Strategic planning support

Strategic planning support can improve the quality of strategic plans. A team of top managers should prepare the corporate strategic plan. This team needs support staff and services for effective and efficient completion of the plan.

Planning support varies with the size and complexity of the organization. Support for strategic planning can take varied forms. These can range from a part time assistant, to a large and well-staffed planning department. Support maybe added by external consultant help.

The following roles can support the strategic planning process.

Planning Secretariat

A planning support person or a person acts as secretary to the planning team. This includes support for organizing meetings and planning workshops. The support for the planning process may also involve -

  • Preparing and distributing discussion papers and reports
  • Collecting data
  • Making calculations
  • Carrying out enquiries for the team
  • Administration such as calling meetings, issuing agendas, circulating minutes, and so on.

In this role, the emphasis is on ensuring that these busy top managers do not waste any of their valuable time.

Planning facilitator

Secondly, support can take the form of skilled guidance for the planning process.

A strategic planning facilitator, from outside or inside can help the planning team by -

  • Explaining to them where the pitfalls are
  • Suggesting the most useful next steps.
  • Advising on who to involve in the process at each stage
  • Ensuring high involvement of the relevant managers in the planning process

I review the relative merits of using internal versus external facilitation capabilities at Strategic Planning Consultants and Strategic Planning Facilitator.

Participant in the planning process

There is a third possibility. This is to provide support for corporate strategic planning by including the strategic planning manager in the strategic planning team.

This role of participant in the strategic planning process can be additional to, or combined with, the other planning support roles. This can be a very challenging task. In all but the smallest enterprise, the planning manager or consultant acting in the combined roles would also need support. This probably entails having at least a small planning unit or department with requisite capacity for the following tasks.

Strategic planning support from
planning departments

Planning support can be in the form of services provided by a planning department to -

  • Provide unbiased, professional, well researched, independent studies for the top executives
  • Make economic and market forecasts
  • Provide position papers
  • Analyze risks
  • Explore new business areas
  • Suggest strategic options
  • Evaluate proposed strategies
  • Search for acquisition candidates or strategic partners.

Of course, many smaller organizations cannot afford such planning support. They may complement the planning team members with some external consultant help. They may also use external planning support services, or software to automate some aspects of the planning process.

Return from Strategic Planning Support to Strategic Planning Team.

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