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Creating a Strategic Plan

by Yvonne Nellums, PHR, SHRM-CP, on October 16, 2018
Strategic planning is a systematic process of envisioning a desired future and translating this vision into broadly defined goals or objectives and a sequence of steps to achieve them.

This is the time of year that you generally hear companies talking about creating or updating their strategic plan in preparation for the next year. Generally, the management team leads the charge on developing the plan and reveals the defined objectives. No matter if a company is large or small, a strategic planning process is necessary to:
  • Set priorities
  • Strengthen operations
  • Focus energy and resources to ensure everyone is working toward common goals
  • Establish agreement and desired outcomes around the goals

A strategic plan is a roadmap to grow and improve your business. There are many different methodologies for strategic planning. While there are no absolute rules regarding the right framework, most follow a similar pattern. 

The process of developing a strategic plan helps to examine where a company is, where it wants to go, and how to get there. Developing a strategic plan might seem like an overwhelming process, but if you break it down, it is quite manageable.    

Before you start the process, it is necessary for the business to have a clearly defined vision and mission: 
  • A vision statement should set the overall direction for the team and should be bold and inspirational. A vision should describe the “what” and the “why” for everything that you do.  This should define the next three to five years.
  • A mission statement describes where you are today.  This should describe what you do, for whom, and how. This statement guides employees to make the right decisions that are in line with the company’s achieving its mission.
There are hundreds of books dedicated to the strategic planning process. The process can be as complicated or as simple as you wish. Here are some steps to examine as you begin your strategic plan:

Review the current state of affairs – Conduct an assessment to understand the current environment.  Many companies see themselves how they want others to see them, which can be a big mistake. For a more accurate picture, conduct internal and external surveys to get a clear understanding of how others see you. Also, conducting a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis sums up where you are now and provides ideas on what you need to focus on. From this analysis, you can determine any significant issues that may affect the overall well-being of the company. In addition, this helps to determine what requires the immediate and full attention of the entire management team.

Strategy formulation – Your executive team then develops a high-level strategy that will later create a basic plan that the organization understands and follows. Focus on where you want to take your organization.

Define what you wish to achieve – This step takes the high-level strategy and translates it into more operational planning and action items. This defines for everyone the expected objectives and helps identify for employees how to transform goals and opportunities into reality.

Accountability – You won’t get to where you want to go unless you are willing to hold your team accountable. You can develop the best plan for your organization; however, if your people aren’t invested in accomplishing the goals, you are doomed to failure. It is important for them to realize that these defined objectives are necessary for success.

Review and Adjust Your plan will be tweaked throughout the process. This phase is for ongoing refinement and evaluation. You review and adjust your plan as necessary.    

A strategic plan is a great tool to help take your business to places you never thought possible. If you haven’t done so, develop a strategic plan and update it monthly to review the actual results. It helps you to gain clarity on what you have accomplished and to see clearly what remains to be done in the future.

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Yvonne Nellums, PHR, SHRM-CP

Certified as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and Society of Human Resources – Certified Professional (SHRM-CP), Yvonne serves as Director of Human Resources for LandrumHR. She has over 34 years of experience of comprehensive human resources management. She is responsible for a team of certified HR professionals who deliver human resources expertise and training to our client customers. Her experience in the field has been acquired through focus on labor and employee relations, employment law compliance, talent acquisition, and conflict resolution. Yvonne is a Past President of the Greater Pensacola Society for Human Resources Management, past Legislative Director on the HR Florida State Council of SHRM, and served in various leadership roles for SHRM.

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