Strategy is the key to success, and a strategic plan guides an organization to achieve its goals.
What is a Strategic Plan?
A strategic plan outlines your business’s vision for the future and provides an actionable framework for achieving it. In other words, it’s the difference between being lost in the woods with no idea where you’re going or having a map and compass to guide you home.
A strategic plan helps organizations focus on what’s essential to achieve their goals, prioritize tasks, and manage resources. Everyone throughout an organization should buy into and contribute to the strategic plan — from junior-level employees up to C-Suite executives.
Elements of an Effective Strategic Plan
The exact structure of a strategic plan may vary, but common elements include:
- Executive Summary: This is a brief summation of the strategic plan. It should include an organization’s strategic goals, mission statement, and vision statement.
- Scope/Situational Review: The situational review summarizes how things have been going in recent years and provides a SWOT analysis, while the scope outlines how a business will operate according to the strategic plan.
- Business Context: This section describes the company’s environment by providing an overview of external factors, such as industry trends and the economy, affecting a business over time or within a specific period. It may also discuss internal factors, such as employee satisfaction levels or changes in management structure.
- Strategic Initiatives: Highlights a company’s strategic priorities and the tactics used to achieve them. Strategic initiatives should identify who within the organization should be accountable for each specific initiative. They may also include a forecast for what the company will look like once it achieves its goals (depending on the timeline and scope of your plan).
How to Write a Strategic Plan (Step-by-Step)
Use the following steps to build a strategic plan:
1. Identify Strategic Position and Goals
Work with key decision-makers and leaders to understand your company’s position within its industry and what you hope to achieve. Capture this in your strategic goals, which should have tactics tied to each one.
2. Prioritize and Actionize Planning Steps
Prioritize in order of importance for each goal identified. This may be done by first identifying the most significant problem or assigning priorities based on risk, cost savings, or other factors.
For each priority item, define two possible courses of action that could address the issue (one high-risk/high-reward option vs. one low-risk/low-reward option) so there are always multiple options available at each step along the path toward achieving strategic goals.
3. Collaborate with Internal Stakeholders
Take all your research findings and notes to internal team members, asking them for input. This can be completed with focus groups to represent various arms of your business.
4. Implement Strategic Plan
Once you’ve written the plan, roll it out throughout your organization. Share it widely and ensure that everyone who is accountable for tasks within it is aware of any deadlines. Track progress.
5. Update Strategic Plan
Once you’ve had an opportunity to view the plan’s progress after a predetermined amount of time, gather your internal stakeholders again to brainstorm methods for updating the plan if needed.
How Board Management Software Helps
Board management software is a must-have resource for strategic planning. The software helps track meetings, plan agendas, and assign tasks with ease. It also acts as secure storage for your strategic plan and other crucial documents. Your C-Suite team members may need to access data at a moment’s notice, so having it all in one central location proves critical.
Getting Started With OnBoard
Board management software helps organizations achieve their strategic objectives. But how do you determine the right board management software for your team? That involves identifying your specific business needs and the capabilities you’ll require to get the most out of a platform.
Ready to level up your board business? Check out our Board Management Software Buyer’s Guide to get started.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Does Strategic Planning Mean?
Strategic planning means outlining your business’s vision for the future and providing an actionable framework for achieving it.
How Do You Write a Strategic Objective?
To write a strategic objective, you must identify goals, prioritize planning steps, collaborate with stakeholders for input, then implement the plan and re-evaluate it on a regular basis.
What is a Strategic Plan Document?
A strategic plan document is a roadmap to your organization’s future. It describes the company’s mission, vision, and strategy to achieve its goals.
What is the Purpose of a Strategic Plan?
A strategic plan ensures all company stakeholders move in the right direction to help the organization meet its goals.
About The Author
- Josh Palmer serves as OnBoard's Head of Content. An experienced content creator, his previous roles have spanned numerous industries including B2C and B2B home improvement, healthcare, and software-as-a-service (SaaS). An Indianapolis native and graduate of Indiana University, Palmer currently resides in Fishers, Ind.
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