Every business must grow and move forward as a unit, despite being made up of many completely unique parts-individual employees. No matter how stable any given company might be, problems and challenges will arise frequently and must be dealt with in the best possible manner. For this reason, managers and team leaders need to have a strategic planning process in place to help guide their team members through all of the fundamental elements of problem-solving.
The parts of the strategic planning process
Every strategic planning process has a number of elements in common. Chief among these is a mission and clear objectives-everyone on the team has to know what it is they're trying to achieve. You must have a clear picture of where you are now, and a plan to get to the goal. This plan should be broken down into steps that are easy to follow, and where the expectations at each step are clear. Next, each of the steps need to be followed, and the results tracked after each action. Finally, after the entire plan has been implemented, it may require ongoing monitoring to ensure that everything worked according to plan.
Strategic planning process variations
Every strategic planning process is open to some improvisation depending on the nature of the task at hand. For instance, on the one hand, the process might revolve around an ongoing concern such as sales quotas. On the other hand, large-scale changes may require a single solution that can be implemented quickly; this requires similar strategic planning, but without any provisions for dynamic plans over time.
Typically, the business world will divide strategic plans into different levels according to the nature of the challenge and on what level it's dealt with, though ultimately all problems and solutions coalesce around the ultimate goal for the business as a whole.
The importance of using a strategic planning process
Above and beyond all other considerations, it is exceptionally important that team members have a consistent strategic planning process to follow. This ensures a fast, efficient response to any issue. A set plan offers a sense of situational familiarity whenever a challenge arises, putting team members more at ease as they work through the process together. On the upper management level, the strategic planning process is essential in determining the required steps to move the company toward long-term objectives.
This set strategic plan is important to have in order to hand it down to all other people in managerial positions as well, ensuring an approach to issues that is consistent throughout the entire company. Such an approach makes team progress easier to monitor, shortens the learning curve for employees who might move to different teams within the company, and gives a clear-cut guideline for new managers to follow that has been proven to work.