Whether you call it corporate strategy, strategic planning, or even annual budgeting, many companies spend considerable resources setting priorities for the year—or years—to come. This type of planning is critical, because business success often comes down to making the right choices. Creating a breakthrough strategy is about what you don’t do.
Strategic plans can vary widely, but all present a vision of where the company is headed, as well as actions to take to achieve that vision. Some also include intelligence on outside forces that could affect the company’s trajectory, detailed analysis of who the company serves (and why), or how success will be measured.
As diverse as the content of these strategic plans can be, the way companies go about creating them is even more varied. Some have complex, robust planning cycles, while others are pretty straightforward. Some take a lengthy, almost academic approach, while others hire consultants armed with snazzy acronyms.
No matter how you create your plan, all processes involve these four steps:
- Assessing your business’ current and likely future state
- Identifying possible pathways to solving problems or realizing opportunities
- Selecting and funding those pathways
If these steps seem obvious to you, know that you’re not alone. Good strategic planning isn’t magic. Creating an effective framework comes before creating a breakthrough strategy. And while that sounds simple, actually doing it can pose challenges. You have to ask the right questions. You have to get the right information and the right voices weighing in at the right time. And you have to tell the right story—one that is cohesive and clear—in order to get buy-in and actually execute the changes included in your plan.
At ThoughtForm, we approach these challenges with the same solution: visual thinking and explanations. Download our latest illustrated white paper, “Improving your strategy with visual thinking” to learn more.