“Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate, and doubt to offer a solution everybody can understand.” – Colin Powell
This very famous quote defines leadership and how a leader adopts strategic planning and carves the path to success.
Strategic planning might sound insipid but is indispensable for an organization that strives to achieve greater heights and maximum returns. While adopting a certain strategy, the organization evaluates various pros and cons keeping in view the roadmap, broader strategic perspective, expectations, and an analysis of threats, opportunities, strengths and weaknesses with respect to the current business dynamics. Strategic planning provides a sense of direction and elaborates the underlying goals, which are measurable and realistic, goals that are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-bound).
Michael Porter wrote in 1980 that the formulation of competitive roadmap strategy planning includes consideration of four key elements:
- Company strengths and weaknesses;
- Personal values of the key implementers (i.e., management and the board);
- Industry opportunities and threats; and
- Broader societal expectations.
The first two elements relate to factors internal to the company (i.e., the internal environment), while the latter two relate to factors external to the company (i.e., the external environment). These elements are considered throughout the strategic planning process.
Roadmap to Strategy Planning Success:
- While adopting any approach, the specific set of alternatives is evaluated and validated to understand the weight of each and then the practical aspect is analyzed. The success rate is automatically increased with the well thought planned process.
- Strategic planning takes into consideration various questions such as redesigning of the portfolio of the products or services, exclusions, inclusions, modifications e.t.c to understand the performance perspective and change the course of the business activities accordingly.
- It also helps in understanding and identifying the distinguishing factor and USPs of a business to mark it against the competition in the market and adopt various measures of improvement into arenas where the paradigm shift has led to up-gradation. The redundancy factor is almost eliminated when a proper process is put into place and a set of protocols is decided.
- Strategic planning promotes business elevation as it identifies various strengths and weaknesses and suggests measures to overcome weaknesses and build on strengths.
- Leads to the overall development of a business in terms of leadership, execution, decision- making, planning and many more such organizational functions that may not have been looked upon due to other focus areas. Thinking strategically takes into account all those areas, which have not been considered important from a profit point of view but were still needed to keep the elements intact. Various business functions are such that is imperative but not profitable. With a strategic approach, these areas get identified, accounted for and roadmap is laid that is cumulative of everything.
- The success rate is higher when planning is done the right way, the key factors, competition, USPs are identified with minute detail. The reason that we call strategic planning as a roadmap to success is that the business actually profits if all the functions are performed efficiently and for each of the elements to perform that way, a roadmap that is conducive to overall development goals is quintessential. It makes the business ready for any unexpected diversions and broadens employee perspective and outlook.
Various tools and approaches adopted for strategic planning include a PEST analysis, scenario planning, SWOT analysis, Growth-share matrix and many more that delve into multiple aspects of an organization. These are the frameworks that have been developed by management consulting firms to provide a structured approach for strategic planning.
In a nutshell, it is incumbent for an organization, which works on the principle of achieving higher returns on investment and endeavours to attain a set of goals, to adopt strategic planning. The success comes to those who know their goals well and with a structured framework in place; the organization is all ready to take the risks in the ever-changing, ever-evolving business scenario. Only when a person knows his/her strengths, the fight becomes easy, but at the same time knowledge of the enemy becomes important. Hence, strategic planning takes into consideration the overall picture and is a holistic approach to success.