Put five different strategic planning consultants in a room, and you are like to get five different examples of strategic planning. Everyone has a twist on the basic methodology and process, which may be why strategic planning has failed so many organizations. Quality management professionals have been able to accelerate results by standardizing project methodologies. Organizations generally adopt Lean, Six Sigma, or Focus PDSA performance improvement methodologies, and they run all QI projects exactly the same way. By adhering to a standard process and toolbox, the results get better over time. The same can’t be said for strategic planning, as there is no standard, which makes providing examples of strategic planning somewhat tenuous.
That said, for all the examples of strategic planning, they must – and allow me to capitalize MUST – begin with an understanding that strategy is designed to do one thing and one thing alone; that being to move the organization from mission to vision. No matter how many examples of strategic planning you review, they are dangerously inadequate if the focus is not on moving the organization closer to its vision.
Similarly, all examples of strategic planning should, at the least, include measurable objectives, strategies, and tactics. If you are true to the craft, you should include goals as well, which would make your plan look like this:
Examples of strategic planning may also include strategic themes atop the goals. These are broad affinity groups such as quality, finance, customers, growth, etc., that provide some planning and execution structure around major operational areas. Some companies also include sub-objectives, others go all the way to the task level, and some have sub-goals. However, at a minimum, regardless of the examples of strategic planning you might encounter, the plan MUST have defined measurable objectives, and only once the objectives have been defined, then strategies and tactics, too. To create really excellent objectives, use the SMART methodology: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time bound.
For some concrete examples of strategic planning, visit our LaunchPad tutorial, that includes a short video explaining these concepts.