Part 1: Strategic Planning – Why Strategic Planning is Needed

Part 1 - strategic planningBy: Jonny Baker, Senior Manager, Strategic Management Consulting Services

The following is part one of a nine-part series on strategic planning. This blog series includes identifying the need for strategic planning, setting a level playing field, defining the organization and its purpose, and selecting the initiatives, goals, and actions that will make the organization successful.

Before you begin this article, write down your current business environment – consider culture, performance, and communication.

If it sounds like this, “Everyone runs in their own direction, individual leader problems always seem to trump organization problems, and my department leaders blame each other for problems in the organization,” then your organization looks like many others out there and needs some help. It is time for you to stop playing referee and to setup your organization and its people for long-term success.

Identifying the need, setting the resources aside, and bringing the right team (both people and attitudes) to the table is critical for the success of this endeavor and, frankly, any other endeavor the organization attempts to carry out.

WHY IS STRATEGIC PLANNING NECESSARY?

Let’s think through a typical day for an employee in your organization. How much guess work is involved in your employees’ days? Guess work can include menially completing tasks without considering the big picture, having an unclear understanding of what outcome is expected, or not knowing why the task even needs to be completed. How much time do they spend wondering what should be done, trying to complete their tasks with ambiguity, and then worrying about the outcomes of the job they just finished? If you are unsure, ask them and then listen as they explain what really goes on each day.

Similarly, does your organization feel confused? Are your financials screaming, ‘Where are we going?!?’ Are there mixed messages sending one signal internally and another externally regarding what makes your organization different? All your organization’s issues can be addressed, but it will take time, attention, and a lot of hard work. “We don’t have time for strategic planning,” says the executive putting out fire after fire. Most of the time, these fire drills could be easily delegated or at least better prepared for had the right team and employees taken the time to set an organizational strategy and enforced the agreed-upon outcomes.

THOSE THAT STRATEGICALLY PLAN ARE MORE SUCCESSFUL

One key item we want to point out is those that strategically plan are more successful than those who do not, according to Harvard Business Review.

We hear executives say, “I would hate to take my employees’ time away from their work.” Your employees are begging for this type of clarity. At first, you will hear moans and complaining of always being in meetings, but they will soon see how important these strategic planning sessions are for both them and your organization as a whole.  There is only one way to stop the hamster wheel within the organization – all levels must plan strategically. All organizations must make time to gather and identify organizational strategy across all levels. If the organization as a whole does not, it likely means that the organization and its success will be tied to the few individuals responsible for execution, whether they know it or not. Once those key individuals decide to leave the organization or decide to stop bearing the daily load, the organization will begin to slip and ultimately falter.

At KHA Management Consultants, we have experience working with organizations on Strategic Planning. We facilitate the process with the organization’s key constituents to ensure buy-in, ownership, and a new way of thinking about the organization and its stakeholders among all levels of employees. From a resource perspective, we primarily use our experience but also tap into the top-level resources such as those provided by Harvard Business Review and MentorPlus. Some of those materials, frameworks, and lessons have been used in writing this blog.

KHA Management Consultants, the consulting wing of KHA Accountants, PLLC, based in Flower Mound, Texas, is always looking for key clients ready to take their business to the next level. If you have a desire to improve, take the first step toward success with the strategic planning experts, and contact us at 972-221-2500.