February 2011 Archives

Steps in the Strategic Planning Process

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*Note: The following article was written by Zach Cooper, a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Licensed Massage Therapist, and passionate Fitness Scholar.

The first step in the strategic planning process is to conduct a SWOT analysis. The purpose of this is that the organization's plan needs to produce a good fit between its internal situation, which is its strengths and weaknesses, and its external situation, which is the opportunities and threats in the business environment. By creating SWOT analysis, it is much more likely that the plan will produce a good fit.

The next step is to develop a vision. A vision is a dream of what an organization wants to become, and allows the organization to stay appropriately focused. Without a vision, it is difficult to know whether or not a procedure is in the long term interest of what the company hopes to achieve.

Once the vision has been established, it is then possible to create a mission statement. A mission statement describes who the organization is, what it does, and where it is going.

Developing guiding principles is the next step in the strategic planning process. Guiding principles will establish the framework within which its mission can be pursued and form the company's value system.

The next step is to develop broad strategic objectives. By creating broad strategic objectives, the abstract concepts of a vision and mission statement can be translated into measurable terms. This way, it becomes more feasible to assess whether or not a company's actions are helping reach the desired outcome.

Finally, once broad strategic objectives are in place, the last step is to develop specific tactics. These tactics must be well-defined, finite projects and activities undertaken for the purpose of accomplishing the broad strategic objectives.

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