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  • Tools & Best Practices
  • Strategic Planning

Strategic Planning Resources

Like budgeting, strategic planning is a necessary process for a healthy organization. And, like budgeting, you have to put in some serious time to do it right. A one-hour discussion is not going to result in a strategic plan.

Many organizations spend too little time and effort on planning, often only setting goals for the organization. Goals are good, but they are like new year’s resolutions — rarely effective in bringing about results.

Start With the Basics

Strategic planning needs to start with revisiting the basics about your organization:

  • What is your mission?
  • Who is your customer?
  • What benefits do we want your customer to get from your organization?
  • How do you know if they are getting these benefits?

Don’t assume that your board or team know the answers to these questions.

Once you have answered these questions, you need to talk with the people you serve, gather information about how your organization is seen by your stakeholders, and find out about changes and trends that you should factor into your plan.

Next Step: Build a Plan You Will Use

How many times have you gone through a lengthy planning process, and not come close to putting the plan into action? Here are some signs your plan will bear fruit:

  • The process engaged the staff, board, and stakeholders, including the people you serve, elected officials and other public decision makers, other organizations with related missions, and experts in your field ?
  • You identified the key issues your organization is facing.
  • You developed clear and specific strategies that can guide day to day decisions and help you adapt to changing conditions
  • You integrated fundraising, collaborations, and advocacy into your plan.
  • You followed up to create a process for staying loyal to your plan including:
  • Defining how you will measure results
  • An annual plan with specific goals, each with an accountable owner
  • A fundraising plan
  • A budget and a two year budget forecast that supports your fundraising plan

Don’t embark upon a strategic plan if you are not prepared to give it the time you need to develop a robust plan. If you commit the time, chances are that it will result in higher board engagement, better alignment of your team, more funding, and more impact from your efforts.

The following tools will help you have well structured and efficient planning discussions:

  • Smartsheet offers many versions of a SWOT analysis from very simple to more complex.  When doing a SWOT analysis you look at the S trengths, W eaknesses, O pportunities and T hreats that are relevant to your organization.
  • A Balanced Scorecard is a way of tracking all the activities that will implement your plan on a day-to-day level.
  • If your organization perceives that you will be impacted by competition from businesses or other nonprofits, a Five Forces Analysis will give you a quick way to explore this.
  • The Shape of your World exercise is a fun and revealing way to learn how your board or staff see the organization now or envisions a preferred future. In this exercise you ask everyone to draw a picture of how they see the organizations today, identifying important partners, opportunities or risks or how how they see the preferred future of the organization.  Post the pictures on the wall, do an "art tour" and then discuss what you see in the pictures.
  • Using the Four Actions Framework you discuss:
  • What can be eliminated to make it easier to achieve your vision for the organization
  • What should be reduced so you can focus more on your vision
  • What you need to enhance or do more off
  • What you need to create in order to fulfill your mission

Planning Templates

Here are some planning templates:

You may find the following resources helpful as well:

  • Nonprofit Organizational Life Cycle
  • Outline of a Strategic Plan
  • Charting Direction within an Organization
  • Ten Keys to Successful Strategic Planning for Nonprofit and Foundation Leaders
  • Insights & Analysis
  • Nonprofit Jobs

Strategic Planning for Nonprofits

A strategic planning process identifies strategies that will best enable a nonprofit to advance its mission. Ideally, as staff and board engage in the process, they commit to measurable goals, approve priorities for implementation, and also make a plan to revisit the strategy on an ongoing basis as the internal and external environments change.

Many nonprofits start the process by identifying the nonprofit’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as external opportunities and threats, in what is commonly called a “SWOT” analysis. Looking at external factors (community needs or the economic outlook, for example) as well as internal capacity is important.

Looking ahead and planning for the future actually should be continuous: as various factors change, the nonprofit may need to adjust its plans. While the process of bringing everyone together to plan for the future is energizing, once the process is in the rearview mirror, don’t let the plan gather dust on the shelf. If no one refers to the plan after it is completed, then it’s hardly serving as a “strategic” guide! Revisit the plan periodically, making adjustments and adapting the plan as circumstances change.

Some have argued for throwing out the “plan” completely, or reducing it to a very short, concise document, easily digestible by staff and board. Articulating an organization's "theory of change" is another way to think about what success will look like, how to get there, and what resources will be needed. There are hundreds of consultants and volumes of written materials just on strategic planning, and many others that help nonprofits develop a theory of change. We've selected just a few for you below.

Your  state association of nonprofits  may also offer educational programs and workshops throughout the year to assist your nonprofit with proactive planning. Plus,  staying current  with trends and policy issues that affect nonprofit operations is key to being prepared to adapt to a changing environment.

Practice Pointers

A good way to keep your nonprofit’s board engaged is to tie the nonprofit's strategic initiatives to the agenda for board meetings, and to include a short discussion about some aspect of the nonprofit’s strategic direction in every board meeting agenda. 

Strategy is one of the board's most important roles. BoardSource offers  an array of resources  to help boards engage fruitfully in strategic planning.

More About Planning

  • Budgeting for Nonprofits
  • Business Planning for Nonprofits
  • Financial Management

Additional Resources

  • Sample  strategic agenda  for a board meeting
  • Sample  Timeline for Strategic Planning  (Washington Nonprofits)
  • BoardSource's strategic planning resources  for nonprofit boards
  • The Strategic Plan is Dead: Long Live Strategy  (Stanford Social Innovation Review)
  • The Nonprofit Strategy Revolution: Real-Time Strategic Planning in a Rapid-Response World  (David La Piana)

Disclaimer: Information on this website is provided for informational purposes only and is neither intended to be nor should be construed as legal, accounting, tax, investment, or financial advice. Please consult a professional (attorney, accountant, tax advisor) for the latest and most accurate information. The National Council of Nonprofits makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy or timeliness of the information contained herein.

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Essential Guide to Strategic Planning

Strategic planning maps the initiatives and investments required to achieve long‑⁠term strategic objectives. Here’s how to do it well.

Strategic Planning Template

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Strategic planning that works — even in volatile times

Just 29% of strategists say their organizations change plans fast enough to respond to disruption. What’s the problem? Most often, unclear objectives, poor strategic planning processes and disengaged business leaders.

Use this guide to:

Turn your strategy into action faster

Combat 7 mistakes  common to strategic planning

Capture and communicate your plans with an  exclusive one-page template

4 critical things to know about strategic planning

Especially in times of disruption, it’s key to understand what strategic planning is and does, what assumptions you need and how to leverage the value of adaptive strategy and scenario planning.

  • What Is Strategic Planning?
  • Strategic Assumptions
  • Scenario Planning
  • Adaptive Strategy

Strategy and strategic plans: How they are different and why it matters

Strategy creates a common understanding of what an organization wants to achieve and what it needs to do to meet its goals. Strategic plans bridge the gap from overall direction to specific projects and day-to-day actions that ultimately execute the strategy. Job No. 1 is to know the difference between strategy and strategic plans — and why it matters.

Strategy defines the long-term direction of the enterprise. It articulates what the enterprise will do to compete and succeed in its chosen markets or, for the public sector, what the agency will do to achieve its mission.

Strategic planning defines how the enterprise will realize its strategic ambitions in the midterm. Too often, strategic plans are created and then forgotten until the next planning cycle begins. A well-done strategic plan turns an enterprise strategy into a clear roadmap of initiatives, actions and investments required to execute the strategy and meet business goals.

Functional strategic plans document the choices and actions needed for the function to move from the current state to the desired end state, and contribute effectively to the enterprise business model and goals.

Business unit strategic plans define and finalize business unit goals, objectives and initiatives, while cognizant of enterprise priorities and external trends. 

Operational plans deal with the short-term execution of specific projects and changes, as well as any operational tasks not contained in the strategic plan.

What Is Strategic Planning?

If you’re responsible for functional strategy,  such as IT , create strategic frameworks focused only on what’s material — critical assumptions, relevant metrics and the key initiatives your function needs to contribute effectively to organizational goals, even as those goals shift.

Look out for key trends and disruptions, and test strategic assumptions

It’s critical to scan and respond to trends and disruptions that could impact your strategy and strategic plans — and change your strategic assumptions. Strategic planning cycles should incorporate some mechanism to vet assumptions for relevance (also see “Scenario Planning”).

Ignoring or devaluing trends and disruptions can leave critical gaps in both your strategic assumptions and your strategic planning process, because you may be overlooking both threats and opportunities for your value proposition and competitive positioning.

One Gartner survey found that only 38% of organizations have a formal process for this type of trendspotting. Gartner scopes the seven key areas of disruptive change as a “TPESTRE” of interconnected trend areas (see figure). 

Executives across functions and teams can use the TPESTRE construct to identify key trends at any time — from augmented human experience to purpose-driven organizations and digitally enabled sustainability — and analyze their impact. From there, they can build strategic assumptions around the trends as they begin to map what actions might be needed in terms of business models, people/capabilities, IT systems and resources.

After sudden humanitarian or geopolitical disruptions like the COVID-19 pandemic or Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a framework like TPESTRE can help you identify and monitor  a range of risks  that may affect your enterprise or function and that you may need to include in scenario planning. 

Strategic Planning Trends

Scenario planning as a strategic planning tool for functions

Scenario planning enables executives and their teams to explore and evaluate plausible alternative futures to make strategic plans more robust and resilient. Pandemic-related disruption and volatility showed the importance of leveraging a range of scenarios to reset business strategy and strategic plans. 

Commonly used by strategists at the organizational level, scenario planning at the functional level is just as valuable. Many functional leaders have little experience with strategic scenario planning, even though they may regularly work with their CFO to build budget and forecast scenarios. Those who can learn and apply scenario planning in strategic planning can help their organization navigate volatile and dynamic conditions more effectively, especially in areas like supply chain , where disruption remains high.

Exploring scenarios enables you to determine suitable action plans or strategies for different possible futures. It reveals how to react to a specific future and which set of actions would make sense no matter what conditions ultimately unfold. 

For leaders of functional teams, developing scenarios and their underlying assumptions is in itself a useful exercise to corroborate or challenge strategies and keep them current.

The objective of scenario planning is to secure the best immediate outcome while preparing suitable alternative action plans, depending on how a situation unfolds. Proactively agreeing on both near-term operational decisions and long-term strategic plans will reduce the time it takes you to respond to emerging risks and opportunities. This can help your function preempt, rather than reactively control for, the negative effects of a major event or disruption.

scenario planning

Additional resources:

Guide to Scenario Planning for Functional Leaders

Scenario Planning for Supply Chain Leaders

Scenario Planning Ignition Guide for Marketing

Strengthen Your R&D Portfolio With Scenario Planning

Use adaptive strategic planning to enable a dynamic response

In an increasingly volatile and uncertain world, strategy can rapidly become out-of-date. To address this challenge, strategic planning must be adaptive. The faster the rate of change in operating conditions and the more disruptions you need to integrate into long-term strategy, the more adaptive your strategy models must be.

An adaptive strategy approach is what ensures your organization can spot new opportunities earlier and respond more quickly than your competitors, making you most likely to succeed in a dynamic digital world.

A truly adaptive strategy approach is consistent with four core practices (see figure) designed to move the enterprise from a rigid, top-down, calendar-based process to a more event-driven strategy approach. Functional strategy can incorporate the same principles. While a truly adaptive approach will be based on all four core practices, functional leaders can initially focus on the practices that address their immediate strategy challenges. 

Rather than requiring perfect or complete information to execute, adaptive strategy uses available information to identify immediate actions required for an enterprise or function to be successful. These actions may range from focusing on high-priority areas to making foundational investments or conducting experiments to test ideas. You can use insights from these actions, along with any new information and analysis, to identify your next set of actions.

Adaptive strategy requires you to review strategy whenever new (and relevant) information becomes available, so it’s important to continually scan the business context to identify changes and review — and, where necessary, adjust — strategy in response to changes. (Also see “Strategic Assumptions.”)

Adaptive Strategic Planning

Check out more strategic planning essentials for your function

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Marketing Research & Development Risk Sales Service & Support Supply Chain

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strategic planning resources

Frequently asked questions

What is strategic planning.

Strategic planning is the process through which enterprises, functions and business units identify the roadmap of initiatives and portfolio of investments that will be required in the medium term to achieve long-term strategic objectives.

What are the four types of strategic planning and the three levels of strategic planning?

Strategic planning starts with setting strategy at the enterprise level, but that strategy must then be turned into action. The three levels of strategic planning typically refer to corporate versus business unit and functional. The four types of plans are typically strategic, operational, tactical and contingency.

What steps are involved in the strategic planning process?

To build a successful strategic plan with a consistent and sequential process,  functional leaders  should:

Ensure consistent usage of terms to minimize confusion in strategic planning and set a baseline for collaboration

Build a strong foundation for more detailed planning by setting or pressure-testing mission, vision and goal statements first

Streamline stakeholder input by limiting mission, vision and goal setting to senior leadership, and leaving objective, action plan, and measure and metric development to managers with execution expertise

What are the key elements of strategic planning?

The key elements of a successful strategic plan include:

Mission and vision.  The organization’s mission articulates its reasons for being, and the vision lays out where the organization hopes to be. The strategic plan, which links the two, must be adaptive enough to respond if the context changes during execution.

Strategic assumptions.  To build a successful strategic plan, leadership should scope for trends and disruptions, and assess their potential impact on enterprise goals.

Strategic plan design.  A rigorous strategic planning design effectively translates the strategy into plans that can and will be executed. Poor plans lead to poor execution.

What are the key terms in strategic planning?

Mission: Organization’s purpose

Vision: Desired future state

Objective: How to reach goals

Action plan: What’s needed to achieve objectives

Measures and metrics: To track progress toward goals

How do we design a strategic planning system?

Strategic planning “systems” refer to the tools used to document strategic plans. Gartner urges organizations not to focus on strategy in terms of the document they’re creating, but instead focus on turning strategy into an easily communicated action plan.

What is a strategic action plan?

The strategic action plan is a formal document that serves as the primary source of information for how objectives will be executed, monitored, controlled and closed. Many organizations also deploy an associated but separate “action plan” for achieving the operating model. 

What are strategic measures and metrics?

Measures are observable outcomes that allow organizations to evaluate the efficacy of their action plans. Metrics quantify those observed changes to enable an organization to concretely quantify its progress and stay aligned to its chosen measures.

What are the 7 key success factors involved in strategic planning?

These seven success factors are key to producing high-quality strategic plans that will be successfully executed yet responsive to change:

Focus on designing a minimally viable strategy.

Customize planning efforts to meet participants where they are.

Sketch out initiative design before prioritizing strategic actions.

Be clear about who owns what.

Cascade plans side to side, not just top-down.

Focus performance measures on key assumptions.

Pressure-test plans against a narrow set of future scenarios.

Drive stronger performance on your mission-critical priorities.

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

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

Team Asana contributor image

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.

🎯 Finish your 2024 OKRs in 60 days

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

Free Strategic Planning Guide

What is Strategic Planning?

Strategic Planning is a process where 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.

What

Overview of the complete strategic planning process:

Getting started: strategic planning introduction.

The strategic management process is about getting from Point A to Point B more effectively, efficiently, and enjoying the journey and learning from it. Part of that journey is the strategy and part of it is execution. Having a good strategy dictates “how” you travel the road you have selected and effective execution makes sure you are checking in along the way. On average, this process can take between three and four months. However no one organization is alike and you may decide to fast track your process or slow it down. Move at a pace that works best for you and your team and leverage this as a resource. For more of a deep dive look into each part of the planning phase, you will see a link to the detailed How-To Guide at the top of each phase.

Strategic Planning Guide and Process

Phase Duration

1-2 weeks (1 hr meeting with Owner/CEO, Strategy Director and Facilitator (if necessary) to discuss information collected and direction for continued planning.)

Questions to Ask:

  • Who is on your Planning Team?
  • 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 embarking on this initiative?
  • Planning team members are informed of their roles and responsibilities.
  • Planning schedule is established.
  • Existing planning information and secondary data collected.

Action Grid:

What

Step 1: Determine Organizational Readiness

Set up your planning process 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 implementation (Chief Strategy Officer or Strategy Director) and then you need some of the key individuals and decision makers for this team. It should be a small group of approximately 12-15 persons.

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

Collect the following information on your organization:

  • The last strategic plan, even if it is not current
  • Mission statement, vision statement, values statement
  • 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?

Strategic Planning Pyramid

Strategic Planning Phase 1: Determine Your Strategic Position

Want More? Deep Dive Into the “ Evaluate Your Strategic Position ” How-To Guide.

Action Grid

Step 1: identify strategic issues.

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.

  • 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 also referred to as a PEST analysis, which is an acronym for Political, Economic, Social and Technological trends. Sometimes it is helpful to also 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 have an understanding of 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.

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 that may prevent a company from reaching its objectives.

What do you need to mitigate?

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.

Who are we providing value to?

  • 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. By creating a SWOT analysis, you can 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 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.

How will we behave?

  • What are the key non-negotiables that are critical to the success of the company?
  • What are the guiding principles that 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 provides direction for 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.

A Competitive Advantage is a characteristic(s) of an organization that allows it to meet their customer’s need(s) better than their competition can.

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 strategies are the general methods you intend to use to reach your vision. No matter what 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 help you think about the options that 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?  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

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 clearly communicated to your planning team (team leaders and/or team members). You want to set goals that convert the strategic objectives into specific performance targets. Effective goals clearly state what, when, how, and who, and they are specifically measurable. They should address what you need to do in the short-term (think 1-3 years) to achieve your strategic objectives. Organization-wide goals are annual statements that are specific, measurable, attainable, responsible and time bound.  These are outcome statements expressing a result 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.

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, begin by asking “What are the key performance measures we need to track in order to monitor if we are achieving our goals?” These KPIs include the key goals that you want to measure that will have the most impact in moving your organization forward.

Step 5: Cascade Your Strategies to Operations

What

Cascading action items and to-dos for each short-term goal is where the rubber meets the road – literally. Moving from big ideas to action happens when strategy is translated from the organizational level to the individual. Here we widen the circle of the people who are involved in the planning as functional area managers and individual contributors develop their short-term goals and actions to support the organizational direction. But before you take that action, determine if you are going to develop a set of plans that cascade directly from the strategic plan, or instead if you have existing operational, business or account plans that should be synced up with organizational goals. A pitfall is to develop multiple sets of goals and actions for directors and staff to manage. Fundamentally, at this point you have moved from planning the strategy to planning the operations; from strategic planning to annual planning. That said, the only way strategy gets executed is to align resources and actions from the bottom to the top to drive your vision.

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? Deep 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.

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 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 goaFls, 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.

What

Restricting the meeting to reporting on measurements can help you stay on task and keep the meeting within 30 minutes, but if you can commit to a full hour, the meeting agenda should also include some time devoted to working on one specific topic or on one of the quarter’s priorities where decisions need to be made. Once agreed upon, this topic should be developed to conclusion. Holding meetings helps focus your goals on accomplishing top priorities and accelerating growth of the organization. Although the meeting structure is relatively simple, it does require a high degree of discipline.

Strategy Review Session Questions:

What

  • What were our three most important strategic accomplishments of the last 90 days – how have we changed our field of play in the past 90 days?
  • What are the three most important ways we fell short of our strategic potential?
  • In the last 90 days, what are the three most important things that we have learned about our strategy?  (NOTE: We are looking for insight to decision to action observations.)

Step 4: Annual Updates The three words  strategic planning off-site  provoke reactions anywhere from sheer exuberance to ducking for cover. In many organizations, retreats have a bad reputation because stepping into one of the many planning pitfalls is so easy. Holding effective meetings can be tough, and if you add a lot of brainpower mixed with personal agendas, you can have a recipe for disaster. That’s why so many strategic planning meetings are unsuccessful. Executing your strategic plan is as important, or even more important, than your strategy. Critical actions move a strategic plan from a document that sits on the shelf to actions that drive organizational growth. The sad reality is that the majority of organizations who have strategic plans fail to implement. Don’t be part of the majority! In fact, research has shown that 70% of organizations that have a formal execution process out-perform their peers. (Kaplan & Norton) Guiding your work in this stage of the planning process is a schedule for the next 12 months that spells out when the quarterly strategy reviews are, who is involved, what participants need to bring to the meetings and how you will adapt the plan based on the outcomes of the reviews. You remain in this phase of the strategic management process until you embark on the next formal planning sessions where you start back at the beginning. Remember that successful execution of your plan relies on appointing a strategy director, training your team to use OnStrategy (or any other planning tool), effectively driving accountability, and gaining organizational commitment to the process.

DOWNLOAD THE FREE STRATEGY SOFTWARE GUIDE

Strategic planning frequently asked questions

Read our frequently asked questions about strategic planning to learn how to build a great strategic plan..

Business Strategic Planning is a process where your business defines a bold vision of the future and creates a plan to reach that future. It helps your business define where you’re going, how you’ll get there, how you’ll grow, and what you must do to reach your desired future.

A great strategic plan determines where your organization is going, how you’ll win, what roles each team member has in the execution, and your game plan for reviewing and adapting your strategy. Elements include a current state analysis, SWOT, mission, vision, values, competitive advantages, growth strategy, growth enablers, a 3-year roadmap, and annual plan with goals, KPIs, and OKRs.

Typically, the average strategic planning process takes about 3-4 months, but depending on your organization, it could take more or less time. Every organization is different, so you should work at a pace that works for you.

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?

Determining your positioning entails conducting a scan of macro and micro trends in your environment and industry, identifying marketing and competitive opportunities and threats, clarifying target customers and value propositions, gathering and reviewing staff and partner feedback for strengths and weaknesses, synthesizing the data into a SWOT, and solidifying your competitive advantages.

Developing your strategy includes determining your primary business model and organizational purpose, identifying your corporate values, creating an image of what success would look like in 3-5 years, solidifying your competitive advantages, formulating organization wide-strategies that explain your base, and agreeing on strategic issues you need to address in the planning process. .

Once you get to the strategic plan development process in the planning process, you must begin developing your strategic framework and defining long-term strategic objectives, set short-term SMART organizational goals, and select the measure that will be your KPIs (key performance indicators.)

The last phase of strategic planning is implementation, execution, and ongoing refreshes. This step entails establishing an implementation schedule, rolling out your plan, executing against your key results, and reviewing process and refreshing your plan quarterly. p>

The ideal execution schedule for your strategic plan will differ from team to team or organization to organization, but generally, you should try to set 4 quarterly reviews, a mid-year executive survey, 12 monthly check-ins, and a year-end plan review and annual refresh.

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Strategic Planning

What is strategic planning.

What is a strategic plan? Strategic planning in management is the process of documenting and establishing the direction of your small business—by assessing both where you are and where you’re going . So, what is the purpose of a strategic plan? And what does an effective strategic plan consist of? A company’s strategic plan consists of it’s:

  • Long-term goals
  • Action plans

A well-written strategic business plan can play a pivotal role in your small business’s growth and success because it tells you and your employees how best to respond to opportunities and challenges.

In recent years, many small business owners have been focusing on long-term planning. In fact, in 2020, there were three business areas that small businesses focused on strategy for, including:

  • 46% in sales
  • 41% in advertising
  • 36% in customer service

organizational strategic planning

If you haven’t been focusing on a long-term strategic planning process, it’s not too late to think differently. Your future success depends on effective organizational strategic planning. It’s also important to remember that a strategic planning process model involves your entire business. The discussions that result can lead to meaningful changes in your business. The purpose of strategic planning is to also analyze your business and set realistic goals and objectives. This leads to the creation of a formal document that lays out the company’s views and strategic goals for the future.

Ready to learn more about strategic management and planning? Keep reading through the next sections.

The 3 Step Strategic Planning Process

What are the 3 steps in strategic planning? When it comes to the strategic planning process, think of it as having three phases:

  • Development
  • Review and updating

The goal of developing a strategic plan is to ensure everyone in the business is aligned when it comes to your small business’s goals and objectives, as well as to create a formal strategic plan document.

examples of strategic plans

1. Discussion Phase

The discussion phase is meant to gather as much information, opinions, and input as possible. Set up a regularly scheduled meeting with the employees and any other staff in your business who will be involved with strategic planning. Make sure you have an agenda and clear expectations of what you want to accomplish in each meeting. This will keep discussions on track and help prevent distractions. In the first few meetings, try to answer questions that will help you define the business’s current status, such as, “Where are we now?” and “Where are our competitors?” Once you have a good idea of where the business is, you can focus in on specific details in future meetings.

In addition to regular meetings with your employees at your business, you can also gather information from people outside your company, like:

External people will have a unique perspective on not only your business, but also the industry you’re operating in. Getting their opinions on where they think the industry is going and what they think will change in the future can help you put together your strategic plan and determine where you want your business to be down the road.

You can also conduct a SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

When you’re conducting a SWOT analysis, you and your employees will examine what your business does well, where it can improve, any future opportunities to pursue that could help facilitate growth and success, and any competitors or external factors that could prevent the business from succeeding.

Your strengths should be pretty easy to identify. When you’re discussing your business’s weaknesses, don’t be afraid to be candid. Every business has weaknesses and things to work on. Any weakness you and your employees note means it’s something you’ll aim to improve on in the future with a detailed initiative outlined in the strategic plan.

Opportunities available to your business may be pretty clear, while identifying threats to your business can be more difficult. Speaking with people outside of the company should give you a good idea of where the industry could be heading and if there are any major competitors or challenges coming. If you can identify a number of threats and challenges to your business early on, it puts you in a better position to address them if and when you encounter them down the road.

strategic planning templates

2. Development Phase

After you’ve collected all of the information, it’s time for the development phase. This is when you’ll start putting together your business’s strategic plan. A strategic plan consists of five key components:

  • A vision statement
  • A mission statement
  • Goals and objectives
  • An action plan
  • Details on how often the strategic plan will be reviewed and updated

Decide with your employees what you will use to create the strategic plan. Are you going to purchase software to help you create and house the plan? Or are you going to create the plan yourself and save it in the cloud for easier access?

When you’re creating goals and objectives for your business, make sure they’re realistic and measurable. Work with your employees to create goals and objectives for at least the next one to three years. And discuss how these goals and objectives will be measured and tracked.

For example, if you have a goal of increasing sales by 10% in the next year, you can track this by measuring sale numbers. Equally important is having an action plan to achieve these goals and objectives. If you’re trying to increase your sales by 10% in a year, you can pursue more marketing and social media outreach as part of your action plan. If an action plan doesn’t help your business achieve its goals, the plan needs to be rewritten.

developing a strategic plan

3. Review and Updating Phase

A critical part of the strategic plan should address how often it will be reviewed and updated. Designate someone to be responsible for reviewing, updating, and sharing any changes with the rest of the company. Whether it’s you or another employee, you’ll want to make sure everyone in the business is aware of the changes and how they affect the overall strategic plan.

The strategic plan is meant to be a fluid document; don’t fall into the trap of creating the document and letting it sit on a shelf for years. If you developed meaningful objectives and action plans, they should help with regularly checking the strategic plan. For example, if your action plan requires you to put in sales numbers every quarter to track revenue, you could take that time to review the rest of the plan.

You can also set an alert to check the strategic plan on a regular basis. Whether it’s every few months, every quarter, or every year, a recurring alert can help you review and update the document.

When you’re reviewing your strategic plan, you may find that you’re not on track to meet an objective or goal that you previously set up. Don’t panic. Reassess the situation and, if you need to, discuss the issues with your employees. Figure out what went wrong and why your business isn’t on pace; maybe the goal was too ambitious or not realistic. Change the goal or objective and update the action plan to help you get back on track.

You also may find that your small business has met a goal or objective earlier than you thought you would. If so, you can create a new goal or objective to work toward, or try to maintain the progress you’ve already made. Discuss the ideas with your employees to see what they think is possible.

Strategic Plan Examples

Strategic plans can vary, depending on the type of business you operate or the industry you’re in. Here are a few examples of different strategic plans:

Strategic Planning Examples for Business

A strategic plan for a business will include the company’s mission and vision statement, as well as its goals and objectives and the action plans to achieve them.

The strategic plan is different from a business plan. The business plan is typically used to help start the business and acquire the necessary funds to open the doors. A strategic plan outlines the strategy for growth and success in the future by using existing resources.

The Canadian Soccer Association’s strategic plan for 2014 to 2018 is full of information and details. It includes an examination of the organization’s current status and what the focus in the future will be. It includes the goals and objectives of the Canadian Soccer Association, as well as the strategies it’ll use to achieve them.

According to a recent report, the top challenges for small businesses in 2021 are:

  • 23% said a lack of capital and/or cash flow
  • 15% said they anticipate marketing and advertising struggles
  • 19% said they expect challenges with recruiting and retaining employees

steps in strategic planning

Nonprofit Strategic Plan Examples

A strategic plan for a nonprofit organization will include the same key components. A nonprofit strategic plan may focus more on the internal and external factors that can pose any threats or challenges to the organization. Because the structure of a nonprofit organization can change rapidly due to different factors, the strategic plan takes this into account and aims to address possible changes ahead of time.

The  Minnesota Council of Nonprofits’  strategic plan for 2010 through 2014 outlines the organization’s:

  • Community it serves
  • Goals for the four-year period

Each goal includes an in-depth description of why it’s important to the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, as well as the strategies involved to achieve those goals. The plan also lists the people responsible for working on the strategic plan.

IT Strategic Plans

The IT industry is constantly changing. This means a strategic plan for an IT business should identify and address the changes in the future as well as possible. While other business strategic plans may focus on the next three to four years, it’s not uncommon for an IT strategic plan to look at the next year to year-and-a-half.

When it comes to developing, reviewing, and updating your IT strategic plan, it’s important to involve your business’s Chief Information Officer. This person’s knowledge and skill set is useful in putting together a strategic plan for your tech business. In addition to the Chief Information Officer, you and your employees can look at whether you need to upgrade any part of your infrastructure to meet the goals and objectives you’ve outlined in your strategic plan.

Because of the rapidly changing circumstances, you may be reviewing your IT strategic plan more frequently than with other businesses. Adjust your plan as necessary to put your business on the best path to success. The plan also should include details on how to make a decision when it comes to investing in new equipment or technology.

strategic planning framework

Marketing Strategic Plans

A marketing strategic plan’s goal should be to generate sales for the business. Whether it’s increasing sales numbers by 15% or increasing the number of customers in the next quarter, a marketing strategic plan helps businesses generate more revenue and increase their customer base.

A marketing strategic plan can include marketing technology, software, or web-based platforms to help track your business’s progress toward its goals. The plan also could address the specific types of marketing the business will pursue—for example, whether your business will pursue traditional print advertising or digital ads.

Because a marketing strategic plan aims to increase your business’s exposure and numbers through different techniques and methods, it’s a good idea to include the budget in the document. This way, you and your employees will work toward the marketing goals and objectives you want to achieve without spending too much money.

Strategic Planning Template Checklist

Should you use strategic planning models or templates? Yes, in fact, a good strategic plan template, sometimes called a strategy mapping template is like a checklist. The template will include different sections for you to complete and help you cover a variety of topics. Using a thorough template will help ensure you have a comprehensive strategic plan for your business.

You can use computer software for your strategic planning template, or you can create your own with Microsoft Word or Excel. You can also download our Strategic Plan Example Template to use.

strategic planning process

  • What does a strategic plan include? At the top of your template, label it “Executive Summary” and provide an overview of your business. Include the time period you’re looking at for your business’s strategic plan; for example, if the strategic plan provides a three- to five-year outlook.
  • Underneath this section would be information on “Your Company.” This is where you’ll put in your mission statement, vision, values, and information on leadership.
  • A section on “Research” will include information on your clients and customers, competitors and the industry.
  • You can also create a section on “Products and Services,” which will detail any products you sell, pricing strategy, delivery systems and capabilities, and suppliers.
  • A section of your template should focus on “Measurable Goals.” These should be realistic goals or objectives that you want your business to achieve within the time period you set. Don’t forget to include details on how the progress of each goal or objective will be measured.
  • Whether you include it within the Measurable Goals section or as a stand-alone group in the template, don’t forget about your “Action Plans.” This provides an overview of how you and your employees are going to achieve your business goals and operational plans.
  • You also can put your SWOT analysis into the template. List the identified strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats with your business. Remember to be honest and candid. When you are reviewing your strategic plan in the future, you can reference the initial SWOT analysis and check to see what has changed.
  • The last section should detail “Reviews and Updating.” Explain how often the plan should be checked (every few months, quarterly, annually, etc.). Provide a list of people who should be responsible for reviewing and updating the strategic plan, as well as communicating any changes with the broader business.

what is strategic planning

Why Is Strategic Planning Important?

The strategic planning process can take some time, but it’s beneficial for everyone involved. As the small business owner, you’ll have a better idea of the organizational goals and objectives you’ll want to accomplish and a path to do that. For your employees, the process can foster an increase in productivity—contributing to the success of the business.

strategic plan example

Communicating Your Strategic Plan

In a business environment, strategic planning requires you to involve your employees. Your employees are involved in the day-to-day operations and can provide you with a unique view of the company. Employees can share with you what they think is and isn’t working with the business today, which can inform your planning for the future.

In addition to your employees, it’s beneficial to reach out to people outside of your company to get their opinions. Like your employees, vendors have a unique perspective on your industry. Talk to them about the business, and get their thoughts on how they think the business landscape can change in the future.

The U.S. Small Business Administration recommends that the strategic planning process be a flexible one. When you meet with your employees and any people outside of the company, remember that the discussions should encourage new ideas and thoughts.

what is a strategic plan

Increase Productivity

Involving your employees in the strategic planning process also means they receive a sense of accountability that can increase productivity. Whether they contributed in the process or were informed of the business’s long-term goals and objectives after the strategic plan was created, they’ll be more likely to want to help you achieve those targets.

strategic plan template

Identifying Strengths and Weaknesses

As part of the strategic planning process model, you’ll examine and analyze your entire business. You’ll take a look at what your business does well and the areas where it still needs to improve. By identifying your business’s current strengths and weaknesses, the process gives you and your employees an opportunity to improve in the future and become a durable business by minimizing risks.

Although you may have a good idea about what your business excels at and areas that need to be improved upon, don’t forget to involve your employees. They may tell you something you didn’t think of.

strategy mapping

Setting the Direction of the Business and Fostering a Proactive Environment

By the end of the strategic planning process, you and your employees should have a clear direction of where you want the business to go in the future. These discussions and the planning process itself help put the business in the best position to succeed in the future.

Strategic planning gives you and your business time to figure out how to grow over the next few years and how to address new opportunities and challenges. Think about the challenges or issues your business may face in four or five years and plan accordingly, so your business doesn’t stumble down the road.

Strategic Planning Misconceptions

There are many strategic planning misconceptions. From not having enough time or thinking it only benefits larger businesses, to fearing you’ll put your business on the wrong path, there are a variety of reasons why business owners may be wary of strategic planning. But don’t be alarmed; strategic planning can help your business—big or small—and the benefits far outweigh any perceived negatives.

Regardless of the size of your business, a strategic plan is beneficial. Whether you are a small business or a large corporation with hundreds or thousands of employees, strategic planning helps you make sure the company is headed in the right direction.

But how do you know if you’re steering the company in the right direction? The beginning phases of strategic planning focus on research and discussions. The decisions you make during strategic planning aren’t based on assumptions; they’re based on research and information you’ve gathered while talking with your employees and people outside of your company.

The strategic planning process may seem daunting at first, but when you understand what’s involved and how to do it, it’s not that complicated. It takes time, but the amount you invest in the process pays off when everyone in your company works toward accomplishing the goals and objectives you’ve laid out.

The process doesn’t stymie creativity either. When you meet with your employees for strategic planning, you’re asking everyone to have a discussion and brainstorm ideas. The strategic planning process puts everyone’s minds together to think of creative ideas.

If you go through the strategic planning process once, don’t think you won’t have to do it again. The strategic plan is a living document; it should change over time. It’s not uncommon for business owners to create a strategic plan with their employees and rarely—or never—revisit the document. Reviewing and evaluating your strategic plan regularly will help keep you accountable and on track to achieve your goals and objectives.

What Makes Strategic Planning Successful?

Successful strategic planning involves a team effort among you and your employees, as well as among you and your vendors and other outside people. The more you engage your employees with strategic planning, the better they’ll understand the strategy you want to have for your business.

Strategic planning concepts also need to be flexible. While it’s necessary to have goals and objectives for your business, you also have to be able to adapt to changes. For instance, 44% of small businesses without a website, plan to create one in 2021 to adapt to the growing online shopping trend brought on by COVID-19.

strategic mapping

When strategic planning is successful, everyone in your business is on the same page with the business’s direction and goals. Each individual understands what makes the business stronger and what needs to be worked on. And it’s more likely that each person wants to contribute to the business’s growth and success.

When Should Strategic Planning Be Done?

When it comes to strategic planning, you want to start it sooner rather than later . It doesn’t necessarily have to be done in the first few days or weeks of the company’s life—you may want to be in business for a few months to give yourself a better idea of what is and isn’t working.

But even if you’ve owned your business for a long time, it’s not too late to get started on strategic planning. It’s never a bad time to sit down and think about the current status of your company and where you want to be in the next five to 10 years. When you’re ready, gather your team together and schedule regular meetings dedicated to strategic planning.

Where Do Strategic Plans Go Wrong?

Strategic planning is an ongoing commitment. Even if you go through an initial round of strategic planning and it leads to the development of your business’s first strategic plan, it’s still not finished. The plan has to be implemented.

Strategic plans also can go wrong if the goals and objectives you set are unrealistic. Every business owner wants to see their business grow and succeed, but if you set an overly ambitious growth rate, it could discourage you and your employees.

A successful strategic plan requires commitment. Your entire team needs to be focused on the business and carrying out the strategic plan. If the strategic plan isn’t being used regularly or as the foundation of the business, you and your employees can lose sight of the company’s direction and goals.

What Is Strategic Planning Implementation Leadership

The top three reasons strategy implementation fails:

  • Poor communication
  • Lack of leadership
  • Using wrong measures

Reviewing and Updating Your Strategic Plan

A strategic plan is a living document. Don’t spend the time to create a strategic plan and then put it on the shelf to collect dust. Live by it. And regularly update your strategic plan. How often you should update your strategic plan depends on how your business works.

If your business works in a fast-paced industry and can be affected by changing outside factors, you should review and update your strategic plan on a more frequent basis. For example, if your business operates within the ever-evolving tech industry, you will probably want to check on your strategic plan after each quarter.

At the very least, you should review your strategic plan every year. When you review your strategic plan, you’re looking at the assumptions made and checking to see where your business stands in relation to those assumptions. What you thought would be challenges and threats to your business a year ago may not be the same now.

Don’t be afraid to change any part of the strategic plan. In fact, only 77% of small business owners are somewhat or very confident in their ability to execute their strategy but 95% still fall short of meeting all their goals. Updating your plan can help you stay on track with your goals. And if outside factors are having a bigger impact on your business than you initially thought, you may have to change your objectives or goals.

strategic business plan

The regular review is a good opportunity to check back in with your employees. Your employees helped you create the business’s strategic plan and they’re as invested in the success of it as you are. Give them a summary of where the business currently stands. Talk with them to see if things have improved or if they still have concerns with the business—or if any of their initial concerns have changed.

After you review the strategic plan, share any changes with your team. Even if you didn’t make any changes, it’s a good opportunity to give the rest of your company your thoughts on the business’s status and confirm that things are on the right track. You also can encourage your employees to continue working hard to achieve the goals and objectives in the strategic plan.

Focusing on the long-term strategy of your business is also essential. Long-term strategic planning is as important as having a business plan and can lead to the success of your business. You and your employees will understand the current status of the company, productivity will increase as everyone works toward achieving the business goals, and you’ll put yourself in a better position to address any potential issues that may come up in the future.

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We’re glad you liked it, John! You can read more about Strategic Planning in the articles below:

https://sba.thehartford.com/business-management/strategic-planning-process/ https://sba.thehartford.com/business-management/key-components-of-strategic-plan/ https://sba.thehartford.com/business-management/develop-a-strategic-plan/

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Thank you for reaching out, John! You can learn more about strategic planning with these articles from SBA: https://sba.thehartford.com/business-management/strategic-planning-process/ https://sba.thehartford.com/business-management/develop-a-strategic-plan/ https://sba.thehartford.com/business-management/why-is-strategic-planning-necessary/

Thanks for commenting!

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That’s great to hear, Samuel! Check out our other strategic planning articles to learn more:

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That’s great to hear, Linnet! You can learn more by checking out these other SBA articles on strategic planning:

https://sba.thehartford.com/business-management/strategic-planning-process/ https://sba.thehartford.com/business-management/why-is-strategic-planning-necessary/ https://sba.thehartford.com/business-management/develop-a-strategic-plan/

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Insightful.

Thank you, Stella!

Fantastic article!! Done with clarity. But my question has always been, at what point does the goals and objectives come in the strategic Planning process? Do we establish the goals and objectives after defining the Mission and Vision statements or do we develop goals and objectives after the analytic tool is utilized (SWOT, PEST,)? etc

Thanks for reaching out! This can depend on the business owner. While some business owners may have initial goals and objectives early on, it can also make sense to this after doing the analysis (SWOT, PEST). The information from these analyses can help create meaningful goals and objectives. The idea behind goals and objectives (both short- and long-term) is that they’re supposed to support/ladder up to the mission and vision statements.

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Thanks for reaching out! Check out this SBA article: https://sba.thehartford.com/business-management/small-biz-owner/build-stronger-mindset/

Under #8 in the article, you can sign up for a free 1-hour consultation!

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I appreciate this greatly. It’s helpful for small businesses especially for new initiatives and those at the mature business stage. Thank you!

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It is better to make some terms like vision, goal and mission clear.

Appreciated article.

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Very informative! It helps me a lot as a student. Thank you 😊

You’re welcome, Joice! We’re always happy to help and glad to hear you find our articles informative.

I enjoyed reading the article. Thank you for providing the overview about the topic. Examples and links are very useful too.

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Any discussion on Strategic Planning is good discussion – it is such a critical element of any organisation that aspires to be good and dares to be great.

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A very interesting article.

We’re glad you liked it! Thanks for commenting!

Informative article! You have made strategic planning so easy to understand. But how do i reference this article in an academic paper?

One way to cite this article in an academic paper is like this:

Vo, Eric. “What Is Strategic Planning.” Small Biz Ahead Blog , 2 Sept. 2020, sba.thehartford.com/business-management/what-is-strategic-planning/

I fully agree with you. The article is useful, but mostly for beginners and students. But it is informative and I liked it as well.

Thank you for sharing this very informative article. It will definitely guide me in conducting our own Strategic Planning at our office.

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Really helpful… thanks alot.

Glad you enjoyed the article!

What is the difference between Policy development & Strategic planning?

Companies first come up with strategic plan to establish their long term goals and objectives along with general actions to be taken to support those goals and objectives. You then establish policies to ensure that your team is staying within those actions. For example, your strategic plan may say you want to increase revenues 20 percent next year in the aerospace market. Your actions will include marketing campaigns and outreach events. Your policies will then ensure that your team are not undertaking actions that are not included in these campaigns and events.

Thanks for your educative explanation on the preparation of strategic business plan.

Thank you for this article. It helped me to understand the strategic planning process, which is something I am studying and this was straightforward and to the point.

Thank you Emily!

This article is a good basic overview. Something that must be emphasized is translating the strategic plan into specific actions with measurable outcomes. If you go into work on Monday after completing your plan and do your work the way you did before the plan, then the plan has already failed. I see this frequently in the businesses with which I work. Another key is to clearly tie individual staff roles and performance expectations and goals to the strategic goals. When effectively done, you begin to harness the very real power of employees’ intimate knowledge of their work and how to do it better.

Thanks for sharing. This is very helpful to business owners and managers. As it is said, the strategic plan need to be flexible, same applies to getting knowledge of strategic plan as business environments keep changing.

Glad to hear this was helpful. Thanks for reading!

Thanks for so much for the this exciting read. I can’t wait to start doing the stuff with my team

Strategic planning is important to an organization because it provides a sense of direction and outlines measurable goals. Strategic planning is a tool that is useful for guiding day-to-day decisions and also for evaluating progress and changing approaches when moving forward. Found an another website Evolvetraining.ac.nz it has lots of valuable information for everyone

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I thank you for this platform because it is updating my knowledge on Strategic Planning

I really enjoyed reading the article. It was written in simple language and in a manner that helped me identify key points under each subtitle. I am going to use this as a guide to some strategic plans am working on, thanks.

This teaching is educative.

That’s good to hear. Glad you liked it!

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I actually appreciate this piece. The writing is incredibly beneficial. my start up manufacturering business seems to be in better position with articles like this! My gratitude to the masterminds behind this program, Cheers.

Your article is helpful if you have employees, but how does this work if you have sub-contractors? Do you get them involved?

Now i have an insight of what strategic planning is. So what can be the sub-topics to include when writing an essay?

Great article. Thanks for the detailed information. Your blog is by far the best source I’ve found. Thanks!

Thank you, Victoria!

This is a comprehensive Strategic Planning manual.

Very interesting and valuable document. Enjoyed reading the participatory role of employees. Thanks a lot.

Thank you for the comment, Gemechu.

Love this article!! Thanks.

We are so glad you enjoyed this article! Thank you for the comment, Vanessa!

I send it to Beby.

Interesting read.

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Thank you for reading!

Howdy! Great article on strategic planning for small businesses. I agree with the statistic you quote from Constant Contact. In my work, I find that most business owners can only think and plan about a year out. There are a couple of contributing factors to that ‘limited’ sight. For many business owners, this is the first time they have ever been where they are. They are suffering from ‘not knowing what they do not know.’ They are smart enough to recognize it, but they are cautious about the outlook because of it. The second is the rate of change in the economy, which only speeds up each year; it is just that very few businesses have the tools and expertise to keep pace with the change. Both factors lead to a general hesitation to look out too far or to dream too big.

I love the fact that you see that strategic planning needs to flexible and inclusive. It’s crucial to have a framework but to be flexible to incorporate learnings and shifts along the way. When you involve all the people who work in and on your business, there is more engagement, better ideas and a higher rate of success.

Great insights. Thank you, Leslie!

Thanks a lot for this wonderful article, Eric. You have resolved my problem of trying to know what strategic planning really is. I look forward to more up building articles. Thank you!

Thank you for the comment, Melvin!

Hi Christyne,

Your question about involving subcontractors is an interesting one. To me, a plan should involve as many of those that are strategic to your business and getting as much feedback as possible – as long at it’s relevant – should be the goal. So if you have a few good contractors (like my company does) that you think could contribute some value to the formation of your plan I say go for it.

Your article is helpful if you have employees, but how does this work if you have sub-contractors. Do you get them involved.

Hi Cristyne- please see the response below from Gene Marks.

Great job. This was very helpful.

Thank you for your feedback, John!

You have the BEST newsletter! This article was another great one. I shared it on all my social media platforms. I offer strategic planning services and this article is helpful in promoting my services. As well, most people think a strategic plan is ONLY for nonprofits. Thank you!

Hi Leslie, thanks so much for sharing!

Great summary “how-to” article for busy business owners. I often encourage our clients to start simple and achieve! This road map is an excellent way to jump in to real-life strategy setting!

Thank you, Patti!

This is an explicit, yet simple, post on strategic planning.

Thanks deeply for sharing this!

You’re welcome! We’re so glad you liked it and found it informative.

Great article, thanks for spelling this out in such easy-to-read terms.

Thanks for your feedback, Wende!

It’s a great eye opener into strategic planning process. Thank you for the great efforts.

Glad you liked the article! Thanks for the comment!

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What is strategic planning?

What is strategic plan management?

Benefits of robust strategic planning and management

10 steps in the strategic planning process.

Plans are worthless, but planning is everything. - Dwight D. Eisenhower

It’s that time again. 

Every three to five years, most larger organizations periodically plan for the future. Many times strategic planning documents are shelved and forgotten until the next cycle begins. On the other hand, many smaller and newer organizations, propelled by urgency, may not devote the necessary time and energy to the strategic planning process. 

Only 63% of businesses plan more than a year out. They fail to see that — contrary to Alice in Wonderland’s Cheshire cat — “any way” does not take you there. 

For all organizations, a more rigorous annual planning process is critical for driving future success, profitability, value, and impact.

John Kotter, a former professor at Harvard Business School and noted expert on innovation says, “ Strategy should be viewed as a dynamic force that constantly seeks opportunities, identifies initiatives that will capitalize on them, and completes those initiatives swiftly and efficiently.”

There’s hardly a better case that can be made for dynamic planning than in the tech industry, where mergers and acquisitions are accelerating exponentially. Companies need to be nimble enough to navigate rapid change . In this case, planning should occur quarterly.

Strategic planning is an ongoing process by which an organization sets its forward course by bringing all of its stakeholders together to examine current realities and define its vision for the future.

It examines its strengths and weaknesses, resources available, and opportunities. Strategic planning seeks to anticipate future industry trends .  During the process, the organization creates a vision, articulates its purpose, and sets strategic goals that are long-term and forward-focused. 

Those strategic goals inform operational goals and incremental milestones that need to be reached. The operational plan has clear objectives and supporting initiatives tied to metrics to which everyone is accountable . The plan should be agile enough to allow for recalibrating when necessary and redistributing resources based on internal and external forces.

The output of the planning process is a document that is shared across the enterprise. 

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Strategic planning for individuals

Strategic planning isn’t just for companies. At BetterUp, strategic planning is one of the skills that we identify, track, and develop within the Whole Person Model . For individuals, strategic planning is the ability to think through ways to achieve desired outcomes. Just as strategic planning helps organizations realize their goals for the future, it helps individuals grow and achieve goals in a unified direction. 

Working backward from the desired outcome, effective strategic planning consists of coming up with the steps we need to take today in order to get where we want to be tomorrow. 

While no plan is infallible, people who develop this skill are good at checking to make sure that their actions are in alignment with the outcomes that they want to see in the future. Even when things don’t go according to plan, their long-term goals act as a “North star” to get them back on course. In addition, envisioning desired future states and figuring out how to turn them into reality enhances an individual’s sense of personal meaning and motivation. 

Whether we’re talking about strategic planning for the company or the individual, strategic plans can go awry in a variety of ways including: 

  • Unrealistic goals and too many priorities
  • Poor communication
  • Using the wrong measures
  • Lack of leadership

The extent to which that document is shelved until the next planning cycle or becomes a dynamic map of the future depends on the people responsible for overseeing the execution of the plan.

strategic-planning-person-smiling-at-his-computer

What is strategic plan management? 

"Most people think of strategy as an event, but that’s not the way the world works," according to Harvard Business School Professor Clayton Christensen. "When we run into unanticipated opportunities and threats, we have to respond. Sometimes we respond successfully; sometimes we don’t. But most strategies develop through this process. More often than not, the strategy that leads to success emerges through a process that works 24/7 in almost every industry."

Strategic business management is the ongoing process by which an organization creates and sustains a successful roadmap that moves the company in the direction it needs to move, year after year, for long-term success. It spans from research and formulation to execution, evaluation, and adjustment. Given the pace of change, strategic management is more relevant and important than ever for assigning measurable goals and action steps

Many organizations fail because they don’t have the strategic management team at the table right from the beginning of the planning process. A strategic plan is only as good as its ability to be executed and sustained. 

A strategic management initiative might be driven by an internal group — many companies have an internal strategy team — or an outside consulting firm. Ultimately company leaders need to own executing and sustaining the strategy. 

Strategic management teams

In this Harvard Business Review article, Ron Carucci from consulting firm Navalent reports that 61% of executives in a 10-year longitudinal study felt they were not prepared for the strategic challenges they faced upon being appointed to senior leadership roles. Lack of commitment to the plan is also a contributing factor. In addition, leaders attending to quarterly targets, crisis management , and reconciling budgets often consider the execution of a long-term strategy a low priority.

A dedicated strategic management team works with those senior leaders and managers throughout the organization to communicate, coordinate and evaluate progress against goals. They tie strategic objectives to day-to-day operational metrics throughout the enterprise. 

A good strategic management group can assist in creating a culture of empowerment and learning . It holds regular meetings with employees. It sets a clear agenda and expectations to make the strategic plan real and compelling to the organization through concrete objectives, results, and timelines. 

Strategy development is a lot of work, but the benefits are lasting. After all, as the saying goes, "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail." Taking the time for review and planning activities has the following benefits:

  • Organizations and people are set up to succeed
  • Increased likelihood of staying on track
  • Decreased likelihood of being distracted or derailed
  • Progress through the plan is communicated throughout the organization
  • Metrics facilitate course correction
  • Budgets enterprise-wide are based on strategy
  • Cross-organization alignment
  • Robust employee performance and compensation plans
  • Commitment to learning and training
  • A robust strategic planning process gets everyone involved and invested in the organizations
  • Employees inform management about what’s working or not working at the operational level
  • Innovation is encouraged and rewarded
  • Increased productivity

1. Define mission and vision  

Begin by articulating the organization's vision for the future. Ask, "What would success look like in five years?" Create a mission statement describing organizational values and how you intend to reach the vision. What values inform and determine mission, vision, and purpose?

Purpose-driven strategic goals articulate the “why” of what the corporation is doing. It connects the vision statement to specific objectives, drawing a line between the larger goals and the work that teams and individuals do.

2. Conduct a comprehensive assessment  

This stage includes identifying an organization’s strategic position.

Gathering data from internal and external environments and respective stakeholders takes place at this time. Involving employees and customers in the research.

The task is to gather market data through research. One of the most critical components of this stage is a comprehensive SWOT analysis that involves gathering people and bringing perspectives from all stakeholders to determine:

  • W eaknesses
  • O pportunities

Strengths and weaknesses  — In this stage, planners identify the company’s assets that contribute to its current competitive advantage and/or the likelihood of a significant increase in the organization’s market share in the future. It should be an objective assessment rather than an inflated perspective of its strengths. 

An accurate assessment of weaknesses requires looking outward at external forces that can reveal new opportunities as well as threats. Consider the massive shift in multiple industries whose strategy has been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. While it was disastrous to the airline and restaurant industries’ business models , tech companies were able to seize the opportunity and address the demands of remote work. 

Michael Porter’s book Competetive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors claims that there are five forces at work in an industry that influence that industry’s ability to develop a competitive strategy. Since the book was published in 1979, organizations have turned to Porter’s theory to create their strategic framework. 

Here are the 5 forces (and key questions) that determine the competitive strategy for most industries.

  • Competitive rivalry : When considering the strengths of an organization’s competitors it’s important to ask: How do our products/services hold up to our competition? If the rivalry is intense, companies need to consider what capacity they have to gain leverage through price cuts or bold marketing strategies. If there is little competition, the organization has a substantial gain in the market.
  • Supplier power: How might suppliers influence strategy? For example, what if suppliers raised their prices? To what extent would a company need a particular supplier for our product(s)? Is it possible to switch suppliers in a way that is more cost effective and efficient? The number of suppliers that exist will determine your ability to keep costs low.
  • Buyer power: To what extent do buyers have the ability to shop around right into the hands of your competitors? How much power does your customer base have in determining price? A small number of well-informed buyers shifts the power in their direction while a large pool may give you the strategic advantage
  • Threat of substitution:  What is the threat of a company’s buyer substituting your services/products from the competition? What if the buyer figures out another way to access the services/products that it offers?
  • Threat of new entry:  How easy is it for newcomers to enter the organization’s market?

strategic-planning-a-group-talks-in-a-room

3. Forecast  

Considering the factors above, determine the company’s value through financial forecasting . While almost certainly to become a moving target influenced by the five forces, a forecast can assign initial anticipated measurable results expected in the plan or ROI: profits/cost of investment.

4. Set the organizational direction of the business

The above research and assessment will help an organization to set goals and priorities. Too often an organization’s strategic plan is too broad and over-ambitious. Planners need to ask, ”What kind of impact are we seeking to have, and in what time frame?” They need to drill down to objectives that will have the most impact. 

5. Create strategic objectives

This next phase of operational planning consists of creating strategic objectives and initiatives. Kaplan and Norton posit in their balanced scorecard methodology that there are four perspectives for consideration in identifying the conditions for success. They are interrelated and must be evaluated simultaneously.

  • Financial : Such considerations as growing shareholder value, increasing revenue, managing cost, profitability, or financial stability inform strategic initiatives. 
  • Customer-satisfaction:  Objectives can be determined by identifying targets related to one or some of the following: value for the cost, best service, increased market share, or providing customers with solutions.
  • Internal processes such as operational processes and efficiencies, investment in innovation, investment in total quality and performance management , cost reduction, improvement of workplace safety, or streamlining processes.
  • Learning and growth: Organizations must ask: Are initiatives in place in terms of human capital and learning and growth to sustain change? Objectives may include employee retention, productivity, building high-performing teams, or creating a pipeline for future leaders .

6. Align with key stakeholders

It’s a team effort. The success of the plan is in direct proportion to the organization’s commitment to inform and engage the entire workforce in strategy execution. People will only be committed to strategy implementation when they're connected to the organization's goals. With everyone pulling in the same direction, cross-functional decision-making becomes easier and more aligned.

7. Begin strategy mapping

A strategy map is a powerful tool for illustrating the cause-effect of those perspectives and connecting them to between 12 and 18 strategic objectives. Since most people are visual learners, the map provides an easy-to-understand diagram for everyone in the organization creating shared knowledge at all levels.

8. Determine strategic initiatives

Following the development of strategic objectives, strategic initiatives are determined. These are the actions the organization will take to reach those objectives. They may relate initiatives related to factors such as scope, budget, raising brand awareness, product development, and employee training.

9. Benchmark performance measures and analysis

Strategic initiatives inform SMART goals to which metrics are assigned to evaluate performance. These measures cascade from senior management to management to front-line workers. At this stage, the task is to create goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based informing the operational plan.

Benchmarks are established against so that performance can be measures, and a time frame is created. Key performance indicators (KPI’s) are assigned based on organizational goals. These indicators align workers’ performance and productivity with long-term strategic objectives. 

10. Performance evaluation

Assessment of whether the plan has been successful . It measures activities and progress toward objectives and allows for the creation of improved plans and objectives in order to improve overall performance . 

Think of strategic planning as a circular process beginning and ending with evaluation. Adjust a  plan as necessary. The pace at which review of the plan is necessary may be once a year for many organizations or quarterly for organizations in rapidly evolving industries. 

Prioritizing the strategic planning process

The strategic planning meeting may have a reputation for being just another to-do, but it might be time to take a second look. With the right action plan and a little strategic thinking, you can reinvigorate your business environment and start planning for success.

It's that time to get excited about the future again.

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Meredith Betz

Betterup Fellow Coach, M.S.Ed, M.S.O.D.

Contingency planning: 4 steps to prepare for the unexpected

4 reasons why you can't afford to skip out on succession planning, the only guide you’ll ever need for career planning, strategic plan vs. work plan: what's the difference, declining capabilities in productivity and wellness signal a need for worker support, how to excel at life planning (a life planning template), strategy versus tactics: planning and executing on your goals, what is strategic plan management and how does it benefit teams, what is an action plan how to become a real-life action hero, similar articles, everything you need to know about strategic leadership, when you need to set the direction, swot analysis is a classic tool, how organizational effectiveness enhances how you work and grow, strategy vs. tactics: the difference is execution, stay connected with betterup, get our newsletter, event invites, plus product insights and research..

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Balanced Scorecard Institute

Strategic Planning Basics

What is strategic planning.

Strategic planning is an organizational management activity that is used to set priorities, focus energy and resources, strengthen operations, ensure that employees and other stakeholders are working toward common goals, establish agreement around intended outcomes/results, and assess and adjust the organization’s direction in response to a changing environment. It is a disciplined effort that produces fundamental decisions and actions that shape and guide what an organization is, who it serves, what it does, and why it does it, with a focus on the future. Effective strategic planning articulates not only where an organization is going and the actions needed to make progress, but also how it will know if it is successful.

What is a Strategic Plan?

What is strategic management what is strategy execution.

strategic management

Strategic management is the comprehensive collection of ongoing activities and processes that organizations use to systematically coordinate and align resources and actions with mission, vision and strategy throughout an organization. Strategic management activities transform the static plan into a system that provides strategic performance feedback to decision making and enables the plan to evolve and grow as requirements and other circumstances change.  Strategy Execution is basically synonymous with Strategy Management and amounts to the systematic implementation of a strategy.

What Are the Steps in Strategic Planning & Management?

There are many different frameworks and methodologies for strategic planning and management. While there are no absolute rules regarding the right framework, most follow a similar pattern and have common attributes. Many frameworks cycle through some variation on some very basic phases:

  • Analysis or assessment, where an understanding of the current internal and external environments is developed
  • Strategy formulation, where high level strategy is developed and a basic organization level strategic plan is documented
  • Strategy execution, where the high level plan is translated into more operational planning and action items, and
  • Evaluation or sustainment / management phase, where ongoing refinement and evaluation of performance, culture, communications, data reporting, and other strategic management issues occurs.

Related: What Are the Nine Steps to Strategic Planning and Management?

steps in strategic planning

A strategy map is a simple graphic that shows a logical, cause-and-effect connection between strategic objectives (shown as ovals on the map). It is one of the most powerful elements associated with the balanced scorecard methodology, as it is used to quickly communicate how value is created by the organization. Strategy mapping can vastly improve any strategy communication effort. Most people are visual learners and so a picture of your strategy will be understood by many more employees than a written narrative. Plus the process of developing a strategy map forces the team to agree on what they are trying to accomplish in simple, easy-to-understand terms. With a well-designed strategy map, every employee can see how they contribute to the achievement of the organization’s objectives.

What Are the Attributes of a Good Planning Framework?

attributes of good strategic plan

For more information about strategic planning and management in general or for about how we can help you, please contact us  directly.

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Strategic planning: the journey to organizational excellence.

Strategic planning, the driving force behind organizational achievement, can empower your organization to navigate a complex landscape and chart a course toward a successful future. This process allows you to define your organization’s direction, align goals to ensure cohesive progress, identify areas for improvement, enable competitiveness, and cultivate areas of excellence.

Benefits of Strategic Planning Include:

  • Unified Direction :  Defining an overarching vision to align individual efforts will propel you towards achievement.
  • Resource Optimization : Acquiring and aligning resources for new initiatives allows you to seize opportunities and overcome challenges.
  • Prioritization of Critical Issues : Focusing the approach will ensure resources are directed towards the critical factors that shape your success.
  • Motivation & Collaboration : Igniting a sense of purpose and fostering motivation, commitment, and collaboration amongst your teams will cultivate an environment of shared success. 
  • Agility in a Changing Landscape : Adapting more effectively to changing circumstances leads to the foresight and flexibility to navigate dynamic environments.
  • Competitive Positioning : Carving out a distinct identity, capitalizing on unique strengths, and differentiating from competitors bolsters your chances of sustained success.
  • Meaningful Performance Metrics : Using meaningful metrics empowers you to assess progress, track milestones, and refine strategies, thereby ensuring continual improvement.

Fundamental Questions

The strategic planning process seeks to answer four fundamental questions. These questions can be answered for your whole organization, individual departments, or even certain service lines .

1. Where is your organization today?

The initial planning phase starts by  identifying the scope of your strategic planning and relevant stakeholders that will provide input.

  • A current state assessment  evaluates your organization’s current position through data collection and analysis, focus groups, surveys, stakeholder interviews, and benchmarking.

2. Where should your organization be in the future?

Use the assessment data to review or create  mission, vision, and value statements that articulate a desired future state and inform decision-making and consensus when developing a  strategy.

  • Develop goals, strategies, actions, and intended outcomes and metrics to define the changes necessary to realize the vision.

3. How should your organization get there?

Develop an implementation plan to prioritize the goals and strategies.

  • Assign transparent milestones to demonstrate success and motivate people.
  • Include the strategic priorities as a part of the budgeting process and allocate resources based on alignment with the plan.
  • Assign a dedicated team responsible for managing the ongoing strategic plan and reporting process.
  • Develop a tailored communication plan that reaches individuals and teams across the organization.

4. How will your organization measure and monitor its success?

Leading to Foster Accountability  - A strategic plan is more likely to succeed if your organization’s leaders visibly and consistently commit the organization to strategic priorities. Leaders should clearly assign and communicate responsibilities for the execution and implementation of each goal and strategy.

Operational Integration  - To be effective, strategy cannot stand alone or apart from operations. While strategy defines the desired future state and the means to that end, “operations” defines, allocates, and manages the necessary resources, including:

Alignment with annual forecasts and budgets - Strategic plans involve change requiring the investment of resources. To succeed, resource estimates and priorities must become part of the institution’s long-range resource forecasts and annual budgets.

Change management - The strategic planning process must anticipate and involve participants from affected units. A change management plan should be in place with regular communication occurring across the organization.

  • Scorecards & Dashboards - Visually track your plan’s progress using metrics to align strategic goals, quantify performance, and drive success.
  • Ongoing Review - Implement a process of ongoing review with key stakeholders.

Creating and Implementing Strategic Plans

While there is no "one way" to engage in strategic planning, there are some general principles to the planning cycle that will maximize efforts and lead to a more inspiring and useful end result. All robust strategic planning and implementation processes include four phases:

  • Assess : Collect and analyze internal and external data to understand your organization's current state.
  • Develop : Formulate a strategy to achieve your organization’s envisioned future state.
  • Implement : Put your strategic plan into action to achieve desired outcomes.
  • Monitor : Continually evaluate your plan to address obstacles, identify opportunities, and make adjustments.

This graphic demonstrates the four main steps to strategic planning.

GIP Strategic Planning Toolkit

For further detail on the strategic planning and implementation process, check out the Group on Institutional Planning (GIP) Strategic Planning Toolkit .

Core Competencies of a Strategic Planner

Although strategic planners can have a wide variety of skill sets, the GIP Strategic Planning and Management Subcommittee has identified the following core competencies for successful planning in academic medicine:

  • Collaboration and leadership
  • Process development and implementation
  • Project and change management
  • Analysis including quantitative and qualitative deduction, metric development, and data management
  • Communication, including verbal, written, and presentation skills
  • Group facilitation and mediation

Check with your institution for training and resources to build core competencies.

Access key resources, webinars, and recommended reading. Review examples of institutional strategic plans from academic medical centers. Check out the GIP Strategic Planning Toolkit .

GIP Strategic Planning and Management Subcommittee

Learn more about the GIP Strategic Planning and Management Subcommittee . Learn more about the subcommittee's recent hot topic discussions .

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Strategic Planning Learning Collaborative: Modules and Resources

Striving for Zero Suicide Prevention

The Striving for Zero Suicide Prevention Strategic Planning Learning Collaborative aims to advance local strategic planning and implementation in alignment with strategic aims, goals, and objectives set forth in California’s Strategic Plan for Suicide Prevention, Striving for Zero . The Learning Collaborative launched in February 2021 and builds on a previous Learning Collaborative offered by the California Mental Health Services Authority technical assistance team. Implemented by the Your Social Marketer technical assistance team, the Learning Collaborative is guided by the Strategic Planning Approach from the Suicide Prevention Resource Center .

Striving for Zero: California’s Strategic Plan for Suicide Prevention 2020–2025 was adopted in November 2019 and can be viewed or downloaded in English and Spanish .

For more information, contact us .

Help and Information

If you or someone you know is experiencing an emotional or behavioral health crisis, you are not alone . Please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline any time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

To talk to someone in English, call: 1.800.273.8255 (TALK)

To talk to someone in Spanish, call: 1.888.628.9454

Or click here to chat online .

For information about suicide prevention, visit www.suicideispreventable.org or www.elsuicidioesprevenible.org .

Guiding Documents and Reports

The following documents and reports apply what we know works in suicide prevention to practical strategies and approaches that can be employed in local communities.

  • Transforming Communities: Key elements for the implementation of comprehensive community-based suicide prevention published by the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention.
  • Preventing Suicide : A technical package of policy, programs, and practices published by the CDC
  • Connecting the Dots : An overview of the links among multiple forms of violence published by the CDC
  • National Strategy for Suicide Prevention : A Surgeon General’s call to action

Learning Collaborative Modules and Hand-Outs

Framework for suicide prevention strategic planning and collaborative meetings.

Striving for Zero Learning Collaborative Kick-Off Meeting (May 25, 2021)

The kick-off meeting discussed how the statewide plan can be used to inform local strategic planning efforts, and reviewed the framework for a comprehensive plan for suicide prevention that will guide the work. In addition, several counties who completed a strategic plan for suicide prevention provided a brief review of the process they used to develop their plans including community engagement, writing, challenges, and accomplishments.

  • View a recording of the meeting here .
  • View slides from the meeting here .

Striving for Zero Collaborative Meeting #2 (September 22, 2021)

In this meeting, the Collaborative learned from different county teams about how they developed their strategic plan and how they engaged stakeholders in a meaningful way. In addition, the meeting included information about resource mapping as a way to engage stakeholders and tips for developing a strategic planning timeline.

Striving for Zero Collaborative Meeting #3 (November 17, 2021)

This meeting continued to explore strategic approaches to training with a focus on postvention. Kara Connors, Senior Program Coordinator for Suicide Prevention in Marin County, presented on the development of their strategic plan. Susan Castillo (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Development Manager for the Behavioral Health Division) shared how Sonoma County strategically rolled out QPR throughout their counties and Erika Klohe (Community Behavioral Health Lead, Community Health Investment, Providence, Sonoma County) shared information about an equity-focused approach to interpretation at community events.

Describing the Problem of Suicide Modules (June and July 2021)

Striving for Zero Learning Collaborative Online Module #1: Describing the Problem of Suicide Prevention Part 1 – Suicide Deaths and Suicide Attempt Data

Online Module #1 focused on a review of various databases and tools available to describe the problem of suicide in local communities, including suicide deaths and attempts. This module included an overview of several new tools and dashboards available through the MHSOAC, the California Department of Public Health, and the California Violent Death Reporting System. Throughout the module, tips were provided for data storytelling, as well as how to apply safe and effective messaging principles when communicating about suicide.

Striving for Zero Learning Collaborative Online Module #2: Describing the Problem of Suicide Prevention Part 2 – Suicide Ideation, Help-Seeking, Protective and Risk Factors

Online Module #2 included a review of various databases and tools available to describe the problem of suicide related to suicide ideation, help-seeking, and risk and protective factors. This module included an overview of fatality death review teams and tips and tools to facilitate data integration across multiple systems and partners. In addition, a step-by-step process to facilitate a suicide prevention strategic planning resource mapping process was reviewed.

Requesting Suicide Data from a County Epidemiologist.  This handout outlines considerations and suggestions for drafting requests for suicide-related data from the county epidemiologist or other staff at the county health department. It was adapted from the Suicide Prevention Center’s  Making a Data Request .

  • Download document here  (Updated July 2021).

Describing the Problem of Suicide: A Guide to Accessing Suicide Data.  This document provides a description of available suicide data sources, their limitations and their caveats, and links to useful resources, websites, and reports. This guide is not a comprehensive or exhaustive list of data sources available; rather, the resources listed here serve as a starting point for collecting and analyzing suicide data.

  • Download document here  (Updated October 2021).

Training Modules (October)

Striving for Zero Learning Collaborative Online Module #3: Strategic Approaches to Trainings

This module reviewed and applied a selection of theoretical models to aid in understanding how to select trainings as part of a strategic planning process. This included a review of different suicide prevention trainings along the suicidal crisis path framework and how to develop a training plan. Drs. Joyce Chu and Chris Weaver, Clinical Psychologists and Professors at Palo Alto University, presented on suicide prevention trainings that are unique in being infused with culture and diversity.

Responding to Crisis and After a Suicide Attempt Modules (February and April 2022)

Striving for Zero Learning Collaborative Online Module #4: Crisis Response (February 16, 2022)

This meeting provided an overview of fundamental and timely questions and considerations for mapping and optimizing your community suicide crisis response continuum, including key questions and considerations regarding representation, alternative resources and models for providing crisis services, and additional resources to support counties in developing and supporting a comprehensive suicide crisis continuum of services and supports. Several guest speakers shared examples of programs or approaches that have been helpful in local suicide prevention efforts, as well as considerations for California counties as the crisis response system changes with 988.

Striving for Zero Learning Collaborative Online Module #5: After a Suicide (April 20, 2022)

This meeting provided information about follow-up activities and programs being utilized to support individuals, families, and communities after a suicide attempt. Guest presenters shared tangible examples about a wide range of follow-up programs and supports implemented in their counties to ease the transitions (and mitigate the enhanced risk) following a suicide attempt, and spoke about their experience in incorporating and implementing these efforts through their strategic planning efforts.

Striving for Zero Learning Collaborative Online Module: Screening and Assessment (October 12, 2022)

This module provided an overview of the rationale for selection and implementation of screening and assessment tools across community settings and systems of care. Topics addressed were the distinction between screening and assessment, including the range of care providers who can ideally perform these activities across various community settings as well as a spotlight on selected screening and assessment tools. We also viewed an example of successful planning for and implementation of the Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale (C-SSRS) within the Monterey County Behavioral Health Department, including training strategies for the behavioral health workforce. The module concluded with a review of available trainings, a discussion around Safety Planning Intervention (SPI) and next steps after a screening or assessment is conducted. Several guest speakers shared examples of programs or approaches that are being implemented or have been helpful in local suicide prevention efforts; presenters included: Heather Nemour, Coordinator of Student Support Services and Programs Division for the San Diego County Office of Education. Heather provided an overview of SDCOE’s efforts to conduct a needs assessment for school districts participating in this project. Ivan Rodriquez, Program Director for Visalia Youth Services. Ivan presented on Visalia Youth Services’ work implementing the C-SSRS and appropriate training in their organization as well as supports offered to local schools, community-based organizations and first responder agencies.

  • View a recording of the meeting here.
  • View slides from the meeting here.

How We Organize Ourselves for Planning and Implementation

Striving for Zero Collaborative Meeting #4 (January 19, 2022)

Suicide is a complex problem that requires ongoing solutions implemented by many sectors of society. No single agency or sector can solve it alone, but a diverse coalition that is truly representative of the community can ensure that this important issue gets the attention it deserves and can provide ongoing advice and support to existing efforts by local agencies. A suicide prevention coalition can inform a strategic plan, take essential steps to implement the strategy, and monitor progress toward measurable outcomes. This meeting provided an overview of fundamental steps involved in establishing or maintaining a coalition, including: 1) Establishing a purpose, 2) Recruiting the right people, 3) Developing a successful structure, and 4) Maintaining engagement. Several guest speakers shared examples of local suicide prevention coalitions: Fresno County, Los Angeles County, Riverside County, San Mateo County, Tulare County, and Ventura County.  In addition, a model for a broad-based community coalition was shared and can be viewed in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qFUMu-0ORdA

Striving for Zero Collaborative Meeting #5 (June 15, 2022)

Our Striving for Zero Collaborative meeting continued our discussion around providing follow-up supports and care after a suicide attempt with a focus on crisis response and the role of health care settings. In addition, we discussed available resources to support the strategic and purposeful roll-out of 988 in California communities and learned about the Find Your Anchor program. Vic Ojakian shared about the development, implementation and evaluation of Santa Clara’s Strategic Plan for Suicide Prevention.

Striving for Zero Collaborative Meeting (June 7, 2023)

This Striving for Zero Collaborative meeting provided guidelines and examples for public facing community reports, including considerations for messaging, format, audience, data sources and data presentation. Various county teams shared activities that took place during Mental Health Matters Month and/or events and activities planned for Suicide Prevention Week/Month. A discussion focused around how these events and activities advance goals and objectives in local strategic plans for suicide prevention, how outcomes are measures, and what types of activities show the best outcomes in relation to the staff and financial investment that is needed to implement them. In addition, the meeting highlighted strategic planning efforts from Glenn County and Humboldt County.

  • View slides of the meeting here.

Striving for Zero Collaborative Meeting: Engaging and Sustaining Coalitions (October 11, 2023)

During this module practical strategies and examples for engaging and sustaining coalitions were shared. Topics included options for coalition structure (e.g. formal, informal, or joining another coalition) and ways to engage coalition members and increase their participation and ownership of coalition activities. Several counties presented examples, including Amador, Glenn, Lake, Monterey, Napa, Orange, Riverside, Santa Cruz, and Tulare. Tips for coalition maintenance and further ideas to promote sustainability were also shared. The Module closed with a brief overview of coalition resources and upcoming modules and meetings.

Strategies for Populations At Disproportionate Risk for Suicide

Striving for Zero Learning Collaborative Online Module #6: Older Adults (August 22, 2022)

This module began with an update on the 988 Suicide & Crisis Line from Shari Sinwelski from Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services. The Module then explored strategies to focus suicide prevention efforts based on risk, specifically older people. Data on older adult suicide was presented by Jonah Cox and Zoilyn Gomez from the Office of Suicide Prevention at the California Department of Public Health. The TA Team reviewed key risk and protective factors for late life suicide and provided an overview of focused strategies for older adult suicide prevention. Tanya Bautista and Taishawna Alexander from the California Department of Aging shared programs and resources to support local planning and partnerships, and Mia Grigg described the Friendship Line’s services and supports. We then heard from two counties that have implemented successful strategies for enhancing protective factors and identifying suicide risk and depression for older people. Travis Lyon shared information about the county’s innovative elder outreach program, and Noah Whitaker described Tulare County’s Older Adult Hopelessness Screening Program and their Area Agency on Agency partnership to address the digital divide. The Module closed with a brief overview of the Know the Signs Suicide Prevention Week Activation Kit, which includes specific resources to support upstream suicide prevention for older people.

Striving for Zero Learning Collaborative Online Module #11: Understanding LGBTQ+ Youth and Suicide Prevention (September 13, 2023)

During this module guest speaker Dr. Stephen T. Russell provided an overview of the scientific consensus around suicide in LGBTQ+ youth: What we know, and what we still need to know. Dr. Russell walked participants through a developmental understanding of contemporary LGBTQ+ youth and mental health, and why disparities persist despite social change and acceptance. Strategies to create supportive communities, reduce mental health risk, and promote wellbeing were shared that be incorporated into local strategic planning processes. The Module closed with a brief overview various resources and toolkits for national Suicide Prevention Week/Month.

Means Safety

Striving for Zero Learning Collaborative Online Module (December 7, 2022)

This module of the Striving for Zero Collaborative focused on Means Safety for Suicide Prevention with an additional focus on prevention efforts for men. The presentation focused on background and principles for means safety and how such efforts can be included in strategic planning and implemented to support prevention efforts. A portion of the presentation included a review of the website, StrivingForSafety.org, which is a tool that counties can use to educate and empower community members and professionals on means safety. In addition, Shasta, Marin and Orange Counties presented on their efforts to raise awareness about suicide prevention among men. Shasta County presented on the “Captain Awesome” campaign and how it has evolved over time including discussion of the use of local male advocates in the promotional efforts. Marin County presented on the “Redefining Strength” which included a review of the campaign elements and a discussion of an event to create space for men and boys to have conversations around mental health. Orange County presented on the “Help is Here” campaign and the steps taken to implement an effective campaign to reach men around mental health and suicide prevention.

Evaluation and Measuring Outcomes

Striving for Zero Learning Collaborative Online Module (February 8, 2023 and April 19, 2023)

Our February and April modules reviewed practical strategies to measure outcomes outlined in a strategic plan for suicide prevention. Topics covered key steps to creating a program evaluation plan, logic models, writing objectives, cost benefit studies, and considerations for culture and inclusivity. February 8, 2023:

April 19, 2023:

Coordinated Community Engagement (Rural Counties)

Suicide Prevention in Rural Communities: An Overview of the Coordinated Community Engagement Model

This webinar provided an overview of the Coordinated Community Engagement Model and outlined an opportunity for California counties to participate in a rural county learning collaborative to apply the model. This cohort assists rural counties in exploring and applying the Coordinated Community Engagement model to advance local suicide prevention efforts from March 2021 through June 2023.

  • View slides here .
  • Download Creating Suicide Prevention Community Coalitions: A Practical Guide here .

Striving for Zero Rural County Collaborative Meeting #1 (October 8, 2021) This meeting provided an overview of the rural collaborative’s goals, which include convening a broad-based community coalition with a wide range of community partners. To further explore identifying and engaging non-traditional partners, the meeting led participants in a trivia game where clues prompted thought and discussion about the various roles in suicide prevention that many different members of the community can play. YSM team member and Homeless Initiatives Program Coordinator for Tulare County Health and Human Services, Noah Whitaker, presented on examples of broad-based community coalitions.

  • View slides from the meeting here .

Striving for Zero Rural County Collaborative Meeting #2 (April 11, 2022) This meeting focused on county teams sharing highlights of accomplishments over the last few months. The common themes included maximizing impact by using limited resources more strategically and building or expanding partnerships outside to address common goals. Highlights included innovative outreach strategies to reach older adults and providers, and partnerships with local art collectives and artists around branding and messaging. Also discussed were models of expanding crisis response programs that include mental health and peer providers working closely with law enforcement.

  • There are no slides for this meeting.

Additional Modules

This effort builds on a Learning Collaborative and ongoing suicide prevention technical assistance offered by the California Mental Health Services Authority. Past modules included (1) Selecting Interventions, (2) Means Safety, (3) Population-Level Strategies, (4) Reaching High-Risk Populations, (5) Postvention, (6) Building and Maintaining a Coalition, (7) Logic Models and Evaluation, and 8) Messaging. These modules can be accessed here .

Suicide Prevention Strategic Plans in California

Below are Strategic Plans for Suicide Prevention in California counties of which we are aware as of September 2021. Contact us to include your county or task force’s final suicide prevention plan.

  • Amador County (not available for public download)
  • El Dorado County Suicide Prevention Strategic Plan
  • Fresno County Suicide Prevention Strategic Plan
  • Glenn County Suicide Prevention Strategic Plan
  • Humboldt County Community Health Improvement Plan
  • Kern County Suicide Prevention Strategic Plan  ( En Español: Guía para la Prevención del Suicidio para el Condado de Kern )
  • Los Angeles County Suicide Prevention Network Strategic Plan
  • Marin County Suicide Prevention Strategic Plan
  • Monterey County Suicide Prevention Roadmap ( En Español: Guía para la Prevención del Suicidio para el Condado de Monterey )
  • Orange County Community Suicide Prevention Initiative
  • Riverside County Suicide Prevention Strategic Plan
  • San Diego County Suicide Prevention Action Plan
  • San Joaquin County Suicide Prevention Plan
  • San Luis Obispo Suicide Prevention Strategic Plan
  • San Mateo County Suicide Prevention Roadmap 2021-2026
  • Santa Clara County Suicide Prevention Strategic Plan
  • Santa Cruz County Suicide Prevention Strategic Plan
  • Solano County Suicide Prevention Strategic Plan

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CAL FIRE Strategic Plan 2024

CAL FIRE is planning for its future and setting a direction for what the coming years should look like for all levels of the department.

This includes collaborative conversations on department priorities, resources, employee support and the value of partnerships and external relations. To do this in a meaningful way—and to capture the unique role that every employee plays in delivering CAL FIRE’s mission daily—the Department is in the process of developing a new 2024 Strategic Plan, building on the previous strategic plan iteration from 2019. Through this page, we invite you to engage in this important process and track progress over time.

2024 Strategic Plan

Multiyear Strategic Plan

CAL FIRE is committed to safeguarding our core values, mission and vision for the future. Together we are building an enduring legacy and adapting to an ever changing environment.

View the 2019 Strategic Plan

Additional Resources

  • Strategic Plan Summary and Talking Points
  • 2024 Strategic Plan Presentation

CAL FIRE Podcasts

  • Episode 2: Shaping the Future
  • Episode 1: Five Points with the Chief

Strategic Plan Project Manager [email protected] (916) 516-0779

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UPCOMING TIMELINE

April-June - External Outreach

  • July-October 2023 -  Working Group to begin Development of Goals and Objectives 
  • October-November 2023 -  Compile and Design Plan
  • December 2023 -  Feedback on Draft from CAL FIRE Leadership
  • March 2024 -  Draft Plan to Publisher 

Final Plan Rollout – July 2024

Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) is an independent special district that provides sustainable, accessible, community-focused transportation options that are innovative, environmentally responsible, and promote the vitality of our region.

VTA provides bus, light rail, and paratransit services, as well as participates as a funding partner in regional rail service including Caltrain, Capitol Corridor, and the Altamont Corridor Express.

As the county’s congestion management agency , VTA is responsible for countywide transportation planning, including congestion management, design and construction of specific highway, pedestrian, and bicycle improvement projects, as well as promotion of transit oriented development.

VTA provides these services throughout the county, including Campbell, Cupertino, Gilroy, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Los Gatos, Milpitas, Monte Sereno, Morgan Hill, Mountain View, Palo Alto, San Jose, Santa Clara, Saratoga and Sunnyvale. VTA continually builds partnerships to deliver transportation solutions that meet the evolving mobility needs of Santa Clara County.

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VTA Overview

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The Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) Strategic Plan  will take VTA to the next level—and beyond.

This plan is the result of an analysis of the agency’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, as well as the input, observations, and ideas from VTA employees, customers, and members of VTA’s advisory committees and Board of Directors.

It addresses our current situation and provides a framework to build an exciting future. This plan asks everyone involved with VTA—beginning with the Board of Directors and including all employees—to embrace this approach and work to implement its philosophy. This clear and visionary Plan will guide us along the path of further establishing VTA as an industry leader, innovator, and a transportation organization worthy of serving Silicon Valley.

The Plan establishes our Mission, Vision, and Values, and ties everyday work into the overall direction and priorities of the agency. The Strategic Plan guides the development and implementation of VTA’s Business Plans, which outline the strategies necessary to reach our goals. This Plan will also serve to guide our budgeting process and allocation of resources.

This high-level Plan will provide direction and actively foster creativity, collaboration, and leadership. Ultimately, it is designed to be transformative; that is, to create a dynamic work environment that carries us boldly and confidently into the future. Our environment will simplify and stabilize decision making,

VTA employees will be encouraged to take strategic risks, and proactive action will be encouraged while excuses for inaction are discouraged.

Action Values operationalize our core values and all aspects of VTA's Strategic Plan. They are intended to be transformative, they envelop the core values, help them transcend their written definition, and help them evolve and improve in application over time.

Please visit our Headways blog for the latest news about VTA projects, programs, services and initiatives.

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Find information about the VTA budget, sales tax measures, audited financial statements and disclosures.

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Please visit our Open Data Portal for access to VTA's open data, including transit, active transportation, congestion management and more.

VTA History

VTA was created in 1972 by the Santa Clara County Transit District Act.

On December 1, 1994, VTA became the Congestion Management Agency in Santa Clara County, responsible for countywide transportation planning and funding and for managing the county’s blueprint to reduce congestion and improve air quality.

Prior to January 1, 1995, the County Board of Supervisors served as the Board of Directors of VTA. Since January 1, 1995 VTA has operated under a separate Board of Directors composed of County and city representatives, under state legislation.

On January 1, 2000, state legislation changed VTA’s name.

The  VTA Administrative Code  is the rulebook established by the Board defining how VTA is structured and how it conducts its business.

It covers the governance, administrative and financial aspects of VTA including:

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Strategic Planning

4 experts share their imperatives for strategic planning [New Report]

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Disruptions have accelerated changes, and the forecast of a recession in the economic climate has put more pressure on CEOs than ever before. Leaders set the vision, goals and outcomes that are tied to growth, and that road map to growth depends on a rigorous strategic planning process. Heading into 2024, leaders must ask themselves: “How effective is my approach?”

[Get the report] Strategic Planning: Identifying Gaps in Your Game

Strategic Planning: Identifying Gaps in Your Game - Get Report

Overwhelmingly, small and midsize businesses rely on a homegrown approach to strategic planning. According to data captured from over 1,500 CEOs in the Q3 Vistage CEO Confidence Index survey , 72% of CEOs report they rely on an internal process, 17% rely on known frameworks and just 11% rely on a third-party strategy consultant. Looking ahead, it’s possible that your previous approach may not have the necessary rigor to guide your business through the upcoming downturn while simultaneously preparing you for the next growth cycle.

Q3 CCI Slide 13 for strategic planning

To help CEOs level up their strategic planning efforts, this latest report by Vistage Research delves into the components of strategic planning. By comparing the viewpoints of strategic planning experts to the perspectives of CEOs, this report allows leaders to evaluate their efforts and identify potential gaps.

Experts from across the Vistage community — all of whom guide small and midsize businesses through the strategic planning process — weigh in on critical elements of strategic planning.

  • Chuck Gounaris, a Vistage Master Chair, shares key differences between strategic planning and operational planning, helping you discern if your plan is truly a strategic plan.
  • Jonathan King, President of Lean Leaders, shares how to level up your mission, vision and purpose statements to truly articulate how your company will transform customers.
  • Marc Emmer, President of Optimize Inc., discusses the importance of using a variety of data inputs to understand your competitive advantage and inform your process.
  • Sherrin Ingram, CEO of the International Center for Strategic Planning, delves into a framework to identify the most important key performance indicators (KPIs) to track and the cadence you should be looking at.

In the short term, CEOs must elevate their strategic planning efforts to navigate the challenging business environment of 2024. Recognizing that gaps in strategic planning now will positively impact your ability to capitalize on the next growth cycle projected to begin in 2025. Looking even further, the forecast of a global depression in the 2030s adds to the need for solid plans, long-term strategy, and a playbook for detecting and addressing gaps in your game.

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Q3 2023 CEO Confident Index Report: Focus on Strategic Planning

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Category: Strategic Planning

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As Vice President of Research for Vistage, Anne Petrik is instrumental in the creation of original thought leadership designed to inform the decision-making of CEOs of small and midsize businesses. These perspectives — shared through repo

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Strategic Project Management: Planning Strategic Projects

ProjectManager

Projects are often viewed as standalone events. They are, after all, temporary and create a deliverable when completed. But this is a short-sided view that misses the big picture. Projects are often part of an organization’s larger goals and objectives. Strategic project management understands this.

If you haven’t heard the term before, we’ll begin with a definition of strategic project management and explain how strategic projects differ from operational projects. We’ll also outline the roles of those involved in strategic project management as well as best practices to help you align projects with business strategy.

What Is Strategic Project Management?

Strategic project management looks at individual projects and how they can potentially benefit a company. This can be either by adding efficiency to the company’s operations or aligning with its strategic plan. It views a project through the lens of how it connects to the overall strategic plan of the company.

Therefore, the project has a goal, but that goal should also fit into the company’s strategy for success, growth and so forth. This is something that should be thought of when working on big or small projects. In fact, a company’s portfolio of projects should all work together to serve the needs of the company.

Usually, companies have a project management office (PMO) that will oversee the portfolio or program to ensure it meets strategic goals. They’ll decide if the mix of projects is appropriate or sufficient to deliver on the company’s strategic goals, whether there are the resources to accomplish this, if the right projects are being prioritized and if there is the flexibility to adjust to changes in scheduling or resources.

Project management software can help to manage your projects to meet their goals and the larger ones of the company. ProjectManager is award-winning project management software with powerful project portfolio roadmaps that collect all your projects and display them on a Gantt chart. Allocate resources, track time and manage tasks all from one screen. Users can filter the roadmap by assignee, project manager or customer to make forecasts, view who’s assigned to tasks and get key metrics to make more insightful decisions. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.

ProjectManager's roadmap

Strategic Projects vs. Operational Projects

Are all projects strategic? Not necessarily. A strategic project is connected to a company’s larger strategic plan. That could be to expand its market share by introducing a new product to the marketplace. The project that develops, manufactures and delivers that new product is strategic, even though it has its own unique goals.

But some projects are what is called operational. An operational project is essential for the day-to-day functioning of the company. It may or may not directly impact the strategic goals of that company. For example, some operational projects include routine maintenance, training programs, upgrades to IT infrastructure, etc.

Examples of Strategic Projects

Let’s imagine a highly successful manufacturing business that has two key strategic objectives outlined in its strategic plan. First, the company plans on opening new brick-and-mortar stores. And second, the company plans on selling its products online in the upcoming year.

These are strategic goals that require the execution of the following strategic projects:

  • Create a website and mobile app to sell products online.
  • Develop marketing strategies to promote the new stores, website and app.
  • Hire new staff and train current staff on new guidelines and procedures for online sales.
  • Build a new production facility and acquire machinery and equipment to increase its production capacity to keep up with the increasing demand.
  • Build new production warehouses and distribution centers to expand its storage and distribution capabilities.
  • Establish a logistics management framework for processing online orders.
  • Find new raw material suppliers to avoid any shortages in the supply chain.

As you can see, these projects are aligned with both of the strategic goals of the company and work cohesively together to achieve them.

Strategic Project Management Roles & Responsibilities

Understanding strategic project management is more than just defining the term. It’s important to know the roles and responsibilities of those who are involved in implementing it for the company. These are high-level positions for people who already are tasked with managing projects, programs and portfolios as well as the aforementioned PMO. Let’s take a moment to define these positions.

Project Management Office (PMO)

A PMO is an internal or external group, agency or department that’s responsible for defining and maintaining the standards of project management for a company. In that regard, the project management office prioritizes projects, establish project governance guidelines and group projects into programs to achieve benefits for the company and align projects with the company’s culture and strategy effectively.

Project Manager

A project manager is usually only responsible for one project. They’ll lead that project in planning, executing, monitoring and controlling as well as closing the project. They manage the team who executes the tasks of the project. The main role of a project manager is to deliver the project on time, within budget and meeting quality expectations. However, with strategic projects, they’ll be aware of the long-term and strategic alignment of the project they’re managing to the company’s goals and objectives.

Program Manager

A program manager is a more strategic role than a project manager. They’re responsible for the strategic project management of a program, which is a group of related projects. Therefore, they oversee the delivery of organizational goals, coordinating activity between multiple projects without directly managing them. However, they do manage the larger program to ensure it’s meeting strategic goals.

Portfolio Manager

The portfolio manager is closer to the program manager than the project manager in that they are managing a portfolio of projects and are responsible for the larger organizational goals of the company. The major difference between the two is that the program manager is working with a group of related projects. They both are thinking of strategic alliances with the company’s goals and objectives.

Strategic Project Management Best Practices

Now that we understand the concept behind strategic project management and the people involved in the project, the next step is to look at the best ways to implement it. The following are several tips that’ll help you make sure that your strategic projects are aligned with your company’s overall strategic goals.

Setup a PMO

If you don’t have a PMO, then you’ll want one. It’ll allow you to create and keep the project management standards that are important to you, such as making sure strategic projects align with company goals. It will also take a high-level view of all your strategic projects and allocate resources wisely to deliver the company’s strategic goals.

Track Projects Closely

A big part of strategic project management is tracking project metrics. The only way to know if projects are performing as planned is to monitor them and track essential metrics, such as costs, timelines, budgets and other performance metrics.

Determine the Feasibility of Projects and Programs

Before you initiate a project, you have to make sure that it’s viable and aligns with your company’s strategic goals and objectives. Every project should have a feasibility study, too. That will determine if the project fits into the larger strategy of the company as well as if it’s worth pursuing.

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Feasibility Study Template

Use this free Feasibility Study Template for Word to manage your projects better.

Estimate the Return on Investment of Projects and Programs

Being able to forecast the value of a project or program before approving it will help you avoid costly losses. There are several ways to go about doing this. One is a cost-estimate analysis, which determines if the investment is worth the beneficial outcome.

Evaluate Capital Budgeting Decisions Carefully

It’s essential to think of capital budgeting when making decisions about which projects to approve. Capital budgeting is one way businesses evaluate the potential profitability of new projects by creating accountability and measurability. This allows a business to understand the risks and returns involved in choosing a strategic project.

Conduct a Cost-Benefit Analysis

We’ve already mentioned a cost-benefit analysis, but it’s worth repeating as it’s such an important step in deciding which strategic project is right for the company. This process allows one to measure the benefits of a project and subtract the costs associated with the project to provide a clear picture of its value. This can be then compared to the overall strategic goals of the company to ensure they’re in sync.

Understand the Enterprise Environmental Factors That Surround Your Projects and Programs

One thing that can be tricky when trying to decide on which project is a strategic fit for the company is the environment in which it’ll take place. Projects that share objectives and work scopes are going to differ in the environments in which they’re executed. These environmental factors, such as market conditions, legal restrictions, government or industry standards, can impact the success or failure of the project.

How ProjectManager Helps With Strategic Project Management

Another best practice for strategic project management is the use of project management software to ensure they’re aligned with larger strategic goals. ProjectManager is award-winning project management software that has features to plan, manage and track strategic projects in real time. Live data helps you quickly determine how your projects are performing so you can make data-driven decisions to keep them aligned with the company’s goals and objectives. Users are always notified when there are any changes or comments, both by email and in-app alerts to facilitate collaboration. Our unlimited file storage turns the tool into a centralized hub for all your projects’ documentation. But that’s only the start.

Monitor Projects With Portfolio Dashboards

Once you’ve chosen a project as a strategic fit for the company, you have to make sure it follows the plan and delivers on that promise. Our real-time portfolio dashboards give you a high-level overview of all your projects in one place with easy-to-read graphs and charts that track cost, progress and more. Portfolio dashboards can be customized to match your process. Best of all, unlike lightweight alternatives, our dashboard doesn’t require a lengthy and complicated setup. It’s ready when you are.

Get Customized Portfolio Reports

When you need to go deeper into the data, toggle over to our reporting features. Here you can find several reports, including portfolio status, which can be generated quickly. Every report can be filtered to focus on only the date you’re most interested in, such as status, customer, priority and more. Reports are also a great way to keep the executive team updated on strategic projects. They can be shared across a variety of formats and delivered to stakeholders during project presentations.

ProjectManager's portfolio status filter

Our software has other tools to help track time and teams. Use our secure timesheets to track the time your teams spend on their tasks to keep resource costs aligned with your budget and get value data on team performance to improve productivity. For better security, we offer single sign-on to make it easier to change passwords and protect your data. Plus, risk management tools help you control unexpected events to deliver projects on time without overspending.

ProjectManager is cloud-based project management software that connects teams in the office, out in the field and anywhere in the world. They can share files, comment at the task level and more to foster greater collaboration. Join teams at Avis, Nestle and Siemens who use our software to succeed. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.

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Start planning your projects.

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BLM California Aquatic Resources Strategic Plan

BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT 2800 Cottage Way, Suite W1623 Sacramento , CA 95825 United States

A five-year strategic plan for the Aquatic Resources Program is attached (Attachment A). The strategic plan was developed by an interdisciplinary team from the California BLM’s Field and District Offices, and State Office.

The Aquatic Resources Program (formerly Aquatic Habitat Management Program) was created in 2019 following integration of the BLM’s Riparian and Fisheries Programs and the water resource component of the Soil, Water, and Air Program. The program was renamed the Aquatic Resources Program in 2021 to better reflect the diversity of the program’s core functions.

This strategic plan comes at a critical time for aquatic resources on public lands. Climate change is driving rapid ecological change, increasing wildfire occurrence, and prolonging droughts. At the same time, the diversity and intensity of public land uses are increasing. A renewed focus on the conservation and restoration of riparian, fisheries, and water resources is needed to build drought and wildfire resilience and to protect water supplies and aquatic habitats. Similarly, we need to ensure adequate human capital, technical expertise, and management tools are available to implement the program’s core functions. Outreach and partnerships are essential to accomplish this.

Questions about the Aquatic Resources Strategic Plan should be directed to Nina Hemphill at [email protected] and (916) 978-4663 or David O’Connor at [email protected] and (916) 978-4642.

Signed by:  Karen E. Mouritsen State Director

Authenticated by: James Barnes GIS & Applications Mgmt. Branch, CA-946  

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CBP Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility Strategic Plan - 2022-2026

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