The Seven Keys To Strategic Planning - Part 1 Want to be more profitable? Be more strategic. A study by OnStrategy, a leader in on-demand strategic planning services, found that businesses that use strategic planning are 12 percent more profitable. All organizations, no matter the size or kind, need strategic planning at some level. Without it, the organization will lack focus and a goal, allowing the workforce to simply exist instead of moving forward in a unified direction. Strategic planning is having a vision for what you want both to look like in the future, and having a plan to make it happen. To achieve an effective strategic plan that has a well thought-out vision and involves all employees, consider these seven key areas of inquiry. 1. Purpose Why does your organization exist? Why do you do what you do? What is your value to the world? These questions attempt to get to the bottom of why an organization is around in the first place. Defining the purpose helps answer all of the questions that follow, and it helps an organization reflect on why they matter and gives a chance to refocus. I work with businesses all the time to help them figure out their purpose and overall strategic plan. One example of a purpose statement was from a senior living organization, which basically stated that their purpose was to enhance the quality of senior living every day. 2. Values What standards do your organization live and work by? What do you want to be known for? What values do you need each employee to emulate? Whether an organization realizes it or not, there are standards and values that inform every decision. Determining the most important values and communicating them to all employees is essential for the success of a strategic plan, because it creates a similar benchmark for everyone to follow. If they aren’t communicated, then the standards are useless. When I’m helping organizations through this, I ask them what they want to be known for. Think about organizations that you respect. What do you like about them? After that, think about organizations you don’t like, and why you don’t like them. This will get you on the right track to think about your organization’s values. 3. Vision What is your one-, three-, and five-year vision for your organization? What does it look like today compared to what you want it to become? The strategy here is to have a clear and well thought-out plan for what you should be striving for as an organization. If you have a vision of how you want to grow and succeed, you can more easily tap into that as you make the tough decisions. For that same senior living organization that I helped determine their purpose, we worked out clear values and a clear vision. Their vision was based around their products and services, and their resident, employee, and family experience. It helps to answer this question: What are the key segments of my business that we need to be successful? Jason Kiesau Jason Kiesau has been studying personal, professional and leadership development for most of his adult life. As the Leadership Developer for Oasis, a Paychex® Company, he travels the country working with leaders in the areas of self-management, relationship building, strategic thinking, and development of high performing teams. Jason's purpose is to inspire confidence in everyone he works with, and he is passionate about helping them pursue and achieve meaningful results.