Strategic planning is the PROCESS by which the GUIDING MEMBERS of an organization ENVISION its future and develop the necessary PROCEDURES AND OPERATIONS to achieve that future.

The planning process can be viewed as a somewhat circular flow of topics and action steps, where the results from one step initiate study and action in the next step.   However, the process does not necessarily always flow in one direction.   Issues that arise in a particular step may cause the planning team to go back to an earlier step to do additional work.  If desired, the order of the steps can even be altered to suit the particular needs of the planning team.  The implementation step also does not end the planning process.  Analysis of results could easily result in additional analysis or a change in strategic direction.  Also, it is recommended that the plan be reviewed on an annual basis to verify that all the base assumptions are still valid and that the implementation plan is progressing according to expectations.

Steps of the Strategic Planning Process:

Areas of Influence

    Situation Analysis - identification of current issues

Plan Development



Plan Maintenance

Role of the Planning Consultant

Planning to Plan - housekeeping

Planning to Plan - readiness determination

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 Values Scan

Evaluation of Business Culture is Critical

Are the underlying assumptions valid and relevant? For the future?

Guiding Principles - top-of-mind beliefs and values that drive daily operations

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Internal Business Culture

Numerous internal, cultural factors determine the approach an organization will take to the planning process and how the resulting plan will be implemented across the organization. Some corporate soul searching will be required:

 [Models of Business CultureUnderstanding Culture]

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Knowledge Analysis

Explicit Knowledge is what is normally seen and thought important.  Drives efficiency.

  • Data
  • Descriptions
  • Policies
  • Procedures
  • Formulas
  • Processes
  • Contributes to efficiency
  • Leads to competency
  • Easy to replicate by others

Tacit Knowledge is hidden and not easily seen or recognized as being important.  Drives the competitive advantage.

  • Personal Knowledge
  • Experience
  • Know How
  • Know Why
  • Hard to articulate
  • Hard to transfer
  • Hard to copy elsewhere
  • High competitive advantage
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A strategic vision is usually thought to be solely future oriented.  [ deeper understanding ]

An alternate view from the field of organizational learning expands this to shared vision, which also include a present component.

Visioning Team - building conversations around what we seek to create together [kick-off meeting]

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Mission Formulation 

The mission is the ultimate purpose for why the organization exists.  [ deeper understanding ]

Building the vision/mission statements

Environmental Monitoring - External

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Competetive Analysis - market segmentation, competitor profiles

Does anyone (or can anyone) provide substitute goods or services to the same market place?
Early warning system to detect competitor's strategies.

Compete through

Understand competition and search for opportunities.  But, do not let them dictate your actions.  If you are reacting to the actions of others, you are moving away from the ability to create your own future.

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Business Modeling

  1. Identify Major Lines of Business (LOB).
  2. Establish Critical Success Indicators (CSI) for each Line of Business to meet the Mission.
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Strategy Development

Strategy development requires a two step process:

  1. Identify Strategic Thrusts, and
  2. Determine what Culture is required to support the above strategies.

The basic strategy will fall into one of three focuses (only one of which is price related):

  1. Operational excellence - low price, efficient customer service
  2. Product leadership - product excellence and innovation
  3. Customer intimacy - emphasis on customer relationships within a specific segment

Assessment of Strategic Beg - Strategy is a choice that is made after careful reflection of environmental conditions, internal capabilities, and expected return.  To some extent, the company is betting available resources on the success of a chosen strategy over alternate strategies. 

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Performance Audit 

Line of Business Analysis

SWOT Analysis

Risk Assessment

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Gap Analysis

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Transformative Networking connecting change leaders to enable self-organized grassroots change.

Next Steps While still conceptual, transformative networking offers the possibility of leading change through the networking of those already interested or involved in similar initiatives, effectively tearing down existing silos of practice that exist across disciplines and fields of work.  The next step is to develop a proof of concept built on the theoretical underpinnings above, possibly using Google Wave as the collaboration platform.  Included will be identifying the minimal structure and governance required to enable self-organization within the network while not constraining what might emerge.  Join this initiative and help create the future of organizing - networking communities of interest.    

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Last modified: July 19, 2009