Today’s guest about is by Manunya Nookong. I met Manunya through the social networking site, Smaller Indiana. I had an excellent conversation with her about strategic planning and I asked her to write a guest post.
When people hear the term “strategic planning,” they think of something rather complicated, intimidating or time-consuming, and it makes them lose interest. I am a big fan of strategic planning. I use it because it really works and is highly effective, I just want to see if there’s a way to make people think that it is not that hard to do. All it needs are strong attention to details and determination to improve business.
Of course, strategic planning takes time, but think of what a business can gain after it’s done: a new way to do things around the organization that helps employees to perform better. The result of their planning effort is invaluable. Employees will learn more about their business environment and what impact the business’ productivity.
A strategic plan brings business a clear direction and strong sense of purpose. Employees get to be creatively and effectively involved. They will learn what they need to do, how exactly they can contribute, and when their tasks need to be done. At the end of each strategic plan, employees will be able to see and evaluate the result of their effort.
Now, what is strategic planning? Strategic planning is a management process that includes direction and a series of steps that helps a business do things to achieve their goals.
A strategic planning model can be broken down into four different phases.
Research and Analysis
–Analyze business situation: Understand what goes on in the situation. Find out what the issue is.
–Analyze organization: Find out where the issue started, internally or externally, and who is responsible for it.
–Analyze key audiences: Key audiences are people who closely interact with the business’ issue. Find out who they are, define them in the plan and see what they want or expect according to the issue, what their relationship with the organization is, and what their communication involvement with media and society look like.
-Establish business goals and objectives and a position of the organization (or its products or services): Develop realistic, specific and measurable objectives that identify business’ expectations. For example, in company A, its use of corporate blogs increases the number of visitors 25% during the first two quarter of 2009. An objective can be to increase (change in behavior) Web visitors (audience) 15% (level of change) through the use of corporate blogs by the end of 2009 (timeline).
–Create action and response strategies: Create action plans and direction for the organization activity and key messages.
–Use effective communication: Find key points about the organization and communicate those through new key messages.
–Choose communication tactics: Consider all communication channels (face-to-face, internal media, advertising media, news media, etc.) and find the most appropriate channel to use with each key audience for the organization’s current issue
–Implement strategic plan: Develop time-line and budget to implement the strategic plan.
–Evaluate strategic plan: Assess whether business objectives have been met, and see if they need to be modified/revised, or can continue with the current plan and activities. Measure the effectiveness of each chosen tactic according to the business objectives.
These nine steps will help strategic planners and employees become more organized in their planning and execution. A strategic plan does not have to be complicated. Start with a simple one and get familiar with the idea. Before long, it will become second nature. Employees will start to think and work strategically and they will certainly see improvement in their organization.