Having led quite a few strategic planning processes, I have found that most management teams struggle with the concept of developing strategies versus discrete projects. Most management teams jump directly into tactical projects that more often than not, do not result in the desired strategic outcome.
Successful companies are typically those that develop strategic plans that drive toward their stated mission. These plans are summarized by establishing 3-5 strategic objectives or goals. These goals must be timely and measurable, so that success can be monitored. An example of a strategic goal might be to increase revenue by 15% annually over the next 3 years. To achieve this goal, specific strategies would be developed and implemented. One of these strategies might be to design a social media marketing campaign. This campaign could include strategies for email, website, Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook and blogs, and specific tactical projects to drive each of these components. This is a structured approach to move toward a specific goal.
Many companies just jump in at the tactical level. They decide to build a more effective website, but without the other social media components that all interrelate, they end up with less than optimum results. Additionally, this piecemeal approach may or may not result in increased revenue, as that may or may not have been the driver for the website redesign.
Strategic planning is a very valuable process for companies of all sizes and at all stages of development. The process helps to provide clear and measurable objectives which focus capital and human resources on things that ultimately produce results for the business.