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Four strategic planning phases for growth!

Four strategic planning phases for growth!

By Olayinka Opaleye

Everyone or every organisation needs clear strategies to grow. This need has made it crucial to develop measurable goals backed by actionable plans to drive accomplishment. However, knowing how or where to start can be a challenge. Hence, we double down on critical thinking as we explore its use in the strategic planning process.

Four essential phases are required when adopting a strategic planning process for growth. Each stage forms a foundation or building block for the next, indicating practical steps to be taken before proceeding to another phase. If you are an individual seeking career advancement, health improvement, better relationships, or an organisation seeking business growth, follow these practicable steps.

Read also: Understanding consumer behaviour and its impact on supply chain planning

Prepare to plan:

Just like the famous saying goes, “he who fails to plan plans to fail.” Preparing to plan is simply getting ready to make plans. There must always be a level of preparation, however little, before planning or setting out to do anything. Preparation heightens the level of readiness, which contributes significantly to the success of any plan or process. This stage engages your mind and all other senses as they help you identify specific issues needing attention. This process interestingly spurs the review of personal or corporate vision, mission, and values, amongst other things.

Assess and plan:

Assessing and planning is the second phase of a strategic planning process. As preparation moves into full swing, the need to evaluate and start planning follows almost immediately. This can be effectively carried out through data gathering, which helps to survey the workspace from other people’s points of view for objectivity and openness. Specific questions trigger a series of observations through noticing trends, requesting feedback, checking what competitors are doing, seeking advice, predicting the future based on historical and present happenings, etc. SWOT analysis helps probe further as it gives almost a three-sixty-degree scan of self and environment with questions like:

What makes you stand out from the rest?

What do others see as your strength?

What makes you lose sales, clients, or customers?

What can you improve on?

What do others see as your weakness?

What trend are you aware of?

What changes in policies, technology, and social patterns can help you grow?

What options do your strengths give you?

What problems do your weaknesses expose you to?

What limitations or obstacles are you facing?

What are worrying things happening around you?

Moreover, this phase guides you through what to do about the identified goals and aspirations in the first phase.

Implement your plan:

The third phase, or implementation stage, requires you to develop well-informed and calculated goals along with the necessary steps to achieve them. Ultimately, it’s the phase where the laudable goals are executed as planned. For example, if your business is struggling due to high staff turnover, you may implement a staff retention plan by taking these steps.

 “Each stage forms a foundation or building block for the next, indicating practical steps to be taken before proceeding to another phase.”

Have clarity of expectations and responsibilities.

Provide comprehensive job descriptions for specified roles.

Discuss moves made by having a “stay conversation.”

Create a staff personal growth and development plan.

Inaugurate a board and other succession plans.

Amend hiring policies.

Review progress quarterly.

Read also: Omotayo Olaogun: Entrepreneur building a successful event planning business

Evaluate the impact:

Evaluation is the last phase of this process, even though it’s advisable to keep it rolling based on findings. Executing plans and achieving goals may only be as impactful as envisaged if monitored for success. This means execution is different from success and does not automatically translate to success. A plan is only successful when the expected impact is felt, sustained, and documented. Otherwise, there is a need to regroup for reassessment and repositioning. Measuring the success of a process alongside its outcomes can be done effectively with KPIs. To get an overall success rate for a plan, you must first be able to separate the process from the outcomes. Differentiating processes from outcomes during evaluation is essential. For example

Process: How are we hiring now?

Process: Did we provide comprehensive job descriptions for specified roles?

Outcome: How engaged and effective are the new hires?

OUTCOME – How smooth is the organisational workflow now?

Process and outcome: Are we meeting deadlines with quality work?

You can use strategic planning to create a step-by-step guide to achieving long-, mid-, and short-term goals within specified timelines to record tremendous growth in desired areas.

 

Call to action:

Which of the four phases of the strategic planning process do you think is most important and why? I invite you to email me at [email protected] with your response, feedback, in-depth analysis, or corporate engagement.

Olayinka Opaleye is a Wellbeing Specialist and Corporate Wellness Strategist. She writes from Lagos. Tel: 09091131150 or follow her on www.linkedin.com/in/olayinkaopaleye