin , brainwriting , mind mapping , and crazy eights . 

In a structured brainstorming session, you allow for more time to prepare and edit your thoughts before getting together to share and discuss those more polished ideas. This might involve brainstorming methods that entail unconventional ways of thinking, such as reverse brainstorming or rolestorming . 

Using a platform like Mural, you can easily capture and organize your team’s ideas through sticky notes, diagrams, text, or even images and videos. These features allow you to build actionable next steps immediately (and in the same place) through color coding and tagging. 

Whichever method you choose, the ideal outcome is that you avoid groupthink by giving everyone a voice and a say. Once you’ve reached a consensus on your top priorities, add specific objectives tied to each of those priorities.

Related: Brainstorming and ideation template

1. Define your vision

Whether it’s for your business as a whole, or a specific initiative, successful strategic planning involves alignment with a vision for success. You can think of it as a project-specific mission statement or a north star to guide employees toward fulfilling organizational goals. 

To create a vision statement that explicitly states the ideal results of your project or company transformation, follow these four key steps: 

  • Engage and involve the entire team . Inclusivity like this helps bring diverse perspectives to the table. 
  • Align the vision with your core values and purpose . This will make it familiar and easy to follow through. 
  • Stay grounded . The vision should be ambitious enough to motivate and inspire yet grounded enough to be achievable and relevant.
  • Think long-term flexibility . Consider future trends and how your vision can be flexible in the face of challenges or opportunities. 

For example, say your vision is to revolutionize customer success by streamlining and optimizing your process for handling support tickets. It’s important to have a strategy map that allows stakeholders (like the support team, marketing team, and engineering team) to know the overall objective and understand the roles they will play in realizing the goals. 

This can be done in real time or asynchronously , whether in person, hybrid, or remote. By leveraging a shared digital space , everyone has a voice in the process and room to add their thoughts, comments, and feedback. 

Related: Vision board template

2. Assess where you are

The next step in creating a strategic plan is to conduct an assessment of where you stand in terms of your own initiatives, as well as the greater marketplace. Start by conducting a resource assessment. Figure out which financial, human, and/or technological resources you have available and if there are any limitations. You can do this using a SWOT analysis.

What is SWOT analysis?

SWOT analysis is an exercise where you define:

  • Strengths: What are your unique strengths for this initiative or this product? In what ways are you a leader?
  • Weaknesses: What weaknesses can you identify in your offering? How does your product compare to others in the marketplace?
  • Opportunities: Are there areas for improvement that'd help differentiate your business?
  • Threats: Beyond weaknesses, are there existing potential threats to your idea that could limit or prevent its success? How can those be anticipated?

For example, say you have an eco-friendly tech company and your vision is to launch a new service in the next year. Here’s what the SWOT analysis might look like: 

  • Strengths : Strong brand reputation, loyal customer base, and a talented team focused on innovation
  • Weaknesses : Limited bandwidth to work on new projects, which might impact the scope of its strategy formulation 
  • Opportunities : How to leverage and experiment with existing customers when goal-setting
  • Threats : Factors in the external environment out of its control, like the state of the economy and supply chain shortages

This SWOT analysis will guide the company in setting strategic objectives and formulating a robust plan to navigate the challenges it might face. 

Related: SWOT analysis template

3. Determine your priorities and objectives

Once you've identified your organization’s mission and current standing, start a preliminary plan document that outlines your priorities and their corresponding objectives. Priorities and objectives should be set based on what is achievable with your available resources. The SMART framework is a great way to ensure you set effective goals . It looks like this:  

  • Specific: Set clear objectives, leaving no room for ambiguity about the desired outcomes.
  • Measurable : Choose quantifiable criteria to make it easier to track progress.
  • Achievable : Ensure it is realistic and attainable within the constraints of your resources and environment.
  • Relevant : Develop objectives that are relevant to the direction your organization seeks to move.
  • Time-bound : Set a clear timeline for achieving each objective to maintain a sense of urgency and focus.

For instance, going back to the eco-friendly tech company, the SMART goals might be: 

  • Specific : Target residential customers and small businesses to increase the sales of its solar-powered device line by 25%. 
  • Measurable : Track monthly sales and monitor customer feedback and reviews. 
  • Achievable : Allocate more resources to the marketing, sales, and customer service departments. 
  • Relevant : Supports the company's growth goals in a growing market of eco-conscious consumers. 
  • Time-bound : Conduct quarterly reviews and achieve this 25% increase in sales over the next 12 months.

With strategic objectives like this, you’ll be ready to put the work into action. 

Related: Project kickoff template

4. Define tactics and responsibilities

In this stage, individuals or units within your team can get granular about how to achieve your goals and who'll be accountable for each step. For example, the senior leadership team might be in charge of assigning specific tasks to their team members, while human resources works on recruiting new talent. 

It’s important to note that everyone’s responsibilities may shift over time as you launch and gather initial data about your project. For this reason, it’s key to define responsibilities with clear short-term metrics for success. This way, you can make sure that your plan is adaptable to changing circumstances. 

One of the more common ways to define tactics and metrics is to use the OKR (Objectives and Key Results) method. By outlining your OKRs, you’ll know exactly what key performance indicators (KPIs) to track and have a framework for analyzing the results once you begin to accumulate relevant data. 

For instance, if our eco-friendly tech company has a goal of increasing sales, one objective might be to expand market reach for its solar-powered products. The sales team lead would be in charge of developing an outreach strategy. The key result would be to successfully launch its products in two new regions by Q2. The KPI would be a 60% conversation rate in those targeted markets.  

Related: OKR planning template  

5. Manage, measure, and evaluate

Once your plan is set into motion, it’s important to actively manage (and measure) progress. Before launching your plan, settle on a management process that allows you to measure success or failure. In this way, everyone is aligned on progress and can come together to evaluate your strategy execution at regular intervals.

Determine the milestones at which you’ll come together and go over results — this can take place weekly, monthly, or quarterly, depending on the nature of the project.

One of the best ways to evaluate progress is through agile retrospectives (or retros) , which can be done in real time or asynchronously. During this process, gather and organize feedback about the key elements that played a role in your strategy. 

Related: Retrospective radar template

Retrospectives are typically divided into three parts:

  • What went well.
  • What didn’t go well.
  • New opportunities for improvement.

This structure is also sometimes called the “ rose, thorn, bud ” framework. By using this approach, team members can collectively brainstorm and categorize their feedback, making the next steps clear and actionable. Creating an action plan during a post-mortem meeting is a crucial step in ensuring that lessons learned from past projects or events are effectively translated into tangible improvements. 

Another method for reviewing progress is the quarterly business review (QBR). Like the agile retrospective, it allows you to collect feedback and adjust accordingly. In the case of QBRs, however, we recommend dividing your feedback into four categories:

  • Start (what new items should be launched?).
  • Stop (what items need to be paused?).
  • Continue (what is going well?).
  • Change (what could be modified to perform better?).

Strategic planners know that planning activities continue even after a project is complete. There’s always room for improvement and an action plan waiting to be implemented. Using the above approaches, your team can make room for new ideas within the existing strategic framework in order to track better to your long-term goals.

Related: Quarterly business review template

Conclusions

The beauty of the strategic plan is that it can be applied from the campaign level all the way up to organizational vision. Using the strategic planning framework, you build buy-in , trust, and transparency by collaboratively creating a vision for success, and mapping out the steps together on the road to your goals.

Also, in so doing, you build in an ability to adapt effectively on the fly in response to data through measurement and evaluation, making your plan both flexible and resilient.

Related: 5 Tips for Holding Effective Post-mortems

Why Mural for strategic planning

Mural unlocks collaborative strategic planning through a shared digital space with an intuitive interface, a library of pre-fab templates, and methodologies based on design thinking principles.

Outline goals, identify key metrics, and track progress with a platform built for any enterprise.

Learn more about strategic planning with Mural.

About the authors

Bryan Kitch

Bryan Kitch

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Examples Of Strategic Planning

Imagine you have five different things on your to-do list today. You’re most likely to start with either a low-hanging…

Successful Strategic Planning Examples

Imagine you have five different things on your to-do list today. You’re most likely to start with either a low-hanging fruit (can be easily done) or something that needs immediate attention (on a priority basis). Planning our schedules in advance not only helps us become more efficient but also saves time significantly.

If you look around you, you’ll find examples of strategic planning everywhere—whether it’s your personal life or a professional setting. Read on to learn more about the meaning and examples of strategic planning in businesses.

Meaning And Importance Of Strategic Planning

Common strategic management process examples, find the right solutions.

Strategic planning is the process of creating specific business strategies that help to establish a direction for your organization. It helps set priorities, utilizes resources, boosts operations and ensures that all employees and stakeholders are working toward common objectives or targets. It not only reinstates where a business is headed but also how it’ll determine its success. Creating a strategic plan involves the implementation and evaluation of the results with regard to the organization’s overall long-term goals and expectations.

Successful strategic planning examples indicate the extent to which the process involves considerable thought, planning and organization on part of a business’s upper management. While creating the plan, executives may consider multiple alternatives but settle on a strategy that’s likely to create maximum positive outcomes. In short, this disciplined effort encourages fundamental decision-making while guiding an organization to focus on the future.

Here is a summarized list explaining the importance of strategic planning in today’s world:

  • It helps you explore verticals you may have previously overlooked. You’re able to tap into opportunities and identify strengths and weaknesses by studying the internal structure of your organization.
  • To do well in comparison to other players in the market and avoid failure when faced with setbacks, you need a plan that’s viable and long-lasting. By creating a strategic plan, you’re ready to face any unwanted situation and can prepare for uncertainties.
  • It encourages managers and employees to be on the same page regarding policies and changes. Through open dialogue and participation, everyone shows their commitment toward achieving overall business objectives.

An increasing number of organizations are using strategic planning to create as well as implement effective business decisions. Here is a list of the strategic planning process with examples across different industries that’ll help you understand its importance and effectiveness:

1. Corporate

One of the most commonly available examples of strategic planning , a corporate strategy is designed to increase revenue and brand reputation. From new products and quality enhancements to aggressive marketing and sales techniques, there are many ways to tap into growth opportunities.

 2. Marketing

Marketing shouldn’t be confused with corporate strategic planning. A marketing strategy plan can be developed at an organizational level, business unit level and product level. The ultimate goal of marketing strategies is to improve sales and boost revenue. The process covers activities such as product development, pricing distribution, promotion, customer experience, operation and sales.

3. Education

One of the most important strategic management process examples , the education sector engages in strategic planning immensely. Whether it’s an academic department or a school board or even a university, a strategic plan is a must. It accounts for various factors such as student experience, quality of education, employee satisfaction, school culture, affordability, among others. A macro-level strategy helps focus on students, faculty, staff and the community as a whole.

It’s evident from these examples of strategic planning that it’s a complex and thoughtful process. When done well, a strategic plan becomes a streamlined process that guides management with their decision-making. No matter which industry you belong to, if you’re a manager or team leader, good strategic planning skills are a necessity.

At the heart of successful strategic planning and implementation lies problem-solving and decision-making. If you want to think critically and find the most effective solutions, try Harappa’s Creating Solutions course. You’ll learn to keep an open mind when approaching situations and look at them from various perspectives. Powerful tools and frameworks will help you avoid common analytical errors while piecing solutions together. Start your free trial and stand out as an effective problem-solver!

Explore Harappa Diaries to learn more about topics such as Importance Of Strategic Management , Models Of Strategic Management , Examples of Business-Level Strategies and Corporate-Level Strategy to classify problems and solve them efficiently.

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Strategic Management Insight

Strategic Management & Strategic Planning Process

strategic planning process examples

Strategic management process is a method by which managers conceive of and implement a strategy that can lead to a sustainable competitive advantage. [1 ]

Strategic planning process is a systematic or emerged way of performing strategic planning in the organization through initial assessment, thorough analysis, strategy formulation, its implementation and evaluation.

What is strategic planning process?

The process of strategic management lists what steps the managers should take to create a complete strategy and how to implement that strategy successfully in the company. It might comprise from 7 to nearly 30 steps [4] and tends to be more formal in well-established organizations.

The ways that strategies are created and realized differ. Thus, there are many different models of the process. The models vary between companies depending upon:

  • Organization’s culture.
  • Leadership style.
  • The experience the firm has in creating successful strategies.

All the examples of the process in this article represent top-down approach and belong to the ‘design school’.

Components of strategic planning process

There are many components of the process which are spread throughout strategic planning stages. Most often, the strategic planning process has 4 common phases: strategic analysis, strategy formulation, implementation and monitoring (David [5] , Johnson, Scholes & Whittington [6] , Rothaermel [1] , Thompson and Martin [2] ). For clearer understanding, this article represents 5 stages of strategic planning process:

Initial Assessment

Situation analysis.

  • Strategy Formulation
  • Strategy Implementation

Strategy Monitoring

Components: Vision statement & Mission statement Tools used: Creating a Vision and Mission statements.

The starting point of the process is initial assessment of the firm. At this phase managers must clearly identify the company’s vision and mission statements.

Business’ vision answers the question: What does an organization want to become? Without visualizing the company’s future, managers wouldn’t know where they want to go and what they have to achieve. Vision is the ultimate goal for the firm and the direction for its employees.

In addition, mission describes company’s business. It informs organization’s stakeholders about the products, customers, markets, values, concern for public image and employees of the organization (David, p. 93) [5] . Thorough mission statement acts as guidance for managers in making appropriate (Rothaermel, p. 34) [1] daily decisions.

Components: Internal environment analysis, External environment analysis and Competitor analysis Tools used: PEST , SWOT , Core Competencies, Critical Success Factors, Unique Selling Proposition, Porter’s 5 Forces , Competitor Profile Matrix , External Factor Evaluation Matrix , Internal Factor Evaluation Matrix, Benchmarking , Financial Ratios, Scenarios Forecasting, Market Segmentation, Value Chain Analysis , VRIO Framework

When the company identifies its vision and mission it must assess its current situation in the market. This includes evaluating an organization’s external and internal environments and analyzing its competitors.

During an external environment analysis managers look into the key external forces: macro & micro environments and competition. PEST or PESTEL frameworks represent all the macro environment factors that influence the organization in the global environment. Micro environment affects the company in its industry. It is analyzed using Porter’s 5 Forces Framework.

Competition is another uncontrollable external force that influences the company. A good example of this was when Apple released its IPod and shook the mp3 players industry, including its leading performer Sony. Firms assess their competitors using competitors profile matrix and benchmarking to evaluate their strengths, weaknesses and level of performance.

Internal analysis includes the assessment of the company’s resources, core competencies and activities. An organization holds both tangible resources: capital, land, equipment, and intangible resources: culture, brand equity, knowledge, patents, copyrights and trademarks (Rothaermel, p. 90) [1] . A firm’s core competencies may be superior skills in customer relationship or efficient supply chain management. When analyzing the company’s activities managers look into the value chain and the whole production process.

As a result, situation analysis identifies strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for the organization and reveals a clear picture of company’s situation in the market.

Components: Objectives, Business level, Corporate level and Global Strategy Selection Tools used: Scenario Planning, SPACE Matrix, Boston Consulting Group Matrix , GE-McKinsey Matrix, Porter’s Generic Strategies, Bowman’s Strategy Clock, Porter’s Diamond, Game Theory, QSP Matrix.

Successful situation analysis is followed by creation of long-term objectives. Long-term objectives indicate goals that could improve the company’s competitive position in the long run. They act as directions for specific strategy selection. In an organization, strategies are chosen at 3 different levels:

  • Business level strategy. This type of strategy is used when strategic business units (SBU), divisions or small and medium enterprises select strategies for only one product that is sold in only one market. The example of business level strategy is well illustrated by Royal Enfield firms. They sell their Bullet motorcycle (one product) in United Kingdom and India (different markets) but focus on different market segments and sell at very different prices (different strategies). Firms may select between Porter’s 3 generic strategies: cost leadership, differentiation and focus strategies. Alternatively strategies from Bowman’s strategy clock may be chosen (Johnson, Scholes, & Whittington, p. 224 [6] ).
  • Corporate level strategy. At this level, executives at top parent companies choose which products to sell, which market to enter and whether to acquire a competitor or merge with it. They select between integration, intensive, diversification and defensive strategies.
  • Global/International strategy. The main questions to answer: Which new markets to develop and how to enter them? How far to diversify? (Thompson and Martin, p. 557 [2] , Johnson, Scholes, & Whittington, p. 294 [6] )

Managers may choose between many strategic alternatives. That depends on a company’s objectives, results of situation analysis and the level for which the strategy is selected.

Components: Annual Objectives, Policies, Resource Allocation, Change Management, Organizational chart, Linking Performance and Reward Tools used: Policies, Motivation, Resistance management, Leadership, Stakeholder Impact Analysis, Changing organizational structure, Performance management

Even the best strategic plans must be implemented and only well executed strategies create competitive advantage for a company.

At this stage managerial skills are more important than using analysis. Communication in strategy implementation is essential as new strategies must get support all over organization for effective implementation. The example of the strategy implementation that is used here is taken from David’s book, chapter 7 on implementation [5] . It consists of the following 6 steps:

  • Setting annual objectives;
  • Revising policies to meet the objectives;
  • Allocating resources to strategically important areas;
  • Changing organizational structure to meet new strategy;
  • Managing resistance to change;
  • Introducing new reward system for performance results if needed.

The first point in strategy implementation is setting annual objectives for the company’s functional areas. These smaller objectives are specifically designed to achieve financial, marketing, operations, human resources and other functional goals. To meet these goals managers revise existing policies and introduce new ones which act as the directions for successful objectives implementation.

The other very important part of strategy implementation is changing an organizational chart. For example, a product diversification strategy may require new SBU to be incorporated into the existing organizational chart. Or market development strategy may require an additional division to be added to the company. Every new strategy changes the organizational structure and requires reallocation of resources. It also redistributes responsibilities and powers between managers. Managers may be moved from one functional area to another or asked to manage a new team. This creates resistance to change, which has to be managed in an appropriate way or it could ruin excellent strategy implementation.

Components: Internal and External Factors Review, Measuring Company’s Performance Tools used: Strategy Evaluation Framework, Balanced Scorecard, Benchmarking

Implementation must be monitored to be successful. Due to constantly changing external and internal conditions managers must continuously review both environments as new strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats may arise. If new circumstances affect the company, managers must take corrective actions as soon as possible.

Usually, tactics rather than strategies are changed to meet the new conditions, unless firms are faced with such severe external changes as the 2007 credit crunch.

Measuring performance is another important activity in strategy monitoring. Performance has to be measurable and comparable. Managers have to compare their actual results with estimated results and see if they are successful in achieving their objectives. If objectives are not met managers should:

  • Change the reward system.
  • Introduce new or revise existing policies.

The key element in strategy monitoring is to get the relevant and timely information on changing environment and the company’s performance and if necessary take corrective actions.

Different models of the process

There is no universal model of the strategic management process. The one, which was described in this article, is just one more version of so many models that are established by other authors. In this section we will illustrate and comment on 3 more well-known frameworks presented by recognized scholars in the strategic management field. More about these models can be found in the authors’ books.

Source: David (p. 46)

  • Strategy Evaluation
  • Develop vision and mission
  • External environment analysis
  • Internal environment analysis
  • Establish long-term objectives
  • Generate, evaluate and choose strategies
  • Implement strategies
  • Measure and evaluate performance
  • Indicates all the major steps that have to be met during the process.
  • Illustrates that the process is a continuous activity.
  • Arrows show the two way process. This means that companies may sometimes go a step or two back in the process rather than having to complete the process and start it all over from the beginning. For example , if in the implementation stage the company finds out that the strategy it chose is not viable, it can simply go back to the strategy selection point instead of continuing to the monitoring stage and starting the process from the beginning.
  • Represents only strategy formulation stage and does separate situation analysis from strategy selection stages.
  • Confuses strategy evaluation with strategy monitoring stage.

Source: Rothaermel (p. 20)

  • Formulation
  • Implementation
  • Initial analysis
  • External and internal analysis
  • Business or corporate strategy formulation
  • Shows that the process is a continuous activity.
  • Separates initial analysis (in this articles it’s called initial assessment) from internal/external analysis.
  • Emphasizes the main focus of strategic management: “Gain and sustain competitive advantage”.
  • Does not include strategy monitoring stage.
  • Arrows indicate only one way process. For example , after the strategy formulation the process continues to the implementation stage while this is not always the truth. Companies may go back and reassess their environments if some conditions had changed.

Source: Thompson and Martin (p.36)

  • Where are we?
  • Where are we going?
  • How are we getting there?
  • How are we doing?
  • Situation appraisal: review of corporate objectives
  • Situation assessment
  • Clarification of objectives
  • Corporate and competitive strategies
  • Strategic decisions
  • Monitor progress
  • The model is supplemented by 4 fundamental strategic management questions.
  • Arrows indicate only one way process.

Limitations

It is rare that the company will be able to follow the process from the first to the last step. Producing a quality strategic plan requires time , during which many external and even internal conditions may change. This results in the flawed strategic plan which has to be revised, hence requiring even more time to finish.

On the other hand, when implementing the strategic plan, the actual results do not meet the requirements of the strategic plan so the plan has to be altered or better methods for the implementation have to be discovered. This means that some parts of strategic management process have to be done simultaneously, which makes the whole process more complex .

  • Rothaermel, F. T. (2012). Strategic Management: Concepts and Cases. McGraw-Hill/Irwin, p. 20, 32-45, 90
  • Thompson, J. and Martin, F. (2010). Strategic Management: Awareness & Change. 6th ed. Cengage Learning EMEA, p. 34, 557, 790
  • Clark, D. N. (1997). Strategic management tool usage: a comparative study. Strategic Change Vol. 6, pp. 417-427
  • David, F.R. (2009). Strategic Management: Concepts and Cases. 12th ed. FT Prentice Hall, p. 36-37, 45-47, 93
  • Johnson, G, Scholes, K. Whittington, R. (2008). Exploring Corporate Strategy. 8th ed. FT Prentice Hall, p. 11-13, 224, 294
  • Virtual Strategist (2012). Overview of the Strategic Planning Process (VIDEO). Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sU3FLxnDv_A
  • Strategic Management & Strategic Planning
  • Supplier Relationship Management (SRM)

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Strategic Plan Examples: Case Studies and Free Strategic Planning Template

By Anthony Taylor - May 29, 2023

strategic planning process examples

As you prepare for your strategic planning process, it's important to explore relevant strategic plan examples for inspiration.

In today's competitive business landscape, a well-defined strategic plan holds immense significance. Whether you're a private company, municipal government, or nonprofit entity, strategic planning is essential for achieving goals and gaining a competitive edge. By understanding the strategic planning process, you can gain valuable insights to develop an effective growth roadmap for your organization.

In this blog, we will delve into real-life examples of strategic plans that have proven successful. These examples encompass a wide range of organizations, from Credit Unions that have implemented SME Strategy's Aligned Strategy process to the Largest Bank in Israel. By examining these cases, we can gain a deeper understanding of strategic planning and extract relevant insights that can be applied to your organization.

  • Strategic Plan Example (Global Financial Services Firm)
  • Strategic Plan Example (Joint Strategic Plan)
  • Strategic Plan Example: (Government Agency)
  • Strategic Plan Example (Multinational Corporation)
  • Strategic Plan Example: (Public Company)
  • Strategic Plan Example (Non Profit)
  • Strategic Plan Example: (Small Nonprofit)
  • Strategic Plan example: (Municipal Government)
  • Strategic Plan Example: (Environmental Start-up)  

When analyzing strategic plan examples, it is crucial to recognize that a strategic plan goes beyond being a mere document. It should encapsulate your organization's mission and vision comprehensively while also being actionable. Your strategic plan needs to be tailored to your organization's specific circumstances, including factors such as size, industry, budget, and personnel. Simply replicating someone else's plan will not suffice.

Have you ever invested significant time and resources into creating a plan, only to witness its failure during execution? We believe that a successful strategic plan extends beyond being a static document. It necessitates meticulous follow-through, execution, documentation, and continuous learning. It serves as the foundation upon which your future plans are built.

It is important to note that a company's success is not solely determined by the plan itself, but rather by how effectively it is executed. Our intention is to highlight the diverse roles that a company's mission, vision, and values play across different organizations, whether they are large corporations or smaller nonprofits.

Strategic plans can vary in terms of their review cycles, which can range from annual evaluations to multi-year periods. There is no one-size-fits-all example of a strategic plan, as each organization possesses unique needs and circumstances that must be taken into account.

Strategic planning is an essential process for organizations of all sizes and types. It assists in setting a clear direction, defining goals, and effectively allocating resources. To gain an understanding of how strategic plans are crafted, we will explore a range of examples, including those from private companies, nonprofit organizations, and government entities.

Throughout this exploration, we will highlight various frameworks and systems employed by profit-driven and nonprofit organizations alike, providing valuable insights to help you determine the most suitable approach for your own organization.

Watch: Examples of Strategic Plans from Real-Life Organizations 

Strategic Plan Example  - The Bank Hapoalim Vision:  To be a leading global financial services firm, with its core in Israel, focused on its clients and working to enhance their financial freedom.

Bank Hapoalim, one of Israel's largest banks with 8,383 branches across 5 different countries as of 2022, has recently provided insights into its latest strategic plan. The plan highlights four distinct strategic priorities:

  • Continued leadership in corporate banking and capital markets
  • Adaptation of the retail banking operating model
  • Resource optimization and greater productivity
  • Differentiating and influential innovation

Check out their strategic plan here: Strategic Plan (2022-2026)

We talked to Tagil Green, the Chief Strategy Officer at Bank Hapoalim, where we delved into various aspects of their strategic planning process. We discussed the bank's strategic planning timeline, the collaborative work they engaged in with McKinsey, and the crucial steps taken to secure buy-in and ensure successful implementation of the strategy throughout the organization. In our conversation, Tagil Green emphasized the understanding that there is no universal template for strategic plans. While many companies typically allocate one, two, or three days for strategic planning meetings during an offsite, Bank Hapoalim recognized the significance of their size and complexity. As a result, their strategic plan took a comprehensive year-long effort to develop. How did a Large Global Organization like Bank Hapoalim decide on what strategic planning timeline to follow?

"How long do you want to plan? Some said, let's think a decade ahead. Some said it's irrelevant. Let's talk about two years ahead. And we kind of negotiated into the like, five years ahead for five years and said, Okay, that's good enough, because some of the complexity and the range depends on the field that you work for. So for banking in Israel, four or five years ahead, is good enough. "  Tagil Green, Chief Strategy Officer, Bank Hapoalim 

Another important aspect you need to consider when doing strategic planning is stakeholder engagement, We asked Tagil her thoughts and how they conducted stakeholder engagement with a large employee base.

Listen to the Full Conversation with Tagil:

Strategic Planning and Execution: Insights from the Chief Strategy Officer of Israel's Leading Bank

Strategic Plan Example: Region 16 and DEED (Joint Strategic Plan)

Mission Statement: We engage state, regional, tribal, school, and community partners to improve the quality and equity of education for each student by providing evidence-based services and supports.

In this strategic plan example, we'll explore how Region 16 and DEED, two government-operated Educational Centers with hundreds of employees, aligned their strategic plans using SME Strategy's approach . Despite facing the challenges brought on by the pandemic, these organizations sought to find common ground and ensure alignment on their mission, vision, and values, regardless of their circumstances.

Both teams adopted the Aligned Strategy method, which involved a three day onsite strategic planning session facilitated by a strategic planning facilitator . Together, they developed a comprehensive 29-page strategic plan outlining three distinct strategic priorities, each with its own objectives and strategic goals. Through critical conversations, they crafted a clear three year vision, defined their core customer group as part of their mission, refined their organizational values and behaviors, and prioritized their areas of focus.

After their offsite facilitation, they aligned around three key areas of focus:

  • Effective Communication, both internally and externally.
  • Streamlining Processes to enhance efficiency.
  • Developing Effective Relationships and Partnerships for mutual success.

By accomplishing their goals within these strategic priorities, the teams from Region 16 and DEED aim to make progress towards their envisioned future.

To read the full review of the aligned strategy process click here

Download Now Starting your strategic planning process soon? Get our free Strategic Planning Template

Strategic Plan Example: (Government Agency) - The City of Duluth Workforce Development Board

What they do:

The Duluth Workforce Development Board identifies and aligns workforce development strategies to meet the needs of Duluth area employers and job seekers through comprehensive and coordinated systems.

An engaged and diverse workforce, where all individuals, regardless of background, have or are on a path to meaningful employment and a family sustaining wage, and all employers are able to fill jobs in demand.

The City of Duluth provides an insightful example of a strategic plan focused on regional coordination to address workforce needs in various industry sectors and occupations. With multiple stakeholders involved, engaging and aligning them becomes crucial. This comprehensive plan, spanning 82 pages, tackles strategic priorities and initiatives at both the state and local levels.

What sets this plan apart is its thorough outline of the implementation process. It covers everything from high-level strategies to specific meetings between different boards and organizations. Emphasizing communication, coordination, and connectivity, the plan ensures the complete execution of its objectives. It promotes regular monthly partner meetings, committee gatherings, and collaboration among diverse groups. The plan also emphasizes the importance of proper documentation and accountability throughout the entire process.

By providing a clear roadmap, the City of Duluth's strategic plan effectively addresses workforce needs while fostering effective stakeholder engagement . It serves as a valuable example of how a comprehensive plan can guide actions, facilitate communication, and ensure accountability for successful implementation.

Read this strategic plan example here: Strategic Plan (2021-2024)

Strategic Plan Example: McDonald's (Multinational Corporation)

McDonald's provides a great strategic plan example specifically designed for private companies. Their "Velocity Growth Plan" covers a span of three years from 2017 to 2020, offering a high-level strategic direction. While the plan doesn't delve into specific implementation details, it focuses on delivering an overview that appeals to investors and aligns the staff. The plan underscores McDonald's commitment to long-term growth and addressing important environmental and societal challenges. It also highlights the CEO's leadership in revitalizing the company and the active oversight provided by the Board of Directors.

The Board of Directors plays a crucial role in actively overseeing McDonald's strategy. They engage in discussions about the Velocity Growth Plan during board meetings, hold annual strategy sessions, and maintain continuous monitoring of the company's operations in response to the ever-changing business landscape.

The McDonald's strategic plan revolved around three core pillars:

  • Retention: Strengthening and expanding areas of strength, such as breakfast and family occasions.
  • Regain: Focusing on food quality, convenience, and value to win back lost customers.
  • Convert: Emphasizing coffee and other snack offerings to attract casual customers.

These pillars guide McDonald's through three initiatives, driving growth and maximizing benefits for customers in the shortest time possible.

Read the strategic plan example of Mcdonlald's Velocity growth plan (2017-2020)

Strategic Plan Example: Nike (Public Company)

Nike's mission statement is “ to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world .”  

Nike, as a publicly traded company, has developed a robust global growth strategy outlined in its strategic plan. Spanning a five-year period from 2021 to 2025, this plan encompasses 29 strategic targets that reflect Nike's strong commitment to People, Planet, and Pay. Each priority is meticulously defined, accompanied by tangible actions and measurable metrics. This meticulous approach ensures transparency and alignment across the organization.

The strategic plan of Nike establishes clear objectives, including the promotion of pay equity, a focus on education and professional development, and the fostering of business diversity and inclusion. By prioritizing these areas, Nike aims to provide guidance and support to its diverse workforce, fostering an environment that values and empowers its employees.

Read Nike's strategic plan here

Related Content: Strategic Planning Process (What is it?)

The Cost of Developing a Strategic Plan (3 Tiers)

Strategic Plan Example (Non Profit) - Alternatives Federal Credit Union

Mission: To help build and protect wealth for people with diverse identities who have been historically marginalized by the financial industry, especially those with low wealth or identifying as Black, Indigenous, or people of color.

AFCU partnered with SME Strategy in 2021 to develop a three year strategic plan. As a non-profit organization, AFCU recognized the importance of strategic planning to align its team and operational components. The focus was on key elements such as Vision, Mission, Values, Priorities, Goals, and Actions, as well as effective communication, clear responsibilities, and progress tracking.

In line with the Aligned Strategy approach, AFCU developed three strategic priorities to unite its team and drive progress towards their vision for 2024. Alongside strategic planning, AFCU has implemented a comprehensive strategy implementation plan to ensure the effective execution of their strategies.

Here's an overview of AFCU's 2024 Team Vision and strategic priorities: Aligned Team Vision 2024:

To fulfill our mission, enhance efficiency, and establish sustainable community development approaches, our efforts will revolve around the following priorities: Strategic Priorities:

Improving internal communication: Enhancing communication channels and practices within AFCU to foster collaboration and information sharing among team members.

Improving organizational performance: Implementing strategies to enhance AFCU's overall performance, including processes, systems, and resource utilization.

Creating standard operating procedures: Developing standardized procedures and protocols to streamline operations, increase efficiency, and ensure consistency across AFCU's activities.

By focusing on these strategic priorities, AFCU aims to strengthen its capacity to effectively achieve its mission and bring about lasting change in its community. Watch the AFCU case study below:

Watch the Full Strategic Plan Example Case Study with the VP and Chief Strategy Officer of AFCU

Strategic Plan Example: (Small Nonprofit) - The Hunger Project 

Mission: To end hunger and poverty by pioneering sustainable, grassroots, women-centered strategies and advocating for their widespread adoption in countries throughout the world.

The Hunger Project, a small nonprofit organization based in the Netherlands, offers a prime example of a concise and effective three-year strategic plan. This plan encompasses the organization's vision, mission, theory of change, and strategic priorities. Emphasizing simplicity and clarity, The Hunger Project's plan outlines crucial actions and measurements required to achieve its goals. Spanning 16 pages, this comprehensive document enables stakeholders to grasp the organization's direction and intended impact. It centers around three overarching strategic goals, each accompanied by its own set of objectives and indicators: deepening impact, mainstreaming impact, and scaling up operations.

Read their strategic plan here  

Strategic Plan example: (Municipal Government)- New York City Economic Development Plan 

The New York City Economic Development Plan is a comprehensive 5-year strategic plan tailored for a municipal government. Spanning 68 pages, this plan underwent an extensive planning process with input from multiple stakeholders. 

This plan focuses on the unique challenges and opportunities present in the region. Through a SWOT analysis, this plan highlights the organization's problems, the city's strengths, and the opportunities and threats it has identified. These include New York's diverse population, significant wealth disparities, and high demand for public infrastructure and services.

The strategic plan was designed to provide a holistic overview that encompasses the interests of a diverse and large group of business, labor, and community leaders. It aimed to identify the shared values that united its five boroughs and define how local objectives align with the interests of greater New York State. The result was a unified vision for the future of New York City, accompanied by a clear set of actions required to achieve shared goals.

Because of its diverse stakeholder list including; council members, local government officials, and elected representatives, with significant input from the public, their strategic plan took 4 months to develop. 

Read it's 5 year strategic plan example here

Strategic Plan Example: Silicon Valley Clean Energy

Silicon Valley Clean Energy provides a strategic plan that prioritizes visual appeal and simplicity. Despite being in its second year of operation, this strategic plan example effectively conveys the organization's mission and values to its Board of Directors. The company also conducts thorough analyses of the electric utility industry and anticipates major challenges in the coming years. Additionally, it highlights various social initiatives aimed at promoting community, environmental, and economic benefits that align with customer expectations.

"This plan recognizes the goals we intend to accomplish and highlights strategies and tactics we will employ to achieve these goals. The purpose of this plan is to ensure transparency in our operations and to provide a clear direction to staff about which strategies and tactics we will employ to achieve our goals. It is a living document that can guide our work with clarity and yet has the flexibility to respond to changing environments as we embark on this journey." Girish Balachandran CEO, Silicon Valley Clean Energy

This strategic plan example offers flexibility in terms of timeline. It lays out strategic initiatives for both a three-year and five-year period, extending all the way to 2030. The plan places emphasis on specific steps and targets to be accomplished between 2021 and 2025, followed by goals for the subsequent period of 2025 to 2030. While this plan doesn't go into exhaustive detail about implementation steps, meeting schedules, or monitoring mechanisms, it effectively communicates the organization's priorities and desired long term outcomes. Read its strategic plan example here

By studying these strategic plan examples, you can create a strategic plan that aligns with your organization's goals, communicates effectively, and guides decision-making and resource allocation. Strategic planning approaches differ among various types of organizations.

Private Companies: Private companies like McDonald's and Nike approach strategic planning differently from public companies due to competitive market dynamics. McDonald's provides a high-level overview of its strategic plan in its investor overview.

Nonprofit Organizations: Nonprofit organizations, like The Hunger Project, develop strategic plans tailored to their unique missions and stakeholders. The Hunger Project's plan presents a simple yet effective structure with a clear vision, mission, theory of change, strategic priorities, and action items with measurable outcomes.

Government Entities: Government entities, such as the New York City Development Board, often produce longer, comprehensive strategic plans to guide regional or state development. These plans include implementation plans, stakeholder engagement, performance measures, and priority projects.

When creating a strategic plan for your organization, consider the following key points:

Strategic Priorities: Define clear strategic priorities that are easy to communicate and understand.

Stakeholder Engagement: Ensure your plan addresses the needs and interests of your stakeholders.

Measurements: Include relevant measurements and KPIs, primarily for internal use, to track, monitor and report your progress effectively.

Conciseness vs. Thoroughness: Adapt the level of detail in your plan based on the size of your organization and the number of stakeholders involved.

By learning from these examples, you can see that developing a strategic plan should be a process that fits your organization, effectively communicates your goals, and provides guidance for decision-making and resource allocation. Remember that strategic planning is an ongoing process that requires regular review and adjustment to stay relevant and effective.

Need assistance in maximizing the impact of your strategic planning? Learn how our facilitators can lead you through a proven process, ensuring effectiveness, maintaining focus, and fostering team alignment.

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IMAGES

  1. The Strategic Planning Process in 4 Steps

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  2. Organizational Strategic Plan- Elements and Examples

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  3. Tips For Creating A Business With Strategic Planning Process

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  4. Strategic Planning Process in 5 Simple Steps

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  5. What Is Strategic Planning And How To Do It Right In 5 Key Steps

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  6. The 4 Steps of the Strategic Planning Process

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  1. Introduction to Strategic Planning

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COMMENTS

  1. PDF How to write a strategic plan

    Strategy Development process, not simply a product Dynamic, not static Engages board, staff, funders, clients, community Helps organization align mission, programs, capacity Key Components Executive Summary Mission and Vision Environmental Analysis / SWOT

  2. What is strategic planning? A 5-step guide

    A 5-step gu ... What is strategic planning? A 5-step guide Julia Martins January 23rd, 2024 11 min read Jump to section Summary Strategic planning is a process through which business leaders map out their vision for their organization's growth and how they're going to get there.

  3. A Really Helpful Strategic Planning Example

    The best examples of good strategic plans all set clear priorities for an organization and focus employees and resources on established goals. While a strategic plan does share common elements with a business plan, or even execution plan, it is very distinct from both of those things.

  4. The Strategic Planning Process in 4 Steps

    Step 1: Determine Organizational Readiness Set up your plan for success - questions to ask: Are the conditions and criteria for successful planning in place at the current time? Can certain pitfalls be avoided? Is this the appropriate time for your organization to initiate a planning process? Yes or no? If no, where do you go from here?

  5. What is Strategic Planning? Definition, Importance, Model, Process and

    For example, one of the key outcomes of a strategic plan is to set the revenue growth percentage to be achieved each year for, say, 3 years. This in turn will require an evaluation of the balance sheet, including any debt payments, dividend payout, shareholder expectations, etc.

  6. 6 Steps to Make Your Strategic Plan Really Strategic

    Alicia Llop/Getty Images Summary. Many strategic plans aren't strategic, or even plans. To fix that, try a six step process: first, identify key stakeholders. Second, identify a specific,...

  7. Strategic Planning: A Guide to Develop a Strategic Plan

    Ted Jackson January 17, 2024 Strategic Planning "Why isn't my strategy working?" Statistics around the failure rates of corporate strategies vary—some put it as high as 9 out of 10 while others say nearly 7 out of 10. It doesn't matter which number is right; both estimates are higher than they should be.

  8. 7 Strategic Planning Models and 8 Frameworks To Start [2023] • Asana

    1. Basic model The basic strategic planning model is ideal for establishing your company's vision, mission, business objectives, and values. This model helps you outline the specific steps you need to take to reach your goals, monitor progress to keep everyone on target, and address issues as they arise.

  9. Examples of a Strategic Plan to Achieve Long-Term Growth

    Examples of Strategic Plans Get Your Strategic Planning Done on Ninety What is Strategic Planning? Strategic planning is the process you use to: Establish and document a clear direction for your organization. Identify business goals and set priorities that create growth for your company.

  10. What is Strategic Planning?

    For corporate finance teams, for example, strategic planning is a critical process for attaining mid- to long-term financial and business objectives.

  11. The 5 steps of the strategic planning process

    Examples of rapid ideation methods include round robin, brainwriting, mind mapping, and crazy eights . In a structured brainstorming session, you allow for more time to prepare and edit your thoughts before getting together to share and discuss those more polished ideas.

  12. Strategic Planning Process Definition, Steps and Examples

    50 Innovation Examples: Exciting Innovative Ideas in Business 2583 viewers Digital Transformation Strategy Framework: 10 Key Steps for Strategic Planning 3215 viewers Innovation Strategy: Developing Innovative Strategies in Business 2071 viewers CONSULTING Culture & Org Change TOOLS & MODELS © 2020, Ohio Theme. Made with passion by 03 January, 2024

  13. The Ultimate List of Strategic Planning Templates (2024)

    Strategic planning is the process of developing strategies, executing them, and assessing their impact on organizational objectives. It involves analyzing an organization's current situation, identifying challenges and opportunities, setting objectives and developing strategies to achieve them.

  14. PDF The Complete Guide to Strategic Planning

    Strategic issues are critical unknowns that are driving you to embark on a strategic planning process now. These issues can be problems, opportunities, market shifts or anything else that is keeping you awake at night and begging for a solution or decision. Questions to Ask:

  15. Demystifying Strategic Planning: Process and Benefits

    Understanding the strategic planning process. Now, let's dive deeper to understand the strategic planning process. Effective strategic planning dictates where an organization is going and the actions needed to achieve progress. Equally as important is a strategy formulation to measure how it will measure success.

  16. Examples Of Strategic Planning

    Here is a list of the strategic planning process with examples across different industries that'll help you understand its importance and effectiveness: 1. Corporate. One of the most commonly available examples of strategic planning, a corporate strategy is designed to increase revenue and brand reputation. From new products and quality ...

  17. Strategic Planning Process

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  18. What Is Strategic Planning? Definition, Steps and Examples

    1. Clarify the company's vision. One of the first steps in strategic planning is defining the vision, values and mission for the organization. The vision is the long-term objective of the business, and you should base it on ambitious but realistic goals. Values are beliefs that create the foundation for the company, and affect every part of ...

  19. Strategic Management & Strategic Planning Process

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  22. Strategic Plan Examples: Case Studies and Free Strategic Planning Template

    By Anthony Taylor - May 29, 2023 As you prepare for your strategic planning process, it's important to explore relevant strategic plan examples for inspiration. In today's competitive business landscape, a well-defined strategic plan holds immense significance.

  23. Strategic Planning Process (Steps, Examples)

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