9 Things to Deliver in a Strategic Planning Process

By Mike Brown, Brainzooming, past TMSA Logistics Conference keynote and TMSA member.

What can you expect from a "strategic planning process?" That question was the topic of several recent conversations.

As I explained it, our objective when leading a strategic planning process is to make sure the result is an innovative, implementable strategy.

That specific phrase (an innovative, implementable strategy) is very important to a strategic planning process. It creates a definition and set of expectations around what the process we’re facilitating needs to deliver.

With innovative, we look to deliver ideas that:

  • Are better than current strategies
  • Are differentiated relative to competitors
  • Create exceptional benefits and value for important audiences

In terms of implementable, the strategy needs to:

  • Fit the change management expectations of the organization
  • Be resource-appropriate (so it isn’t DOA because it will bust the budget)
  • Spell out clear implementation steps with DRIs and a timeline

And if it’s a solid strategy, it:

  • Addresses what matters for the organization
  • Strengthens the brand’s position
  • Integrates (in all ways possible) with other current and expected strategies

These specifics help determine what we need to prioritize within any strategic planning process:

  • If an organization already has innovative ideas, but is struggling to implement them, we head right toward spelling out clear implementation steps and making sure the ideas are sized for what the organization is ready to pursue.
  • If ideas are lacking, we heavy up on differentiation, innovating on potential benefits, and figuring out new ways to deliver value.
  • If an organization habitually chases tactics in the absence of strategy, we develop and introduce strategic thinking exercises to increase focus on what will create strategic impact.
  • And if there’s nothing much in place, THEN we’ll tackle all the pieces in a strategic planning process.

As you look ahead toward strategic planning, think about where you legitimately need to concentrate your efforts. Where do you need to focus to create an innovative, implementable strategy for your organization’s success? 

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