June 24, 2013 – Depending on the organization’s needs, strategic planning can take many different forms. Various strategic planning models include the Execution Flywheel methodology – which is the foundation of AchieveIt’s cloud-based software –vision- or goal-based strategic planning, or issues-based planning. The strategic planning models that might be most effective for your organization depend on various factors, such as organizational maturity, company size, and desire to elevate accountability and execution. However, all strategic planning models have a few things in common: Each model uses short- and long-term goal setting; quantifiable and measurable objectives; and actionable strategies and tactics assigned to specific managers and staff for execution. A critical component of every strategic plan is making sure it is in line with the company’s mission, values, and vision statements.
The Execution Flywheel is a six-stage design that guides the organization through the entire planning lifecycle: Focus, Plan, Align, Forecast, Monitor, and Report. Of all the strategic planning models, the Execution Flywheel does the best job in elevating accountability and driving execution, because of its emphasis on monitoring and tracking results, robust scorecards, dashboards, and electronic reminders and alerts.
For companies looking to align mission and vision with strategy, vision- or goal-based planning may be the place to start. By looking ahead to the future instead of the “now,” companies are able to see what strategies are most effective toward reaching their goals. Important steps of this planning process include: creating a mission statement, creating a vision statement, clarifying company values, and breaking down the plan into goals, objectives, strategies, and tactics. When comparing the two strategic planning models – the Execution Flywheel and vision- or goal-based planning – it should be noted that vision- or goal-based planning is captured in the Execution Flywheel through the first two stages of Focus and Plan. Thus, for organizations that want to keep things simple at first, but grow into a robust, best-of-breed strategic planning system, the Execution Flywheel handles both needs well.
Issues-based planning keeps the focu on the near-term, usually nine to 12 months out, and focuses on team brainstorming to identify the most pressing problems facing the company. Issues-based planning can be a baby step toward implementing a larger strategic plan, or it can be broken down into objectives within a plan. AchieveIt’s software includes many online tools that enable organizations to assess the current environment, including a strategic themes assessment, internal capabilities gap, external PESTEL analysis, and a SWOT analysis. These tools provide quantification of internal and external capabilities and constraints that the organization must address in the near future. The software even includes a strategic change agenda that enables organizations to convert strategic business intelligence gathered throughout the strategic planning model into a blueprint for their strategic and operational plans.