Use Strategic Planning to
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Strategic planning can help you to improve the performance of your enterprise for the next several years.

By steering you to find and focus on the handful of really big issues facing your organization.

It is the size and impact of these strategic issues that gives rise to the importance of the strategic plan.

Effective strategic planning requires only a handful of procedures.

  • Start by engaging commitment
  • Purpose guides everything
  • Analyze the organization in its context 
  • Decide strategies
  • Evaluate plan execution.

Improve long-term performance of your organization, at dramatically reduced risk, with these five simple strategic planning process elements or procedures.

Let's look at each of these more closely-

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Engage commitment from those people who will be affected by the plan

This is how you Start and ensure Support for planning, and the implementation of the plan. The people you need to include are primarily the Chief Executive Officer and their immediate reporting managers, and the layer of staff or management at one remove from the Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

In turn the CEO must engage with the governing body, who in turn engage the beneficiary groups they are there to represent. Other stakeholder groups may possibly be affected by the implementation of the strategic corporate plan in the operation of the enterprise. Their interests must be respected. It must be remembered that the processes for engaging people operate in various ways in all the other stages of the planning process.

Set long term strategic objectives for improved performance of the organization

These objectives should clearly further the enduring Purpose of the organisation. This means knowing and spelling out for whom the organization exists, and what benefit the organization seeks to provide this group. Every organization, whether private company or nonprofit organization (NPO), should set out to benefit one clearly defined group of beneficiaries, and a single, long term, verifiable, target figure should be set to reflect what it is trying to do for them. If it cannot set such a target, the organization should be reformed until this becomes possible.

The intended beneficiaries must be defined as one homogeneous group; in the case of the business enterprise it is the owners or shareholders.

The benefit offered must also be homogeneous and capable of definition in just a few words. In the business context, the proposed benefit is something like ‘increased wealth’. The benefit must be capable of being targeted and of empirical verification- essentially then, it must be quantifiable.

It must be of perceived significance to the beneficiaries, e.g. the benefit resulting from the point of view of the shareholders is ‘improved prospects for an acceptable mix of capital gains and dividends within a risk profile that is tolerable’.

Generate strategic options

Formal strategic planning calls for the Analysis of key strategic factors, shortlisting the really major strategic issues and the generation of Alternative strategies.

First, an attempt should be made to provide comprehensive strategies; that is, the plan should consider all the truly important factors - the strategic elephants.

Secondly the strategies should not exhaust all available resources. Something should be held in reserve. This recognizes uncertainty and adds flexibility to the plan.

Alternative strategies can improve the Adaptability of the organization in two ways.

First, by explicitly examining Alternatives, it is likely that the organization will find Alternatives that are superior to the current approach.

Second, the organization will encounter environmental changes; if Alternative, contingency, plans have been considered for these changes, the organization can respond more effectively.

Processes of finding all the relevant significant strategic factors will be covered on other pages about SWOT analysis, and methods for generating the Alternative strategies will be under Business Strategy, for companies, or nonprofit strategy making for other kinds of organization.

Evaluate and Decide on strategies

It is all too easy to go with the bright ideas that emerge from brainstorming strategic alternatives. Effective formal planning uses systematic methods for evaluating the various alternatives. Evaluate to ensure that they do not violate any constraints. Rate the strategic options against the objectives. Ensure that all major strategic issues are addressed.

Then you are in a position to Design a set of strategies, based on a few key Decisions.

With this done you can proceed with some confidence to get approval from the governing body, and convert the strategic intentions into specific work assignments for individual managers, prepare budgets and project plans, and generally prepare to implement the strategic plans.

Monitor Execution of the strategies against the long term objectives.

Having planned the work of implementing or Executing the strategic plan, you need a system in place for working the plans as they get implemented. The plan should provide for formal reporting at agreed intervals. To allow for corrective action, the monitoring system should address the same objectives and factors determined as significant through the planning process. Too often there is a disconnect between the plan and how it is managed into reality.

Notice the bold letters beginning some words in the text above?

All of the above essential procedures for strategic planning can be summarized as follows -

Practical Corporate Planning is as useful as a S P A D E

Organizing to plan, engaging affected parties

Sizing up the strategic challenge, setting targets

Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats, and generate options

Devising Strategies from the options looked at

Evaluating and Actioning strategies

Put simply - find and decide what to do about the handful of really big issues facing your business or any other organization. We call these biggest issues ‘strategic elephants'.

The strategic planning process and tools, such as SWOT analysis, offered here will help you - directors, owners, managers - to find the elephants in your organization!

At we provide advice on how to prepare and implement practical plans to address the elephant sized strategic issues over the next few years.

These approaches, with their value-based management focus, will ensure that your business or non profit organization (NPO) will have long run superior performance, and your organization will also be at less risk of failure.

Wherever you are in the world, if you are keen to plan, develop, and manage a growing, thriving organization, you’ve come to the right place to learn about strategic planning, and the strategic planning process.

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StratXtra provides updates on what is happening here at the website, and comment on current issues in strategic planning.

The Argenti Strategic Planning Process can improve the Performance of Your Organization by helping you to find Strategic Elephants!

Argenti Strategic Planning is a process which, for more than forty years, has been used by over 2000 companies and NPOs around the world. Many of them have since become world class performers.

One key lesson from all this experience is that the starting point for a successful strategic plan is categorically not to announce a Mission or Vision Statement. Instead your planning team must move carefully through the ‘Argenti Purpose Sequence©’.
For a free copy, Get Started.

Another key lesson from the Argenti Strategic Planning experience is that, throughout the process, you must avoid being caught in the details. Ignoring this rule can derail your entire planning process. The Argenti Strategic Planning Process shows you how to concentrate like a laser on the ‘The Strategic Elephants’.

See the Executive Tour for a brief description of The Argenti System.