Characteristics of Successful strategic planning process

02/08/2021 0 By indiafreenotes

Monitoring, measurement and feedback

“Even the best strategic plans require adjustments along the way,” says Linda Gabbard, president of Framework Initiatives Company, Inc. That means looking at both intended and unintended effects. Monitor your plan’s progress, measure outputs as well as outcomes, obtain feedback from all your stakeholders and stay nimble. Identifying and documenting key assumptions about the plan is essential. Periodically, challenge your assumptions. If the assumptions are no longer relevant, your plan won’t be either.

Unwavering discipline

Commitment to achieving strategic goals is still not enough you also need execution. Successful execution means having the discipline necessary to achieve your goals and make sustainable behavioral change. In individual terms, for example, someone might be committed to losing 10 pounds, yet lack the discipline to do what’s necessary to achieve that goal and maintain the new weight. It’s no different in organizations.

Understanding your culture

Working with your culture, rather than fighting it, can go a long way toward aligning and moving your organization forward. Whenever possible, swim with the current, not against it. If you try to force change, your plan is destined to be among the strategic initiatives that fail.

Sense of urgency

“Without a sense of urgency, it’s too easy to put off until tomorrow what should be acted upon today,” says Allen Hauge, president of Hauge Farms, Inc. Harvard Business School professor emeritus John Kotter describes it as “a gut level determination to act today.” It doesn’t mean lighting a fire under someone by manipulating urgency through false crisis, instead, it’s about lighting the fire within and inspiring a sustainable will to change.

Objective situational and stakeholder analysis

Without an objective and unbiased understanding of “what’s going on here,” you’re not likely to come up with strategies that will be very effective. Take a hard look at what’s happening externally and internally and pay special attention to the needs of your stakeholders.

Anchoring the changes in company culture

Recognize small wins, reward your people and reinforce the positive results your strategic initiatives have produced. Doing so will go a long way to taking strategy and change from just what you do to being who you are.


It’s essential that your people embrace the strategic plan as their own plan. Failing that, you’re asking your employees to be more committed to your goals than their own hardly very realistic. To accomplish this level of buy-in, it’s important to have transparency right from the start. To sustain the effort, employees should understand and be kept apprised of how their daily activities are helping achieve the desired outcomes.


Leaders can’t force change, but they can guide it. That means leading from the front, or as Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner would say, “modeling the way.” If employees sense that the leadership’s commitment is tepid, then that’s what leaders can expect in return.

Strategies that underscore your values and play to your organizational strengths

Strategy isn’t just about what anyone would do; it’s about understanding what YOU would do, based on your priorities and values. In the book Built to Last, Jim Collins and Jerry Porras talk about the importance of balancing the unchanging core (values and company purpose), while stimulating progress (change and innovation). Steve Brody, a former senior executive with Coca-Cola, adds, “And be sure to play to your organizational strengths. Not doing so is the equivalent of what Tom Rath describes as, ‘taking the path of most resistance.”

Clarity of purpose and realistic goals

It’s critical for your people to understand the purpose of your strategic initiative and have clear goals that are aspirational, yet realistic, notes Ned Frey, owner of Foursight Seminars Inc. He talks about it in terms of “purpose, focus and passion.” Clarity of purpose fuels the focus and passion required to achieve a sustainable, successful effort.

Ten Key Characteristics of Strategic Planning

  1. Communication Strategy: The development of a communication strategy is essential for the effective development and implementation of a strategic plan. In the communications strategy, you should determine who will be involved in the planning process, how they will be involved and what is being communicated to whom on the staff.
  2. Strategic Planning Task Force: The development of a core team of organizational leaders is mandatory in the effective creation of a strategic plan. Each task force member should represent a key business area or department of the organization to ensure the plan has organization wide input and buy-in. The task force meets regularly with clearly defined deliverables to be presented at each meeting.
  3. Vision Statement: An organization’s vision statement is simply their roadmap for the future. The direction of the organization should be broad to include all areas of impact but narrow enough to clearly define a path.
  4. Mission Statement: An organization’s mission is a definition of whom and what they are. Often mission statements include core goals and values of the organization.
  5. Values: Values are the organization’s fundamental beliefs in how they operate. Values can provide a guideline for management and staff for acceptable organizational behavior. Often values relate to the organization’s organizational culture.
  6. Goals: Goals are broad based strategies needed to achieve your organization’s mission.
  7. Objectives: Objectives are specific, measurable, action oriented, realistic and time bound strategies that achieve the organization’s goals and vision.
  8. Tasks: Tasks are specific actionable events that are assigned to individuals/departments to achieve. They, too, should be specific, measurable and time bound.
  9. Implementation Strategy: Once the plan has been outlined, a tactical strategy is built that prioritizes initiatives and aligns resources. The implementation strategy pulls all the plan pieces together to ensure collectively there are no missing pieces and that the plan is feasible. As a part of the implementation strategy, accountability measures are put in place to ensure implementation takes place.
  10. Monitoring of Strategic Plan: During implementation of a strategic plan, it is critical to monitor the success and challenges of planning assumptions and initiatives. When evaluating the successes of a plan, you must look objectively at the measurement criteria defined in our goals and objectives. It may be necessary to retool the plan and its assumptions if elements of the plan are off track.