Ten Commonly Asked Questions About Strategic Planning

We have had a very positive experience working with Organized Change. They designed a survey for one of our global teams to help design an organizational change and develop scenarios for our strategies. Organized Change is a dependable collaborator who can be relied upon to help us meet our goals.

David Chaudron, PhD

What makes for an effective strategic plan?

The short answer: an organization's understanding and response to the future.

A slightly longer answer would be that a strategic plan should include:

The purpose of the organization, flexible enough to take into account various contingencies; The resources to fulfill the plan and make systematic changes to the organization; The fulfillment of short-term, intermediate and long-term goals as a means to long-term survival and growth; A description of the interests and involvement of those have influence and are influenced by the organization, and a way of obtaining their agreement; A way to measure the success of the plan, and the success of the organization as a whole.

What's the difference between a vision and mission of a company?

A vision is some desired future state; A mission describes the purpose of the organization.

Does our company really need a vision?

No. More than that, a vision can be counter-productive, and here's the reason why. When an organization focuses on one desired future, the often don't plan for when the future is less than perfect. In addition, the future may not be perfect, nor bad, but just different that what you might expect. As a result, developing a vision rarely prepares your organization for the future.

What are scenarios?

Instead of developing a vision, organizations should develop alternative versions of the future, called scenarios.

How do you develop scenarios?

There are a variety of ways to develop these scenarios and can variety in their complexity and quantification. A simple way is to develop "best case- worst case scenarios, but this method rarely encourages innovative thinking, and rarely takes into account disruptive technologies and economic activities. A fuller description of how to develop scenarios is in our new book, Nailing Strategy Jelly to Your Business Tree, available at Amazon.

How are scenarios part of strategic planning?

Scenarios are one of the first things an organization should create when they begin to develop their strategic plan. Otherwise, how can the organization develop a plan if they don't have a clearer understanding of the environment they will confront in a few years? Depending on the scenario, an organization may need to drastically change itself and reshape its core competencies.

What is a core competency, anyway?

A core competency is a fundamental capability of an organization that performs 1) to world-class standards or 2) significantly better than any current or would-be competitors.

What is SWOT?

SWOT stands for strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats. It's a laundry list of things to look for when comparing your organization's core competencies with the scenarios you develop.

How do we involve employees in developing the strategic plan?

Some organizations get input from employees on current issues and concerns as part of assessing their current situation. Others include employees in getting reactions to already-decided on strategic plans, while others actively involve employees in developing the plan itself. There is no one right answer: It depends on your circumstances.

How do we deal with resistance to change?

The more involvement by stakeholders, the lesser the resistance to change. These stakeholders can include owners, managers, customers, employees and vendors.

How do we implement our strategic plan?

Even I can't answer that in one paragraph. You might want to read other articles on our website, or read one of our books.