Strategic Planning Cycle(s)

(This question came to me anonymously from a VP of HR. - Steve)

Our company is heading into 2022 and plans to go through another Strategic Planning cycle in the first quarter. I'm concerned because we seem to go through this exercise and it's either incomplete, too narrow or just a way to justify the work that people are already doing.

So, I wanted to ask a few questions to see if you can share your experience and/or approaches that you've found to be successful.

  • Does your company stick with its strategic plan as stated, or does it move and alter if needed?
  • How often do you develop a strategic plan?
  • What metrics do you use? Are they based on the strategies that are created or are they tied to departments, executives, etc.?
  • Are the strategies you develop geared to moving the company forward or just give more amplification to current efforts?

Any input you can give would be so helpful. Thanks in advance.

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  • Our company SP changes periodically. The pillars (values) may remain steady for a few years but the content of focus changes each year. This year we are doing a revamp of our values which will impact the whole SP. SP is ongoing for our HR Department. Our HR SP is different than that of the whole company SP as that is more customer focused while ours if focused on our internal customers (people) typically. Some areas of focus for us are:

    Recruitment & Retention efforts - how can we get creative

    Analyzing Turnover metrics

    Explore HRIS needs

    Process Improvements

    Educational Training opportunities we can provide leaders

    Review promotion benefit tiers (is it worth the responsibility?)

    Develop & Maintain competitive benefits & pay

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  • The strategic planning process is fairly defined, but has a number of various 'flavors' or approaches. The main pillars are summarized below:

    (1) Where Are We Now?

    (2) Where Do We Want To Be?

    (3) How Will We Get There?

    (4) Who Must Do What?

    (5) How Are We Doing?

    Now...there are several sub-topics and workflows within each of the main pillars. I'm just showing you the high-level main pillars (#1 through #5 above). My first question would be ~ when you reference 'the cycle' ~ are you referring to all 5 pillars or a subset?

    It wouldn't be unusual, for example, to have quarterly cycles around #4 and #5. Or...maybe #1 is getting refreshed because it's been a few years since the external environment was thoroughly reviewed (which results in a lot of distributed homework / assignments).

    Steve Browne said:
    Does your company stick with its strategic plan as stated, or does it move and alter if needed?
    How often do you develop a strategic plan?
    What metrics do you use? Are they based on the strategies that are created or are they tied to departments, executives, etc.?
    Are the strategies you develop geared to moving the company forward or just give more amplification to current efforts?

     So...here are some short responses to your specific questions:

    Does your company stick with its SP as stated, or adjust if needed. IT DEPENDS. It's critical to keep attuned (aware and plugged in) to the external environment. A company needs a vision, mission, strategies, etc. ~ AND the company needs to adjust to an ever changing external environment.

    How often do you develop a SP? Frequent wholesale changes to a SP (all 5 pillars) might mean a company is in trouble. Pillars #3, #4, and #5 will see more updating and refreshing on a quarterly basis. Personally, I like to completely update / refresh all 5 pillars about every 3-years (deep diving the external environment).

    What metrics do you use? IT DEPENDS. Key Results Areas (KRAs) flow out of financials, functions, strategies, objectives, programs, projects, etc. There should be logical links (or linkage) from the executive level ~ to departments and people.

    Are the strategies geared to moving the company forward or just giving more amplification to current efforts? IT DEPENDS. Are pillars #1 and #2 clear? What do the shareholders want? What is the CEO driving to accomplish?

    These are great questions. The topic (and implementation) of SP is critically important to an organization. I am passionate about the process (if you haven't noticed). I'm always happy to share more ~ just reach out. Jay Schindler at (937) 660-6475.

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  • Stephanie and Jay did amazing jobs answering. I would offer periodic reference as a status check is necessary. Things change. We need to make sure we are still on the right path. Even without change, when left to our own devices, we drift. Having a mechanism to hold each other accountable is hugely valuable.

    Jay mentions below, but do you have defined core values and vision and mission statements? These are necessary for any organization to get everyone rowing in the same direction.

    Generally speaking, there could be a few Goals or KRI's (Key Results Indicators) for the overall company. Then each department (as Stephanie eluded) would have their own KRI's and KPI's (Performance) or activities/metrics that need executed each day. Everything roles up to the overall company KRI's.

    Keeping it simple increases the likelihood of executing. I have found 1-2 pages (probably per department) makes for an executable document.

    Happy to have a more detailed conversation: 513-444-0067, jdiebold@focalpointcoaching.com.

    Good luck!

    Jim

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  • My 2 cents towards your questions

     

    Point 1: often companies I have worked for and with will have key indicators that do not change as they are built on a progressive multi year plan for the business. However, there will always be one or two that everyone knows may be assisted. 

    Point 2: every two years it is deeply evaluated or rehashed. Every quarter it is reviewed and evaluated based on every function of the business. 

    Point 3: metrics start as focusing on the top level goals that were created. However each overall goal category is deployed across all departments. Each area /dept leader must identify, create and outline with thier team on an annually basis what thier departments "contribution / execution" to the organizational strategic plan will be in order to align all departments and work towards the plan as a whole for the company. This way it's not any one area that has ownership. All areas must support and contribute towards the plan! 

    Point 4:  both. However some of the work that may be recurring is needed because some efforts towards the plan, based off the schedule and timeline of the work varies. 

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