Focus on Strategic Planning
The primary focus of strategic planning is to create a broad outline of sustainable actions that the organization will undertake for attracting more customers and increasing sales volumes. Strategic planning helps in achieving desired results because it is formulated only after analyzing the existing demand for the product or service as well as analyzing the threats posed by competitors.
The key objective is to create competencies based on the organization’s existing strengths and weaknesses in terms of the product or service offering. Aside from defining goals and objectives, strategic planning also deals with defining the path that should be followed to reach planned objectives and identifying the “who”, “what”, “when”, “where” and “whys” of implementing the plans.
Strategic Planning and Employee Involvement
Planners may formulate the most effective strategic plans, but they will produce the desired results only when they are properly implemented and followed by employees at all levels of the hierarchical chain. Sometimes, for personal gains, the top leaders do not share the finer points of the plans with other key leaders in the organization, which results in underutilization of the formulated plans. In an effort to get full credit, these leaders try to do everything on their own.
This can create human resource problems for the company, as employees may start exiting the organization, thinking that their efforts are being undermined. Organizations that are led by such people may fail to achieve planned objectives because the successful implementation of strategic plans ultimately depends on skilled and experienced employees. By sharing the plans with everyone in the organization, leaders will be able to provide the right kind of motivation to employees. By motivating employees, leaders will be able to elicit greater cooperation from them, which is necessary for the success of the formulated strategic plans.
Leaders will then be able to redefine the roles of employees for effectively utilizing their capabilities and talents in line with the formulated strategic plans. Leaders will also be able to align their business processes and define clear roles and responsibilities of those who are responsible for executing the formulated strategies.
Strategic Planning and Customer Orientation
Strategic planning is, by and large, “customer centric” (i.e. one of its important objectives is to serve customers better). However, this is often easier said than done because it is very difficult to assess the exact needs of customers. Strategic plans that aim at satisfying customer needs and expectations are measurable and have preset standards that help the organization in monitoring the actual effects of the plans. Strategic planning also deals with the formulation of contingency plans that help in preventing revenue loss in case a specific customer-centric plan fails to attract customers and generate the requisite amount of revenues. Value addition is another important aspect of strategic planning and can be described as a process through which organizations are able to understand, promote, and deliver the relevant “value” desired by the customers.
Strategic planning helps in identifying business opportunities that have not been captured by competitors. By identifying such opportunities, leaders will be in a better position to predict the areas where competitors are most likely to migrate in the near future. However, strategic planning may not always be successful as it has to function in a dynamic environment that is characterized by changing market conditions, changing customer preferences, and competitive aggression. Regular and timely evaluation is necessary for ensuring the success of the formulated strategic plans.