Many companies begin their annual planning process in Q4 of each year. So, I thought that I would pass along some of the insights of Don Roberts, Exotek. He is a principal of a consulting and operations-support company focused solely on the systems integrator. At NIWeek 2010, Don offered his advice on strategic planning as our market recovers.
More than 75% of the average company’s market value comes from intangible assets that traditional metrics don’t measure
-Kaplan and Norton HBR 2000
The primary goal of strategic planning is to build organizational focus and competency. It gives you the opportunity to balance short term pressures with your long term goals. You can also assess your market situation and react to the changing environment proactively. Then, you can establish organizational alignment.
Strategic planning also provides a recurring process whereby your organization makes choices:
- Why do we exist?
- What are our major goals?
- What resources do we need for a successful future?
- Who will be our customers?
But, strategic planning is not a way of making future decisions. You can’t create a blueprint of the future because there is no guarantee that things will not change. So, strategic planning should not be a long and drawn out process, but rather an efficient annual assessment of your business to make necessary course adjustments.
Don recommends beginning your strategic planning process, but clarifying:
- Mission – Why do we exist
- Core Values – What is important to us
- Vision – What we want to be
He cautions that semantics not important. The real goal is develop a consensus on the fundamental aspects of your company that will govern your strategic decisions.
Next, consider your product and/or service offering. Review what you are currently selling from your customer’s perspective. Why are they buying from you? What is your competitive strategy? Is your offering valued by customers? Sustainable? Hard to match?
Next, you can define what you want to accomplish in the coming year. These objectives can be hard or soft, but there can only be one set. Consider organizing them into four perspectives:
- Internal Processes
- Learning and Growth
Once your objectives are set, you can drive them into your annual operating plans. For instance, determine how these objectives translate into specific goals for your leaders and how they affect the personal development of your employees. How do your objectives impact the development plans for your products and services? And, what are your marketing and sales plans to capture business for those products and services.