Strategic planning is the process of developing a long-term vision for an organization and creating a plan to achieve that vision.
It involves analyzing the organization’s current situation, including its internal and external environment, identifying its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, and setting goals and objectives that will help it achieve its vision. Strategic planning is important because it helps organizations adapt to change, stay competitive, and achieve long-term success.
In order to make effective strategic planning, it is important to break it down into different stages of activities that are well structured and then build an iterative process.
Basic Activities of Strategic Planning
First of all, the strategic planning process typically involves four basic activities:
This involves analyzing the organization’s current situation, including its internal and external environment. This might involve conducting a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis, gathering market research, and reviewing financial data. The goal of this activity is to understand the organization’s current position and identify any potential challenges or opportunities that may impact its ability to achieve its vision.
Setting strategic direction
This involves using the information gathered during the strategic analysis to set goals and objectives that will help the organization achieve its vision. It might also involve identifying key performance indicators (KPIs) that will be used to measure progress towards those goals. The goal of this activity is to create a clear roadmap for the organization to follow as it works towards its vision.
This involves developing a plan to achieve the goals and objectives that were set during the strategic direction-setting activity. This might involve creating a roadmap with specific action steps, assigning tasks and responsibilities, and setting timelines. The goal of this activity is to create a concrete plan of action that will help the organization achieve its goals.
This involves regularly reviewing and evaluating the progress of the organization towards its goals and making adjustments as needed. This might involve collecting and analyzing data, conducting stakeholder interviews, and reviewing feedback. The goal of this activity is to ensure that the organization is on track to achieve its goals and to make any necessary adjustments to the plan as needed.
Fun Strategic Planning Activities
As we can see, strategic planning can be a complex and challenging process, so it is important to keep it engaging and enjoyable for all participants. Some fun activities that can be incorporated into a strategic planning process include:
- Creative brainstorming sessions: These can involve using techniques like free writing, mind mapping, or problem-solving games to generate ideas and think creatively about the organization’s future.
- Team building exercises: Activities like trust falls, problem-solving puzzles, or team sports can help build trust and improve communication within the team. These activities can be customized to fit the needs and goals of the organization.
- Vision boarding workshops: These activities involve creating a visual representation of the organization’s vision and goals. Participants can use images, quotes, and other creative elements to create a visual representation of what they want the organization to become. This can be a fun and interactive way to involve all team members in the strategic planning process.
- Gamification: Using games or other interactive activities to make strategic planning more fun can help engage and motivate participants. Gamification can involve creating a game or quiz to teach participants about the strategic planning process, or using games as a way to brainstorm and generate ideas.
Virtual Strategic Planning Activities
With the current COVID-19 pandemic, many organizations have moved to virtual strategic planning activities, and here is some guidance on how to conduct effective online visual strategic planning:
- Virtual brainstorming sessions: We can use a variety of online collaboration tools to organize an efficient brainstorming workshop, like Google Docs or the VUCAC Whiteboard. These tools allow team members to collaborate in real time and share ideas, even if they are not physically in the same location.
- Virtual team building exercises: There are many online resources available that offer virtual team building activities, such as virtual escape rooms or virtual trivia games. These activities can be conducted using video conferencing tools like Zoom or Google Meet and can help build trust and improve communication within the team.
- Virtual vision boarding: We highly recommend you build vision boards with a digital whiteboard. For example, the VUCAC Whiteboard allows team members to create and share digital vision boards in real-time based on pre-built professional templates. You can turn this session into a fun and interactive experience to involve everyone in the whole strategic planning process.
- Virtual gamification: There are many online tools and platforms that can be used to gamify the strategic planning process, such as Kahoot. These tools can help engage and motivate team members and can be customized to fit the needs and goals of the organization.
Virtual strategic planning activities have several advantages, including the ability to involve team members from different locations, the convenience of not having to physically meet, and the ability to save time and resources.
However, it is important to ensure that virtual activities are designed and facilitated effectively in order to maximize participation and engagement. This might involve providing clear instructions and guidelines, setting clear expectations for participation, and using tools and platforms that are easy to use and accessible to all team members.
Strategic Planning Activities Examples
Here are a few examples of strategic planning activities that organizations might consider incorporating into their process:
- Customer segmentation: This activity involves dividing the organization’s customers into different groups based on their needs, preferences, or other characteristics. This can help the organization tailor its products or services to better meet the needs of each customer segment.
- Competitive analysis: This activity involves analyzing the organization’s competitors and understanding their strengths and weaknesses. This can help the organization identify areas where it can differentiate itself from its competitors and develop a competitive advantage.
- Market analysis: This activity involves analyzing the organization’s target market and understanding the needs and preferences of its customers. This can help the organization develop marketing strategies that will be effective in reaching and engaging its target market.
- Resource allocation: This activity involves determining how the organization’s resources (such as money, time, and personnel) will be used to achieve its goals and objectives. This might involve creating a budget, allocating staff to specific tasks, or identifying outside resources that will be needed to achieve the organization’s goals.
Strategic planning is an important process that helps organizations develop a long-term vision and create a plan to achieve it. It involves analyzing the organization’s current situation, setting goals and objectives, developing an action plan, and evaluating progress.
There are many different activities that can be incorporated into the strategic planning process, including basic activities like strategic analysis and setting strategic direction, fun activities like brainstorming sessions and team building exercises, virtual activities like virtual brainstorming sessions and virtual vision boarding, and specific activities like customer segmentation and competitive analysis.
It is important for organizations to choose the strategic planning activities that best fit their needs and goals in order to ensure a successful strategic planning process.