A Complete Guide to Developing a Strategic Planning List

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 20 April 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Strategic planning is a method of business management that uses a methodical and coordinated approach to achieve goals. You can use strategic planning to design your career, a team project or an organisation's progress towards its goals. If you want to create a strategic plan, it's important to know what to include in it. In this article, we explain the purpose of a strategic planning list and outline the steps you can take to develop one.

Related: What Is Strategic Planning? With Benefits and Tips

What is a strategic planning list?

Creating a strategic planning list is a business management method that assists organisations in communicating goals and the activities and actions required to achieve them. Strategic planning, when used correctly, may define a company's current state, where it wants to go in the future and how to assess success. Because every industry is distinct, strategies for developing a strategic plan may vary. Depending on your function in a company or your experience on the job, you may need to adjust your strategic planning tactics to meet your short-term and long-term objectives. The following are the fundamental concepts of strategic planning:

  • concentration of people and resources

  • establishment of priorities

  • adjustment of organisational direction

  • measurement of success

  • planning for future directions

  • alignment of stakeholder, shareholder and employee goals

  • collaboration at all organisational levels towards a single purpose

What tools are available for strategic planning?

A strategic plan helps you to identify potential obstacles to attaining goals and propose solutions to overcome them. Learning the many methods for developing, implementing and following up on a strategic plan provides several advantages in businesses of all sizes. With strategy and planning, you may create a road map to profitability, efficiency and potential growth. Here are some resources to help you create your strategic plan:

  • SWOT analysis: SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. SWOT analysis may assist a firm in determining what it's doing well and where it can improve in terms of business strategy.

  • PEST analysis: PEST is an acronym that stands for political, economic, social and technological factors. PEST analysis assists strategic planning teams in taking socioeconomic factors, such as social status, financial resources and education, into account when making company estimates.

  • Objectives and key results: (OKRs): This strategic planning tool generates a clearly defined aim and provides multiple outcomes that might assist you in working towards your objectives.

How to develop a strategic checklist

The following are the steps you may take to create a strategic planning list for an organisation:

1. Examine trends in the industry, consumers and competitors

Aligning with the organisation's defined mission and goals is the first step towards strategic planning. This begins with an examination of industry, macro and micro market and competitor trends. The ideal approach to begin this process is to investigate exterior rather than internal aspects of the organisation. Some concepts you may investigate in your research encompass the size and scale of your sector, the pricing patterns, prevailing government regulations and licensing, product fads, consumer concerns about product offerings and competitors.

You can access much of this information through research. Studying this information and conducting detailed research can help you create an effective plan. Understanding the market from the ground up and distinguishing your brand from rivals are two of the most important factors.

Related: How to Write a Development Plan (With Example)

2. Conduct a SWOT analysis

You may conduct a SWOT analysis after you've completed the research portion of your strategy. This study assesses the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of a company. This step is critical, as with many other procedures in strategic planning. Be mindful of taking the time necessary to offer an in-depth review of each component. The SWOT analysis considers internal forces (strengths and weaknesses) and external aspects (opportunities and threats). It's important to use this and other analytical techniques during this stage to gain a thorough grasp of your situation and the objectives you wish to achieve.

Conducting a SWOT analysis includes analysing:

  • Strengths: Consider what you do better than anybody else in your field. A highly trained workforce, a large quantity of money or financial resources, industry development, confident investors, a large client base, low barriers to entry and a high-profit margin can all contribute to your ability to outperform your competition.

  • Weaknesses: Your weaknesses may be a lack of money, obstacles to entry, a poor profit margin or a team with minimal training. When brainstorming ways to improve on vulnerabilities, the SWOT analysis might be useful.

  • Opportunities: These are areas in which you, your team or a company have the potential to flourish. Opportunities may encompass high brand awareness from prior product offerings, interested investors, patents, new product offerings and anything else external that provides a potential for success in some form.

  • Threats: A threat is anything external that has the potential to harm a company. Market trends, a shortage of cash flow, customer spending power or falling pricing for your goods are examples of threats.

3. Make a mission statement

Creating a mission statement can assist a company in defining goals and strategies for achieving them. A solid mission statement, which is unambiguous, may offer clarity to your business at all levels by identifying key principles and clarifying the organisation's reason for existing. These two factors are critical in strategic planning.

Most organisations offer their mission statements online for stakeholders to review. You can find ideas for your mission statement by reviewing those of similar companies in your field. Mission statements can be brief or lengthy. The goal is to explain why the company exists and what it can offer clients. Try to identify the specific value the company offers.

4. Develop a vision statement

A vision statement aims to show how you intend to carry out the mission statement. Remove jargon and industry-specific phrases from your vision statement to make it more accessible to everyone. A vision statement, as opposed to a mission statement, has the purpose of inspiring professionals rather than outsiders such as consumers or investors. A vision statement can help to support and sustain a brand's goals, purpose, values and mission. You may think about the responses to the following questions to build your vision statement:

  • Where do you see the brand in five to 10 years?

  • How will the organisation communicate with customers or make their lives better?

  • How to measure the organisation's influence on the industry and the consumers?

Once you have the answers to the above questions, you may create a vision statement outlining the organisation's future intentions.

5. Identify both short-term and long-term goals

It's important to define both short-term and long-term business goals after finishing the SWOT analysis and outlining the company's basic values. Long-term objectives are to be in line with the mission statement of the organisation, while short-term goals are milestones that can assist you in reaching them. Using the SMART goal framework can help you set clear, meaningful goals. SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based.

It's also important that you have a technique for measuring your goals for progress. Be sure to tailor and customise the objectives for the company. Some benefits of setting goals include:

  • creating and improving organisational culture

  • enhancing operational efficiency

  • altering and improving product and service offerings

  • increasing revenue and income

  • assisting with innovative marketing and sales methods

Related: SMART Goals: Definition, Template and Examples

6. Develop fundamental values and departmental goals

Developing fundamental values is another aspect of strategic planning. Not only do fundamental values aid in creating your mission and vision statements, they may also serve a dual purpose. Your vision and mission statements might assist you in determining your essential principles. Core values are typically one or two words that represent an organisation's essential ideas. Some examples may entail diversity, passion, integrity, dependability, quality, honesty and sustainability. Departmental objectives are the derivatives of these basic values. Departmental objectives contribute to strategy development and are an essential component of corporate strategic planning.

It's critical to define each of these goals yearly to allow your team to achieve them and change them as needed in subsequent years. A company's objective, for instance, might be to develop a new product line. As a result, a departmental goal for a research and development team may be to create a new product that solves challenges that consumers may have. Within the department, using defined, quantifiable and executable goals can aid in success. For example, organisations may give incentives to individuals who accomplished their goals before the deadline.

Related: Examples of Short-Term Goals to Improve Your Career

7. Specify the financial, budget and staffing requirements

The last component of a strategic plan is to identify the budgeting, funding and personnel requirements to meet the objectives. Each department is to have a role in establishing what they need to support the organisation's aim. Often, it's helpful to engage the help of an external adviser to provide guidance on the resource needs and allocation.

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