ArchivesStrategic Thinking Archives — C. Lynn Northrup, CPA, CPIM
Everyone talks about doing strategic planning, but how many really understand it. I think it is simple and can be in three steps:
- Where are we?
- Where do we want to be?
- How do we get there?
How many businesses really take the time to stop and address these questions? Many organizations just go from day to day and never dig into the real issues raised by these three questions.
Strategic planning isn’t easy, but the payoff can be huge. It can alert organizations to opportunities in addition to challenges that lie ahead. We operate in a complex and rapidly changing world and gaining insight into the future can make the difference between success or failure. It can help avoid trouble or help to maintain control during a period of rapid change.
Assessing where we are involves looking at financial history, marketing, competition, problems, and opportunities. Pulling all this information together is hard work to create a foundation for planning.
Where do we want to be provides the results for visioning, innovation, and looking beyond right now. I think visons are the result of dreams of where we want to be. We then need to convert them into measurable goals and objectives. This can include profit and sales targets, market share, and ideas for new products and businesses.
We create strategies into how we get where we want to go. This is the nitty gritty of how we accomplish goals and setting new directions to take us into the future. Strategies can include some old established ideas in addition to new concepts that are completely out of the box. The planning process will detail the costs, resources, projected results, and a timeline for meeting our objectives.
The result of our planning boils down to what we need to do today to make the future be what we want it to be.