Basic Strategic Planning Model
Simple but Powerful
This basic strategic planning model will give you the results you want in a fraction of the time. This model uses the SWOT analysis technique. By using this technique and the what makes a good leader templates you will be able to complete your plan in an afternoon!
Who should use this model?
There are several alternative models to strategic planning - This basic or simplified model will meet the requirements of most managers, including
- managers in large organisations whose annual strategic planning activities must fit within the overall corporate strategy, or
- small to medium business managers who do not require the rigour of traditional planning.
- managers who are new to strategic or business planning
Upgrade your strategic planning skills; Review our specialist strategy pages. Visit our
strategic planning centre
today for more valuable information on strategic planning and methodology.
What is missing from the basic model?
Strategic Planning tends to result in the creation of a large number of analysis pages that describe in detail the various trends that affect the
This model fast tracks the analysis phase by prompting you with a series of professionally designed questions whose answers are populated directly to a swot analysis template. Eliminating the unnecessary paperwork that accompanies a business planning exercise, whilst retaining the valuable information that your plan will be built on.
What makes a good leader?
In a world where we are facing increased pressures for our limited time, good leaders focus their effort on the things that matter the most, this basic strategic planning model will suite leaders with a penchant for action.
10 Steps in Strategic Planning
To achieve the results that you want, take one moment to review the 10 steps and get started today!
- Download the free strategic planning templates
- Read this web page for instructions and definitions
- Download the free ebook strategic planning (optional – pending release)
- Complete a SWOT analysis
- Seek feedback
- Identify Actions
- Implement your actions
- Celebrate success
Strategic Planning Guides
The secret to strategic or business planning is; you need to know your business and your industry, and have an awareness of world trends. If that scares you, relax we will provide you with tools and information to simplify this step for you.
Step 1: (Have you downloaded your free templates?)
Step 2:(Have you read this web page?)
Step 3:(Have you downloaded your optional free ebook?)
Yes, to all three (or two, if you do not want my free ebook) Excellent!
Step 4: Complete a SWOT Analysis
If you look at page two of your free template, you will see the heading SWOT Analysis.
It should look something like this
Definition of SWOT Analysis:
A SWOT is a summary of your businesses internal Strengths and Weaknesses and your businesses external opportunities and threats.
The secret to a SWOT is in knowing which issues are relevant for you to consider. Each quadrant of the SWOT requires that you consider different elements of your operating environments. Sound Hard?
You will love this, to get you started I have compiled a list, things for you to consider ensuring that you can start working on your strategic plan today! This valuable information is yours free on our strategic planning questions page.
Now, using the template provided and information on this site complete your SWOT analysis. This should take an hour or two if you are doing it alone, do not rush it. Take some time to reflect and consider.
Tip: Leadership style in strategic planning - be consultative, ask all of your people for input, seek opinions from your customers and suppliers – not a big survey, just ask whenever you are talking to them – ask questions like
- What do you think we are good at doing?
- What can we do better?
- Where do you see the industry in 5 years?
- What are our competitors doing? (You will be surprised how much information you can get)
Is your SWOT complete? Fantastic – however as this is a generic template, is there anything not on the template that might be relevant for your industry?
Are you stumped, procrastinating or perfecting your SWOT analysis – then stop! You are wasting valuable action time. By the time that you have workout with great precision what is going on in the world today – it will be tomorrow and things would have changed.
If you think of something new tomorrow or next month, simply update your analysis.
Discover the difference:
Strategic Thinking verse Strategic Planning
What makes a good leader site tips;
- If you are constrained by corporate strategy then focus more on internal strengths and weaknesses rather than on the industry or macro environments, however
- If you work in a division with unique products, you will need to analyse the market forces affecting your products.
- If you are a cost centre do not worry about the economy, corporate will worry about that for you – check with them
- If you are a division of a lage business, consider why they keep your division around and also analyse how to ensure your divisions survival
- Your analysis is only as good as your knowledge, if you do not know what is going on in your industry then you need to gain this awareness through industry associations or journals.
Great your SWOT analysis is compete!
Step 5: Prioritise!
Someone once said – more than 2 objectives in a year is no objectives! Even in a good year, you will only achieve a couple of big goals. If you take on too many goals, you will end up spending a lot of time achieving very little.
That is why we need to prioritise.
How to prioritise
I have seen all sorts of ranking methods, ranging from gut feel to complex mathematical point scoring techniques.
My advice is to rank based on your gut feel and ask others to do the same and compare results,
- If you all rank the same – go with your gut
- If you all rank differently then discuss your differences. If you cannot reconcile your differences then think of some criteria to assess the SWOT and rank each.
Identify the strengths to you want to build on, the weaknesses you want to develop into strengths, the opportunities you want to take advantage of and the threats you need to address
Pick the top four or five unique items on your lists.
These top four from your SWOT might be all strengths, all threats, or any mix of the four categories. There is no rule here
Step 6: Seek feedback
Why Seek Feedback?
People are Biased. All people have their own bias, which effects how they see their business and the world in which their business operates. These biases stem from experiences, past successes and old strategy, which worked in the past.
Your business may have used a short-term contract or temporary workforce to handle unexpected large rush orders, allowing you to minimise inventory held and the cost of holding inventory. Because this strategy has worked in the past does not mean it will continue to work in the future. Why? In the current climate of high employment, it might be wise to reconsider your inventory holding strategy as it could be difficult to obtain the required short-term labour.
Biased: You might think your team has a strength of being knowledgeable, your manager may see your teams strengths as knowledgeable and innovative.
Note: Managers rarely identify, as a weakness, a lack of leadership skills in their area.
Important Point - How to seek feedback!
Your strategic planing process will deliver the best results when you seek input from others. The quality of your SWOT analysis will improve if you seek input from someone who will be candid with you, ideally someone who is familiar with your industry.
Your challenge is to identify someone who will be candid with you and will be open in a discussion about your SWOT analysis. Ask this person to challenge you on your internal analysis particularly the weaknesses. It would also be worth discussing your external opportunities and threats.
Managers in large organisations have the advantage of being able to discuss their SWOT analysis with their peers, employees and with their manager.
Step 7: Identify Actions
Here is the money step, list your actions to address the identified issues.
What plans do you need to put in place to ensure
- Your biggest threats do not destroy your business
- You take advantage of your key opportunities
- The strengths in your business are leveraged to your advantage
- The identified weaknesses in your business are not going to limit you in the future
Add your actions to the action plan in your template.
Step 8: Reflect
It is always good to stop and think, reflect for a day and consider
- Does this feel right
- Am I biased or objective
- Have I consulted with people who would tell me what they are thinking
- Can I afford this strategy
- Have I asked my employees for their views
- Is this strategy consistent with corporate direction and values
It is a good idea to speak with others on your day of reflection, speak with your mentors, manager, peers and employees.
Step 9: Implement your actions
What can I say? You are using the basic strategic planning model because you have a penchant for action.
Action for Results – 3 Key points
- Leadership is about getting started anyone can procrastinate. Only a leader knows the value of getting started. If you are delegating your actions, spend time with the person doing the action to help get them started.
- Take one moment, no more than one hour a week, keeping track of your actions update the status of your actions and the work remaining.
- Great leaders, who are good at starting things, may not be the best at finishing those things. Make your actions and goals visible – put up a chart where you will see it regularly to remind you of your strategic planning actions.
Step 10: Celebrate success
Return to our Strategic Planning Center
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