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Start Strategic Planning Now: Here’s a 6-Step Blueprint

Leaders spend a tremendous amount of time thinking about whether our organizations are headed in the right or wrong direction, and what course adjustments must be made. The key to having a complete, accurate answer is to create a strategic plan, communicate it internally and then hold the organization accountable year over year.

Crafting and executing a plan for the future increases productivity and profitability. Communicating that plan to the entire team sets expectations, defines success and builds the culture. At Moore, we have found a sweet spot in creating a one-year plan with a three-year vision.

I believe Moore’s strategic planning process, which we reproduce for numerous clients, to be best in class. I thought I would share how we do it.

Prepare. Moore operates on the calendar year, so when the “-ber” months arrive, I know it’s time to get serious. Much like a cook gathers ingredients before baking a cake, we gather insightful inputs from internal team members, external audiences and the marketplace. We conduct one-on-one conversations, conduct a culture survey, research industry trends and study a competitive analysis. We also consider emerging values and concerns that are important to our team: inflation and the economy; a sense of belonging; remote or hybrid work.

Assess. In a series of strategy sessions, we strive to remove blinders and really examine the business: how we have performed on our goals, what our five-year trend lines are showing, how customers are changing. We look for any “aha moments” regarding finances, staffing and productivity, as well as goals and strategic priorities we have and have not accomplished.

Align. Most organizations already have a mission and vision statement (and, if not, now is the time to pause and do it). Are they still true and accurate? The mission is unlikely to change over time unless we are adding new products and services, but we elevate the mission and vision as needed. We then perform a SWOT analysis – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats – so that we can uphold the strengths, mitigate the weaknesses, safeguard against the threats and zero in on the best of them all: the opportunities.

Build. Each strategic plan needs a format and framework, whether it is a 30-page plan or a simple one-pager. At Moore, I love where we have landed: a two-sided dashboard with our values and mantras on one side and our business growth goals and strategic priorities on the other. It’s a condensed version of our plan that is actionable and digestible, and every member of our team gets a copy.

Communicate. It is crucial to bring the team on the journey. We reveal our strategic plan in early January with a spirit of transparency and excitement. It is important for the entire team to feel it is their plan — because it is. They walk away from the meeting knowing the vision for success and the target.

Execute. Simply putting goals down on paper and saying them out loud raises the chances of achieving them, but leave nothing to chance. Moore’s leadership team checks in on how we are performing against our strategic plan during quarterly business reviews.

I hope you have found some of this helpful. If Moore can assist you in creating a strategic plan, I invite you to contact me personally at [email protected].

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