The Seven Keys To Strategic Planning - Part 2 I like to define strategic planning by relating it to the idion: "You can't see the forest for the tress." Let me explain: We initially achieve success because we focus on the trees. The trees are what we're good at and what we like to do. But when we get to management and leadership, our tree is no longer important. Instead, we have to focus on the big picture and see all of the moving parts, which is the forest. This is where strategic planning comes in. Strategic planning is focusing on the forest (the big picture), having a vision for what you want your organization to look like in the future, and then coming up with a plan to make it happen. Do fully develop a successful strategic plan, let's look at the last four key areas. 4. Goals What tangible and intangible goals must be achieved for your vision to be fulfilled? Goals are similar to vision, but they should be more specific. These are the stepping stones to reach the vision and maintain that level of success. Make these actionable to make them work. For example, these goals could be providing great customer service or valuing and appreciating employees. 5. Plans How are you going to achieve your goals and fulfill your mission? What plans must you consistently execute to achieve success? This is the part where everything is put into action. While this can be the hardest part to figure out, it’s also the most rewarding in the end, and will give your employees the sense of purpose and success. The best way to go about this is to take your goals and work on what you need to do to accomplish them. So if your goal is to provide great customer service, then focus on coming up with a plan to achieve that level of service. 6. Processes What processes must be documented and followed to consistently execute your plans, achieve your goals, and fulfill your vision? Processes can be difficult to nail down. The best way to determine a step-by-step process is to go through each plan and goal. Then, document how to implement each one, while still considering your standards and ultimate vision. This is the nitty gritty of the whole thing. It’s one thing to write down your purpose, values, and vision, but it’s a whole other beast to actually plan and process out how you’re going to accomplish everything. I always tell people to be as specific as possible, so that there is nothing unclear about what you plan to do. 7. People Are you setting your people up for success with clear goals, roles, communication, and processes? If people aren’t communicating well, then goals probably aren’t being reached, and an organization’s strategic plan is not succeeding. All employees should know the organization’s purpose, values, vision, goals, and processes. This should begin at the top with executives consistently communicating these to everyone. Put it Into Action Developing a strategic plan is no easy task, but in the end it’s worth it. It not only gives organizations a clear vision and purpose, but it also allows employees to have a bigger objective than just their day-to-day work. Along with a clear purpose, it also creates the ability for organizations to better serve its clients and customers, because the action items are there to accomplish everything. Why are organizations that use strategic planning more profitable? Because they know what they need to accomplish, and they have the tools to accomplish it. In the business world, people feel more confident when they know their purpose and end-goal, and strategic planning lets organizations decide their future and aim towards success. Does your organization have a strategic plan in place? 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.