S. Amir Kohan

Requirements for Strategic Planning and Management

Several strategic-planning processes begin with the extension of the annual operating budget into a typical five-year projection. This can be a valuable exercise, particularly for organizations that have operated on a yearly or even monthly planning cycle. Most organizations soon discover that five-year operational and financial forecasts, in and of themselves, are ineffective as strategic-planning tools because they are predicated on the assumption of no significant change in environmental, economic, and competitive conditions.

There are certain concepts for the creation of strategy and its management of it.

Aligning effort It’s important to ensure that all functions are aligned with the organization’s mission and goals. This is where a 10,000-foot helicopter ride is of benefit to have a broader view, ensuring that policies and practices are aligned with the strategy and intention.
Controlling drift This is important to ensure that an organization is not coasting along doing what it’s always done and missing the boat or, at worse, becoming blindsided because of disruption in its marketplace or industry with substitution.
Focusing on core competencies This means knowing what the organization is good at for its customer base and being sure to focus efforts on those competencies.

Systems thinking Keep in mind the inter-relations of both internal and external factors, such as stakeholders, industry forces, and the other influences on an organization. This includes looking at both the opportunities and the risks or conflicts and to what degree the risks are acceptable to the organization.
Using structure as a strategic level Does the structure of the organization support the strategy, or does it hamper it because of current policies and expectations within the organization?
Using culture as a strategic level Does the culture align itself with the intended strategy? As an example, if the strategy is to have front-line employees make return decisions on the spot with a customer, is the organization’s orientation program providing training and demonstrated shadowing for new front-line hires to develop the desired behaviors?

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