Effective Strategic Planning

Strategic planningStrategic planning is more than just a long staff meeting.

The process of strategic planning is probably one of the most powerful tools available to an organisation, department or team. When a group work together to develop a plan they carry a strong commitment to implementing it away with them.

Yet too many people have had poor experiences with strategic planning sessions which fail to reach decisions, or where communication problems, dominant personalities and internal politics prevent constructive interaction.

There is a lot written about strategic planning, but much less on how to ensure your strategic planning session is effective.

What makes Strategic Planning Effective?

A successful and effective strategic planning session needs to:

  • build team commitment and establish a shared vision of your preferred future
  • forge agreement on the need for changes
  • provide direction, purpose and accountability
  • identify the resources required
  • renew your team’s energy and enthusiasm, and
  • ensure everyone is focused on the actions which count.

Achieving all these outcomes, as well as generating a sound strategic plan, is more likely with independent, professional facilitation. A good strategic planning facilitator brings structure, an impartial perspective and useful expertise, experience and feedback.

Experience shows that when your strategic planning session is run by a team member the most likely outcome is a long staff meeting, with all the inherent dangers of entrenched positions, ‘group think’ and resistance to change.

An experienced facilitator who is expert in the strategic planning process can guide your group to a successful outcome by introducing new approaches and helping participants think creatively about problems, issues and opportunities.

By keeping discussions focused, on track and on time, and ensuring all voices are heard, key decisions are taken in a positive way, making sure your strategic planning is most effective.

Special Offer

If you are uncertain whether to use an external facilitator for your meeting, or you need to convince someone else to use one, have a look at our Free Fact Sheet ‘Why Use a Facilitator?’

(More ideas on how you can facilitate effective strategic planning in the Quick Tips below.)

Strategic Planning Quote of Note

“A corporation without a strategy is like an airplane weaving through stormy skies, hurled up and down, slammed by the wind, lost in the thunderheads. If lightning or crushing winds don’t destroy it, it will simply run out of gas.”

Alvin Toffler

Strategic Planning Facilitation Quick Tips

Involve your facilitator in designing your planning session. Their experience with many other groups offers valuable insight and new perspectives into what will be most effective in achieving your goals for the planning process.

A competent and experienced facilitator will have the flexibility, skills and ability to guide your group to its ultimate objective via a range of different paths. Encourage and empower your facilitator to modify planned activities in response to the group dynamic on the day.

Consider using an external strategic planning facilitator for other important meetings such as project debriefs, incident reviews, evaluations sessions, change implementation programs, employee forums, community or customer consultations and leadership programs.

And Call us on 03-9859 3924 to discuss how we can help make your next strategic planning workshop your most effective yet!

Incident Reviews – Learning from Experience

Not everyone learns from their own mistakes, but the best do – as I’ve discovered through facilitating incident reviews.

Organisations which review any incidents and near misses are able to learn from their own experiences. However, the very best organisations are also keen to learn from other people’s experiences, not just their own.

Strategic business consulting - incident reviews

The sad story of 10-year-old Sam Boulding, who died of asthma a number of years ago when his parents were unable to call an ambulance on their faulty telephone, offers your organisation an opportunity to learn from other people’s experiences and reflect on how incident reviews might help you avoid a similar situation.

Phone service provider, Telstra had not technically breached its customer service standards by not repairing the broken phone line. But community expectations of the information and service which should have been provided to Sam’s home were higher, with then Communications Minister Richard Alston describing as “pretty slack” Telstra’s system of dealing with priority needs customers.

Following the widespread criticism of its telephone fault repair processes and its handling of priority connections, Telstra faced rigorous new licensing conditions and reviewing operating policies, systems and processes to ensure such an incident does not happen again.

Lessons and Incident Reviews

Do any of your customers have special or critical conditions which might cause them to rely in some way on your products or services? Would you even know? If you do know, is the information available to all the people in your organisation who might need it? Have you had any ‘near misses’ that warrant formal incident reviews to avoid similar situations arising in the future? Are you ruthless in facilitating incident reviews internally, before external pressure forces an incident review on you?

Do you have the right operating policies, systems and processes in place to fulfil all reasonable expectations? (And given that community expectations of what is reasonable can change quickly, maybe even some which might seem a bit unreasonable?)

Reviewing issues such as these should be a central part of your regular business strategic planning process.

 

Quote of Note

“Yesterday’s miracle is today’s intolerable condition.”

Lewis D Eigen

 

Incident reviews help your organisation learn without having to endure the worst experiences some organisations face. Contact us for details about how we can help by professionally facilitating your incident reviews on site and in confidence.

Enjoy this post? Leave a comment below and add to the discussion. Thanks!

Where to use the strategic planning process

The strategic planning process has value in many different contexts, not just at the top of an organisation.

Consider how you can apply it to different parts of your business, to specific projects or challenges, and to your personal as well as your professional life.

 

Strategic Planning Process Quote of Note:

“One person’s strategy is another person’s tactics – what is strategic depends on where you sit.”

Richard Rumelt

 

The strategic planning process is frequently even more important that the ultimate plan that is produced because it builds team commitment to your vision and understanding of the underlying purpose of your actions.

Can a crisis plan really help?

You need a crisis plan

I’ve heard it said that process of creating a Crisis Plan is pointless because the crises you plan for are never the ones which happen.

While there may be an element of truth, if for no other reason than any good planning process includes reducing exposure to identifiable risks, it isn’t the full story.

A crisis plan helps you to respond more effectively, even if the situation was not anticipated during the crisis planning process.

There are many different crises which might happen to you. Yet in all of them the situation is characterized by a need to make critical decisions under pressure from a lack of time and information, and in the face of a rapidly escalating cost (in human as well as financial terms) for the resources needed to communicate and implement those decisions.

A crisis plan, at the very least allows you to collect information and allocate resources without the time pressure generated by a critical situation.  So even in a totally unexpected situation, you will be somewhat better prepared as responsibilities have been already been allocated for decision-making and available resources identified in advance, during the crisis planning process.

Crisis Plan Process

The crisis planning process can focus decisions and establish a common point of view from which your team can respond in a crisis, confident in their interpretation of the organisation’s position and supported by your crisis plan.

Any crisis plan is a flexible guide to action.  And it is only ever as good as the crisis planning process which produced it. A sound crisis planning process will not only reduce the risk of crises occurring.  It will develop the skills your people need to respond appropriately should the unanticipated actually ever occur because they have the confidence afforded by your a crisis plan.

What questions does this raise for you?

Business Marketing and Leadership Consulting Services

Our consulting services help you get more business – especially from the web.

How we do this varies according to your needs.  Our expertise includes marketing and strategy consulting, group facilitation and leadership development.  We share our expertise as a professional meeting facilitator and via conference presentations and seminars, online training and website development. The scope of our business consulting services covers the three key areas which underpin your business success:

Strategic Planning FacilitationStrategic Planning Facilitation Services

Successful organisations are built on a strong strategic foundation. With her depth of insight and practical experience, Kerrie Mullins-Gunst is a highly sought-after meeting facilitator who specialises in helping leadership teams to navigate complex business issues.

  • Facilitation of strategic planning, evaluation and review for business owners, leadership and management teams, executive groups and boards
  • Business strategy implementation and change management programs for special project groups and specific departments in business, government, professional and industry associations or other organisations
  • Stake-holder communication and group facilitation services, incident management or review meeting facilitation and identification and proactive negotiation of smouldering crises and controversial issues facing industries and organisations

See more details about our Group Facilitation Services

Marketing Plan TemplatesCustomised Marketing Plan Templates

Successful organisations translate their strategy into actions of value for their clients. As your marketing consultant, KMG Consulting will create a special customised marketing plan template, including powerful internet marketing strategies, to translate your marketing objectives into real business growth.

  • Conduct a marketing audit, clarify your marketing objectives and develop a customised marketing plan template for your business, including relevant online marketing strategies
  • Internet marketing consulting and review of your online marketing strategy, including website development, social media marketing and internet marketing promotion, mobile websites, QR code marketing, interactive marketing, video marketing, membership systems and more

See more details about our Business Consulting Services and Internet Marketing Consulting

Leadership DevelopmentLeadership Development

Strategic plans and Marketing templates are worthless if your people don’t have the leadership skills to deliver. Fortunately developing these skills is easier now than ever, thanks to new online technologies.  We offer time-saving online leadership coaching and training as well as and face-to-face contact to ensure your key people quickly develop all the skills they need to deliver your strategy.

  • Individual executive coaching services
  • Management group coaching, training or mentoring programs
  • Seminars, workshops and presentations to develop the full range of knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours required for successful and meaningful leadership.  These can be delivered either online or at your workplace, meeting or event
  • Online and email support packages for mentoring and leadership development programs

See more details about our Leadership Coaching Services We facilitate your organisation’s success through professional consulting services that identify and implement the most effective business strategy, marketing templates and leadership development programs for your individual situation and requirements.