• Scroll to top

 alt=

  •   / Sign Up
  • HOW WE HELP CLIENTS
  • schedule your conversation

Strategic Planning Process Definition, Steps and Examples

Published: 03 January, 2024

Social Share:

Stefan F.Dieffenbacher

Digital Strategy

single post blog featured image

Table of Contents

Organizations use Strategic Planning to gather all their stakeholders to evaluate the collection of current circumstances and decide upon their ongoing goals and benchmarks. They decide upon long-term objectives and establish a vision for the company’s future.

The efforts behind an organization’s Strategic Planning Processes are vital to its success, and yet, while many organizations acknowledge they need to do this kind of planning, they often don’t understand how to make it a reality. In this article, we explain the reasons behind Strategic Planning and how to make your Strategic Planning Process as powerful as possible.

What is a Strategic Plan

Strategic planning is a systematic process wherein the leaders of an organization articulate their vision for the future and delineate the goals and objectives that will guide the trajectory of the organization.

What is the Strategic Planning Process

Strategic planning is a process of defining an organization’s direction and making decisions on allocating its resources to pursue this direction . It involves creating a long-term plan that outlines the organization’s vision, mission, values, and objectives, as well as the strategies and tactics that will be used to achieve them.

Strategy is often misunderstood, which is surprising because fundamentally it’s a pretty basic concept. Strategy is a clearly expressed direction and a verified plan on how to get there. Your Strategic Planning Process formalizes the steps you’ll take to decide on your plan. The Strategic Planning Process facilitates using a Strategic Execution Framework that articulates where you’ll invest in innovation and where you can cut costs.

As far as business development planning is concerned, your Strategic Execution Framework is a vital tool for driving innovation, but first you must define the process you’ll undertake to determine how you and your team see the future of your organization. In this article, we discuss how to create your Strategic Plan and define its relationship to other concepts and documents that direct your business and its activities.

Innovation Strategy Execution Framework

While it’s true that every business is different and must develop their own processes, we believe there are some process  of strategic planning stepsthat benefit all organizations.

Below are our recommendations for the steps to take when undergoing your Strategic Planning Process, along with the questions we suggest you answer during each specific step.

Step One: Analyze your Business Environment

  • Who are your competitors?
  • What relevant market data do you have, and what do you still need?
  • What technology has emerged that impacts your business model?
  • How have customer expectations changed since your last Strategic Plan?
  • What advantages do you have over competitors?
  • Where is your company weaker compared to competitors?
  • What predictable complications are on the horizon?
  • Which unpredictable complications seem most likely or most potentially impactful?

Step Two: Set your Strategic Direction

  • What is your overall Business Purpose ?
  • How have your operations reflected your Purpose and Goals recently?
  • How should your operations reflect your Purpose and Goals?
  • Where do you see your business going in the next year?
  • In two years? In three years?
  • What are the metrics you’ll use to measure success?
  • What are your make-or-break necessities?

Step Three: Set and develop Strategic Goals and Strategic Objectives

  • Have you considered short-, mid-, and long-term business goals , and what are they?
  • How do your Strategic Goals reflect your Mission Statement?
  • How do your Strategic Goals reflect your company values and vision?
  • What daily operations must be completed to work toward your Strategic Objectives?
  • How will you communicate your Strategic Goals and Strategic Objectives?
  • Who is responsible for reporting on success?
  • How will strategic data be collected?

Related: Strategic Goals: Examples, Importance, Definitions and How to Set Them

Step Four: Drill down to Department-Level Objectives

  • What are specific department concerns?
  • How will your budget influence and be influenced by your Strategic Goals and Objectives?
  • Which departments have resources that could be shared to better advantage?
  • What roles do individual departments play in your overall Strategic Goals?
  • What ongoing projects become a priority because of your new Strategic Goals?
  • Are Departmental Objectives complementing each other and the overall Business Model?

Step Five: Manage and Analyze Performance

  • Who is on the Strategic Planning team?
  • Are tasks and job descriptions properly aligned to ensure the right work is getting completed?
  • What is the schedule for the meeting for Strategic Planning?
  • What are your metrics for measuring performance and success?
  • Have you clearly articulated and shared KPIs?
  • Who is responsible for gathering data?
  • How will data be collected?
  • How will data be reported?
  • What’s at stake for strategy success or failure?

Step Six: Review and develop your Strategic Plan

  • How should your Strategic Plan look on paper?
  • What is your Strategy Execution Framework —how will you guarantee the Strategic Plan Team’s decisions are respected and executed?
  • What is the review process?
  • How often do you evaluate your Strategic Plan?
  • How will you communicate your final Strategic Plan?

Strategic Planning Process Examples

1) apple strategic plan process.

  • Vision and Mission: Apple’s strategic planning begins with a clear vision and mission. Apple’s vision is to create innovative products that inspire and enrich people’s lives.
  • Environmental Analysis: Apple conducts thorough environmental analyses, considering technological trends, market demands, and competitive landscapes. This includes staying at the forefront of cutting-edge technologies.
  • SWOT Analysis: Apple evaluates its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. For example, one of Apple’s strengths is its strong brand image, while a weakness might be dependence on a limited product line.
  • Setting business Goals and Objectives: Apple sets specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals. This could include objectives like maintaining a certain market share, launching new products, or achieving specific financial targets.
  • Strategies and Tactics: Apple develops strategies based on its goals. For instance, a strategic move might be expanding its ecosystem by integrating hardware, software, and services. Tactics could include aggressive marketing campaigns and product launches.
  • Implementation and Execution: Apple’s strategic plans are meticulously executed. The launch of iconic products like the iPhone, iPad, and Mac series demonstrates effective implementation of their strategies.
  • Monitoring and Adjusting: Apple constantly monitors its performance metrics, customer feedback, and market dynamics. If necessary, adjustments are made to the strategic plan to stay responsive to changing conditions.

2) Tesla Strategic Plan Process

  • Vision and Mission: Tesla’s strategic planning revolves around its mission to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy. The vision includes producing electric vehicles and renewable energy solutions.
  • Market Analysis: Tesla analyzes global markets for electric vehicles, renewable energy, and energy storage. This involves understanding regulatory environments, consumer behaviours, and technological advancements.
  • Risk Assessment: Tesla conducts risk assessments related to manufacturing, supply chain, and market volatility. For instance, it considers risks associated with battery production and global economic conditions.
  • Setting Bold Objectives: Tesla is known for setting ambitious objectives, such as achieving mass-market electric vehicle adoption and establishing a robust network of charging stations worldwide.
  • Innovative Strategies: Tesla’s strategic planning involves innovation in technology and business models . For instance, the “Gigafactories” for mass production of batteries and the “Autopilot” feature in vehicles reflect innovative strategies.
  • Agile Adaptation: Due to the rapidly changing automotive and energy sectors, Tesla maintains an agile approach. The company adapts its plans swiftly to capitalize on emerging opportunities, as seen in the expansion of its energy products.
  • Continuous Improvement: Tesla places emphasis on continuous improvement. The iterative development of electric vehicle models, software updates, and advancements in battery technology showcase a commitment to refinement.

These examples demonstrate how strategic planning is a dynamic and integral part of the business processes of leading companies. They highlight the importance of a well-defined vision, rigorous analysis, adaptability, and innovation in the strategic planning process.

Tactical vs. Strategic Planning Process

An easy way to distinguish your company’s Tactical Planning from your Strategic Planning is to separate your wants from your HOWs.

In your Strategic Planning, you identify what you WANT for the company. These are big-picture dreams (achievable, but big ) that are your definition of success. In your Tactical Planning, you identify the HOW for reaching those dreams, including the smaller necessary steps.

Each kind of planning is vital for securing the organization’s future, but they require different sorts of attention and philosophy, and teams that are good at planning one way may not necessarily be good at the other kind of planning.

Strategic Planning vs. Your Business Purpose

Your Strategic Planning Process will of course be deeply connected to your Business Purpose .

We like to think of Business Purpose in broad terms, choosing especially to think of a business’s role in massive transformation. Embedded within a Business Purpose is the Business Plan that directs operations and how a company delivers value to its customers.

What is the relationship between your Strategic Planning and your Business Purpose? One feeds into the other. Your Business Purpose must point to a larger impact you’ll have on the people who purchase your goods and services, and your Strategic Planning takes into account how you’ll grow and expand that Purpose as you reach more customers more successfully.

Strategic Planning vs Business Planning

Strategic planning and business planning are two distinct processes that are often used interchangeably, but they have some key differences.

Strategic planning is a top-level process that focuses on determining the direction of an organization over the long term. It involves setting goals, determining the key resources and actions necessary to achieve those goals, and allocating those resources in a way that best serves the organization’s future. The outcome of strategic planning is typically a long-term strategic plan that outlines the organization’s vision, mission, values, and objectives.

Business planning , on the other hand, is a more tactical process that focuses on the implementation of specific initiatives and projects to support the organization’s long-term goals. Business plans typically outline the steps necessary to launch a new product, enter a new market, or achieve a specific objective. They may also include budgets, marketing plans, and other operational details.

In short, strategic planning is about setting the direction for an organization, while business planning is about implementing specific initiatives to support that direction. Both processes are important for the success of an organization and should be used in conjunction to ensure that resources are allocated effectively and that the organization is moving in the right direction.

Why is Strategic Planning Important?

Imagine this scenario: A warehouse full of goods sits, unsold and unmoved. A collection of brilliant people languishes at desks all day. Outside, the world spins and changes. It’s ready for what these people could do, can do, and yet nothing happens. Needs remain unmet. Progress is halted. Everyday life takes several backwards steps. This is what your business will look like without proper Strategic Planning.

Strategic Planning forces you to consider your Strategic Objectives and critically compare them to the resources you have available. As you continuously evaluate the circumstances of your business and your customers, your Strategic Plan evolves to match your goals and business capabilities.

The process involved pushes decision-makers to practice Strategic Thinking . It limits wasteful spending, especially when upper-level managers are willing to forgo pet projects in favor of operations with a broader use and appeal.

Strategic Planning is important because it directs your resources to efficiently meet your overall Business Goals. Without Strategic Planning, you are likely to waste resources, make conflicting decisions, or fail to grow your business to its greatest potential.

When Do You Create a Strategic Plan?

Most businesses find value in reviewing their Strategic Plan every three years. This allows enough time to pass that you can evaluate the success of previous plans, reflect on the achievement of your Strategic Goals, consider developments outside your organization that affect your business, and begin formulating new goals that will become the next version of your plans.

When businesses first begin, they often have too many fires burning at once. They remain focused on existing today rather than planning for tomorrow. Most entrepreneurs remember those stressful early days of starting their businesses and can understand why formalities like Strategic Plans can fall by the wayside. We believe if your business lasts longer than a year it’s important to develop a plan for the future. Think of Strategic Planning as a celebration of a first anniversary—a sign that you’re poised to continue moving forward for years to come.

However, Strategic Planning is not a one-off event that is over once the cookies are all gone and the room clears. Your Strategic Planning team should meet regularly to measure how effective the plans are at helping you reach your Strategic Goals. Ad hoc subcommittees can play a role in gathering evidence to ensure that your plans remain appropriate, especially if conditions change.

For example, we recommended a close review of Strategic Plans and Strategic Goals once the COVID-19 pandemic made it clear that business was going to be affected at least short- to mid-term. We continue to recommend teams regularly revisit their Strategic Plans with global circumstances in mind to recognize opportunities and prepare for challenges.

The Benefits of Strategic Planning

As we’ve mentioned, there are many benefits of Strategic Planning . Some of those benefits include:

  • Shared sense of power and importance
  • United direction
  • Clear path and purpose for decision-making and operations
  • Boosted operational effectiveness
  • Responsible, efficient use of available resources
  • Meaningful work done on a daily basis
  • Tracking of progress
  • Ability to adjust to changing circumstances

What is a business without Strategic Planning? In most cases, it’s not much, nor is it long for the world. While it’s possible to accidentally find success without much planning, most successful businesses are a result of careful thought mixed with the urge to pounce on the opportunity.

What prepares you to pounce?

Your Strategic Planning and the processes that make it possible.

The UNITE Business Model Framework: A Framework for Innovation Success

Business Model framework

Examples and Types of Effective Functional Level Strategy for Business Support

A key objective of any business strategy is to improve operational efficiencies...

The Three Levels of Strategy: Corporate Strategy, Business Strategy, and Functional Strategy

The Three Levels of Strategy: Corporate Strategy, Business Strategy, and Functional Strategy

Understanding the intricate levels of strategy is crucial for any organization aiming...

strategic planning cycle example

Register For Your FREE 
Innovation Show Seat Now!

Learn how to overcome the 90% failure rate in innovation from a master innovator and best-selling author.

strategic planning cycle example

Expert tactics to boost your innovation odds.

Insights on capturing customer needs for innovation.

Tools that turn your ideas into triumphs.

First name *

Last name *

Professional E-mail *

I want to be kept up-to-date and accept the privacy statement *

By signing up, you agree to receive news and accept the privacy statement (mandatory)

Already have an account? Log in

Verify your e-mail address now by entering the 6-digit code we’ve just sent to your inbox

Don't receive Code? Resend code

Last one step

Help us better understand our innovation Show members

Country * Please Select Afghanistan Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin (Dahomey) Bolivia Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Brazil Brunei Brunswick and Lüneburg Bulgaria Burkina Faso (Upper Volta) Burundi Cabo Verde Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cayman Islands Central African Republic Central American Federation Chad Chile China Colombia Comoros Congo Free State Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) Croatia Cuba Cyprus Czechia Democratic Republic of the Congo Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Eswatini Ethiopia Fiji Finland France Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Grand Duchy of Tuscany Greece Grenada Guatemala Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Holy See Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran Iraq Ireland Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea Kosovo Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Laos Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Marshall Islands Mauritania Mauritius Mexico Micronesia Moldova Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Morocco Mozambique Namibia Nassau Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria North Macedonia Norway Oman Pakistan Palau Panama Papal States Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Piedmont-Sardinia Poland Portugal Qatar Republic of Congo Republic of Korea (South Korea) Republic of the Congo Romania Russia Rwanda Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Schaumburg-Lippe Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Sweden Switzerland Syria Tajikistan Tanzania Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela Vietnam Württemberg Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Industry * Please Select Automotive, mobilty & transport Financial Services Chemical & agriculture Construction & Real Estate Consulting Education Energy Banking, insurance & FS FMCG Food Gov / Public Industry Health & lifestyle Logistics, Aero & Shipping Media & Entertainment Natural resources & mining Pharma & Biotech Retail & trade Tech & E-Commerce Telco Tourism design Information technology & services Management consulting Retail Pharmaceuticals International trade & development Professional training & coaching luxury goods & jewelry Automotive Insurance Mechanical or industrial engineering Company Size * XS - 1-10 S - 10-100 M - 100-1000 L - 1000-5000 XL - > 5000

Seniority * Please Select Junior Consultant Senior Consultant Manager Senior Manager Director VP SVP Partner CXO Board Member

Areas of interest * Innovation Digital Transformation Culture & Organization IT Strategy & Bus. Alignment Customer Experience

  • FREE LIVE TRAINING

How To Overcome The 90% Failure Rate in Innovation

Learn the winning formula from over 80+ successful innovation projects

SAVE MY FREE SPOT NOW

strategic planning cycle example

Learn how to overcome the 90% failure rate in innovation from a master innovator & bestselling author!

Your e-mail address: * Your first name: *

strategic planning cycle example

One Last Step..

Help us better understand the UNITE community

Free guide to improve your innovation success rate*

Our 35-page comprehensive innovation guide covers the key areas why innovation fails. While it cannot cover all the solutions (that would take books to fill), it provides you with a convenient starting point for your analysis and provides further resources and links to the corresponding UNITE models, ultimately allowing you to work towards a doubling and tripling your chances of success.

strategic planning cycle example

Discover the largest library of innovation & transformation tools on the entire Internet!

LOG IN VIA E-MAIL

Forgot password?

New to Digital Leadership? Create your account

Get access to the UNITE Models now!

Discover the largest library of innovation & transformation tools on the internet!

Choose Your Password *

Confirm Your Password *

Country * Please Select Afghanistan Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin (Dahomey) Bolivia Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Brazil Brunei Brunswick and Lüneburg Bhutan Bulgaria Burkina Faso (Upper Volta) Burundi Cabo Verde Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cayman Islands Central African Republic Central American Federation Chad Chile China Colombia Comoros Congo Free State Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) Croatia Cuba Cyprus Czechia Democratic Republic of the Congo Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Eswatini Ethiopia Fiji Finland France Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Grand Duchy of Tuscany Greece Grenada Guatemala Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Holy See Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran Iraq Ireland Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea Kosovo Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Laos Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Marshall Islands Mauritania Mauritius Mexico Micronesia Moldova Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nassau Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria North Macedonia Norway Oman Pakistan Palau Panama Papal States Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Piedmont-Sardinia Poland Portugal Qatar Republic of Congo Republic of Korea (South Korea) Republic of the Congo Romania Russia Rwanda Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Schaumburg-Lippe Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Sweden Switzerland State of Palestine Syria Tajikistan Tanzania Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United States United Arab Emirates United Kingdom Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela Vietnam Württemberg Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Industry * Please Select Automotive, mobilty & transport Financial Services Chemical & agriculture Construction & Real Estate Consulting Education Energy Banking, insurance & FS FMCG Food Gov / Public Industry Health & lifestyle Logistics, Aero & Shipping Media & Entertainment Natural resources & mining Pharma & Biotech Retail & trade Tech & E-Commerce Telco Tourism design Information technology & services Management consulting Retail Pharmaceuticals International trade & development Professional training & coaching luxury goods & jewelry Automotive Insurance Mechanical or industrial engineering Company Size * XS - 1-10 S - 10-100 M - 100-1000 L - 1000-5000 XL - > 5000

Editable UNITE models (PowerPoint) included

Most of our models and canvases are designed to be applied! 


To help you personalize them to your exact business requirements, you can download fully editable versions of the UNITE models available (PowerPoint format)!

They are straightforward to work with, and you can directly incorporate them into your presentations as you need…thus saving countless hours of replication!

PS: did you know that you are also getting hi-res print-ready versions for your workshops?

Monthly live webinars

Each month we host our exclusive, invitation-only webinar series where one of our industry-leading experts updates our members on the latest news, progress and concepts around business strategy, innovation and digital transformation, as well as other related topics. 



You will receive the book in PDF and EPUB formats, ideal for your computer, Kindle, Tablet or other eReading device.

Bi-weekly live group Q&A sessions

These sessions are your opportunity to bring any questions or challenges you’re facing and receive expert guidance on the spot. 


Come and be a part of engaging discussions where your unique concerns are heard and addressed.

1x personal coaching session / month

If you are occasionally looking for a sparring partner or you need limited support, then this option will be ideal for you. Coaching sessions are 1-2 hours where we can discuss any challenge or opportunity you are currently facing.

If you need a few more hours outside of this provision, then these could be billed transparently.

Unlimited video call support! – it’s like always making the right decision!

We believe support shouldn’t be limited. Because we typically find that the occasional hour just doesn’t cut it – particularly if you and your team are in the midst of a large and complex project.

Your time with Stefan is therefore unlimited (fair usage applies) – in his function as coach and sparring partner. That does mean that you will still have to do the work – we cannot take that off you, unless you hire us as consultants. But you will get valuable strategic insight and direction to make sure you are always focusing your efforts where they will lead to the best results.

One personal coaching session / month 
+ unlimited support via e-mail & WhatsApp

We believe support shouldn’t be limited. If you generally know what you are doing but want a sparring partner to frequently raise questions to, this is the perfect choice!

In addition to your monthly 1-1 live coaching sessions with Stefan, you will also get unlimited support from him via email and WhatsApp messaging (fair usage applies). This not only allows you to get valuable strategic direction in your calls, but also gives you instant access to expert help as you work through your plans each month.



The fact that support is text-based means that we can speed up our responses to you while keeping the overall cost of support down.

Welcome gift of our book 
 “How to Create Innovation” 
 (digital + physical editions)*

As a welcome gift, you will receive the both the digital and physical version of our book “How to Create Innovation”, which covers numerous relevant resources and provides additional deep dives into our UNITE models and concepts.


The print version will be shipped out to you on sign-up. The digital version will be emailed to you, and comes in PDF and EPUB formats, ideal for your computer, Kindle, Tablet or other eReading device.

1x major workshop or 2x smaller workshops / month

1x major or 2x smaller workshops based on the UNITE models.

  • Topics covered: almost any challenge under the header of #strategy, #innovation or #transformation, leveraging the UNITE models.
  • Hands-On Learning: solve your challenges while learning the practical application of the UNITE models and walk away with concrete plans and tools to take your next steps.
  • Industry thought leadership: facilitated by Stefan, the founder of Digital Leadership and the main author of the UNITE models, ensuring top-tier guidance and knowledge sharing.
  • Collaborative approach: engage in interactive sessions that foster collaboration, idea exchange, and real-time problem-solving among peers and industry leaders.
  • Continuous Improvement: Regular workshops ensure ongoing development in your organization staying ahead of industry trends and customer needs.

Access all of our UNITE models, 
 (incl. editable & print versions)

All of our Professional plans offer full access to the following:

  • 6x UNITE model package downloads are included per month, if you need something in addition to these however, please let us know!
  • Hi-res, print-ready versions you can use in your workshops
  • Fully editable PowerPoint versions where applicable – personalize to your needs.
  • Exclusive access to our vault of never-before-published strategic materials. We have much more to share – a lot of our concepts have never been published!

Exclusive access to our private UNITE community (upcoming)

We are currently in the process of launching our brand new community., we are designing our community to specifically help you:.

  • Get answers to questions (“How do I …”)
  • Share leading practices & knowledge
  • Jointly develop new models
  • Network amongst a highly qualified group of peers

Please, select the reason

Cancelling your plan will deactivate your plan after the current billing period ends. You will not be charged further, but also won’t be able to access [exclusive features/services].

  • Cost-related issues
  • Unsatisfied with the service
  • Features I need are missing
  • Switching to a different service
  • Other (Please specify)

Book Your Initial Blueprint Session Now

Simply fill out the below form and book in a time for our initial session that works for you. This initial session is free, no strings attached, and is where we can discuss your Blueprint needs more in-depth before moving forward.

strategic planning cycle example

Stefan F. Dieffenbacher

Founder of digital leadership.

strategic planning cycle example

Adam D. Wisniewski

Partner for it strategy & business alignment.

strategic planning cycle example

Get in touch with Digital Leadership

Speak to our team today to find the best solution for your business to grow and scale.

We are here to support you across the entire lifecycle in all topics related to #digital, #innovation, #transformation and #marketing!

strategic planning cycle example

Stefan F. Dieffenbacher Founder of Digital Leadership

Contact Us!

Contact form, contact details, book a call.

Title, first name & last name * Email address * Phone number Please let us know how we can best support you! *

By clicking “Send”, I agree to Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Let’s have a conversation!

“Please be invited to reach out! We are happy to help and look forward to a first meeting!”

+41 (0) 44 562 42 24

[email protected]

Schedule Your Call With Our Team

Find a time on our calender that best suits you !

strategic planning cycle example

Founder and CEO of Digital Leadership

SCHEDULE YOUR INITIAL CALL

A Quick Survey!

What is the main challenge you're currently facing in your business?

You Want To Drive Change?

Let’s find the best solution for your business to grow and scale sustainably!

Let’s kick start it!

We will uncover your current business situation and goals and provide you with a bespoke solution that helps you drastically grow your business working with us.

image

Stefan F. Dieffenbacher, M.B.A.

company logo 1

Feedback about our consulting that we are proud of

Read the reviews and make sure that this is not a waste of time, but a super effective tool.

digital logo

You want to drive change?

Schedule your free business assessment call with our founder.

On this call, we will uncover your current business situation and goals and talk about how to drive change and solve your need.

Choose the meeting type that applies to your needs and schedule a time to meet with someone from our team. We look forward to speaking with you soon!

Thanks, We’ve Received Your Updated Details

strategic planning cycle example

Schedule Your Free Business Assessment

strategic planning cycle example

Schedule Your Free Business Assessment Call With Adam D. Wisniewski

Welcome to our scheduling page.

strategic planning cycle example

Let’s Design your Customer Experience Blueprint !

In a uniquely designed 60 or 90 minute session* , we will …

  • > identify where to start with near-certainty
  • > define what approach it takes to create success in your organization

Based on the Blueprinting session, you will receive a tailored blueprint that aligns with your objectives, vision and goals, ensuring that your initiative is a success from start to finish.

strategic planning cycle example

In this session, you will be working together with Patrick Zimmermann, Associate Partner for Customer Experience

strategic planning cycle example

Let’s Design your Culture & Org-Change Blueprint !

strategic planning cycle example

In this session, you will be working together with Dr. Andreas Rein, Partner at Digital Leadership for Culture & Org Change

Let’s Design your Innovation Blueprint !

strategic planning cycle example

In this session, you will be working together with Sascha Martini, Partner at Digital Leadership for Innovation and Digital Transformation

Let’s Design your Transformation Blueprint !

strategic planning cycle example

In this session, you will be working together with Stefan F. Dieffenbacher, Founder of Digital Leadership Stefan is a global thought leader in the innovation space

Let’s Design your IT Strategy & Business Alignment Blueprint !

strategic planning cycle example

In this session, you will be working together with Adam D. Wisniewski, Partner for IT Strategy & Business Alignment

strategic planning cycle example

Patrick Zimmermann

strategic planning cycle example

Sascha Martini

strategic planning cycle example

Dr. Andreas Rein

Write a personalized review! Log in

Create Review

strategic planning cycle example

The 5 steps of the strategic planning process

An illustration of a digital whiteboard with a bullseye diagram and sticky notes

Starting a project without a strategy is like trying to bake a cake without a recipe — you might have all the ingredients you need, but without a plan for how to combine them, or a vision for what the finished product will look like, you’re likely to end up with a mess. This is especially true when working with a team — it’s crucial to have a shared plan that can serve as a map on the pathway to success.

Creating a strategic plan not only provides a useful document for the future, but also helps you define what you have right now, and think through and outline all of the steps and considerations you’ll need to succeed.

What is strategic planning?

While there is no single approach to creating a strategic plan, most approaches can be boiled down to five overarching steps:

  • Define your vision
  • Assess where you are
  • Determine your priorities and objectives
  • Define responsibilities
  • Measure and evaluate results

Each step requires close collaboration as you build a shared vision, strategy for implementation, and system for understanding performance.

Related: Learn how to hold an effective strategic planning meeting

Why do I need a strategic plan?

Building a strategic plan is the best way to ensure that your whole team is on the same page, from the initial vision and the metrics for success to evaluating outcomes and adjusting (if necessary) for the future. Even if you’re an expert baker, working with a team to bake a cake means having a collaborative approach and clearly defined steps so that the result reflects the strategic goals you laid out at the beginning.

The benefits of strategic planning also permeate into the general efficiency and productivity of your organization as a whole. They include: 

  • Greater attention to potential biases or flaws, improving decision-making 
  • Clear direction and focus, motivating and engaging employees
  • Better resource management, improving project outcomes 
  • Improved employee performance, increasing profitability
  • Enhanced communication and collaboration, fostering team efficiency 

Next, let’s dive into how to build and structure your strategic plan, complete with templates and assets to help you along the way.

Before you begin: Pick a brainstorming method

There are many brainstorming methods you can use to come up with, outline, and rank your priorities. When it comes to strategy planning, it’s important to get everyone’s thoughts and ideas out before committing to any one strategy. With the right facilitation , brainstorming helps make this process fair and transparent for everyone involved.  

First, decide if you want to run a real-time rapid ideation session or a structured brainstorming . In a rapid ideation session, you encourage sharing half-baked or silly ideas, typically within a set time frame. The key is to just get out all your ideas quickly and then edit the best ones. Examples of rapid ideation methods include round robin , brainwriting , mind mapping , and crazy eights . 

In a structured brainstorming session, you allow for more time to prepare and edit your thoughts before getting together to share and discuss those more polished ideas. This might involve brainstorming methods that entail unconventional ways of thinking, such as reverse brainstorming or rolestorming . 

Using a platform like Mural, you can easily capture and organize your team’s ideas through sticky notes, diagrams, text, or even images and videos. These features allow you to build actionable next steps immediately (and in the same place) through color coding and tagging. 

Whichever method you choose, the ideal outcome is that you avoid groupthink by giving everyone a voice and a say. Once you’ve reached a consensus on your top priorities, add specific objectives tied to each of those priorities.

Related: Brainstorming and ideation template

1. Define your vision

Whether it’s for your business as a whole, or a specific initiative, successful strategic planning involves alignment with a vision for success. You can think of it as a project-specific mission statement or a north star to guide employees toward fulfilling organizational goals. 

To create a vision statement that explicitly states the ideal results of your project or company transformation, follow these four key steps: 

  • Engage and involve the entire team . Inclusivity like this helps bring diverse perspectives to the table. 
  • Align the vision with your core values and purpose . This will make it familiar and easy to follow through. 
  • Stay grounded . The vision should be ambitious enough to motivate and inspire yet grounded enough to be achievable and relevant.
  • Think long-term flexibility . Consider future trends and how your vision can be flexible in the face of challenges or opportunities. 

For example, say your vision is to revolutionize customer success by streamlining and optimizing your process for handling support tickets. It’s important to have a strategy map that allows stakeholders (like the support team, marketing team, and engineering team) to know the overall objective and understand the roles they will play in realizing the goals. 

This can be done in real time or asynchronously , whether in person, hybrid, or remote. By leveraging a shared digital space , everyone has a voice in the process and room to add their thoughts, comments, and feedback. 

Related: Vision board template

2. Assess where you are

The next step in creating a strategic plan is to conduct an assessment of where you stand in terms of your own initiatives, as well as the greater marketplace. Start by conducting a resource assessment. Figure out which financial, human, and/or technological resources you have available and if there are any limitations. You can do this using a SWOT analysis.

What is SWOT analysis?

SWOT analysis is an exercise where you define:

  • Strengths: What are your unique strengths for this initiative or this product? In what ways are you a leader?
  • Weaknesses: What weaknesses can you identify in your offering? How does your product compare to others in the marketplace?
  • Opportunities: Are there areas for improvement that'd help differentiate your business?
  • Threats: Beyond weaknesses, are there existing potential threats to your idea that could limit or prevent its success? How can those be anticipated?

For example, say you have an eco-friendly tech company and your vision is to launch a new service in the next year. Here’s what the SWOT analysis might look like: 

  • Strengths : Strong brand reputation, loyal customer base, and a talented team focused on innovation
  • Weaknesses : Limited bandwidth to work on new projects, which might impact the scope of its strategy formulation 
  • Opportunities : How to leverage and experiment with existing customers when goal-setting
  • Threats : Factors in the external environment out of its control, like the state of the economy and supply chain shortages

This SWOT analysis will guide the company in setting strategic objectives and formulating a robust plan to navigate the challenges it might face. 

Related: SWOT analysis template

3. Determine your priorities and objectives

Once you've identified your organization’s mission and current standing, start a preliminary plan document that outlines your priorities and their corresponding objectives. Priorities and objectives should be set based on what is achievable with your available resources. The SMART framework is a great way to ensure you set effective goals . It looks like this:  

  • Specific: Set clear objectives, leaving no room for ambiguity about the desired outcomes.
  • Measurable : Choose quantifiable criteria to make it easier to track progress.
  • Achievable : Ensure it is realistic and attainable within the constraints of your resources and environment.
  • Relevant : Develop objectives that are relevant to the direction your organization seeks to move.
  • Time-bound : Set a clear timeline for achieving each objective to maintain a sense of urgency and focus.

For instance, going back to the eco-friendly tech company, the SMART goals might be: 

  • Specific : Target residential customers and small businesses to increase the sales of its solar-powered device line by 25%. 
  • Measurable : Track monthly sales and monitor customer feedback and reviews. 
  • Achievable : Allocate more resources to the marketing, sales, and customer service departments. 
  • Relevant : Supports the company's growth goals in a growing market of eco-conscious consumers. 
  • Time-bound : Conduct quarterly reviews and achieve this 25% increase in sales over the next 12 months.

With strategic objectives like this, you’ll be ready to put the work into action. 

Related: Project kickoff template

4. Define tactics and responsibilities

In this stage, individuals or units within your team can get granular about how to achieve your goals and who'll be accountable for each step. For example, the senior leadership team might be in charge of assigning specific tasks to their team members, while human resources works on recruiting new talent. 

It’s important to note that everyone’s responsibilities may shift over time as you launch and gather initial data about your project. For this reason, it’s key to define responsibilities with clear short-term metrics for success. This way, you can make sure that your plan is adaptable to changing circumstances. 

One of the more common ways to define tactics and metrics is to use the OKR (Objectives and Key Results) method. By outlining your OKRs, you’ll know exactly what key performance indicators (KPIs) to track and have a framework for analyzing the results once you begin to accumulate relevant data. 

For instance, if our eco-friendly tech company has a goal of increasing sales, one objective might be to expand market reach for its solar-powered products. The sales team lead would be in charge of developing an outreach strategy. The key result would be to successfully launch its products in two new regions by Q2. The KPI would be a 60% conversation rate in those targeted markets.  

Related: OKR planning template  

5. Manage, measure, and evaluate

Once your plan is set into motion, it’s important to actively manage (and measure) progress. Before launching your plan, settle on a management process that allows you to measure success or failure. In this way, everyone is aligned on progress and can come together to evaluate your strategy execution at regular intervals.

Determine the milestones at which you’ll come together and go over results — this can take place weekly, monthly, or quarterly, depending on the nature of the project.

One of the best ways to evaluate progress is through agile retrospectives (or retros) , which can be done in real time or asynchronously. During this process, gather and organize feedback about the key elements that played a role in your strategy. 

Related: Retrospective radar template

Retrospectives are typically divided into three parts:

  • What went well.
  • What didn’t go well.
  • New opportunities for improvement.

This structure is also sometimes called the “ rose, thorn, bud ” framework. By using this approach, team members can collectively brainstorm and categorize their feedback, making the next steps clear and actionable. Creating an action plan during a post-mortem meeting is a crucial step in ensuring that lessons learned from past projects or events are effectively translated into tangible improvements. 

Another method for reviewing progress is the quarterly business review (QBR). Like the agile retrospective, it allows you to collect feedback and adjust accordingly. In the case of QBRs, however, we recommend dividing your feedback into four categories:

  • Start (what new items should be launched?).
  • Stop (what items need to be paused?).
  • Continue (what is going well?).
  • Change (what could be modified to perform better?).

Strategic planners know that planning activities continue even after a project is complete. There’s always room for improvement and an action plan waiting to be implemented. Using the above approaches, your team can make room for new ideas within the existing strategic framework in order to track better to your long-term goals.

Related: Quarterly business review template

Conclusions

The beauty of the strategic plan is that it can be applied from the campaign level all the way up to organizational vision. Using the strategic planning framework, you build buy-in , trust, and transparency by collaboratively creating a vision for success, and mapping out the steps together on the road to your goals.

Also, in so doing, you build in an ability to adapt effectively on the fly in response to data through measurement and evaluation, making your plan both flexible and resilient.

Related: 5 Tips for Holding Effective Post-mortems

Why Mural for strategic planning

Mural unlocks collaborative strategic planning through a shared digital space with an intuitive interface, a library of pre-fab templates, and methodologies based on design thinking principles.

Outline goals, identify key metrics, and track progress with a platform built for any enterprise.

Learn more about strategic planning with Mural.

About the authors

Bryan Kitch

Bryan Kitch

Tagged Topics

Related blog posts

strategic planning cycle example

How to hold effective strategic planning meetings

strategic planning cycle example

Tactical vs. strategic planning: Why you need both

strategic planning cycle example

5 effective strategic planning models for your business

Related blog posts.

strategic planning cycle example

Don't do this when using a flowchart builder

strategic planning cycle example

How Mural links design thinking and Agile

strategic planning cycle example

A guide to the Agile development lifecycle

Logo

How To Write A Strategic Plan That Gets Results + Examples

strategic planning cycle example

Are you feeling overwhelmed with the thought of writing a strategic plan for your business? Do you want to create a plan that will help you move your team forward with inspired alignment and disciplined execution? You're not alone.

Gone are the days of rigid, 5- or 10-year planning cycles that do not leave room for flexibility and innovation. To stay ahead of the curve, you need a dynamic and execution-ready strategic plan that can guide your business through the ever-evolving landscape.

At Cascade, we understand that writing a strategic plan can be dreadful, especially in today's unpredictable environment. That's why we've developed a simple model that can help you create a clear, actionable plan to achieve your organization's goals. With our tested and proven strategic planning template , you can write a strategic plan that is both adaptable and effective .

Whether you're a seasoned strategy professional or a fresh strategy planner, this guide will walk you through the process step-by-step on how to write a strategic plan. By the end, you'll have a comprehensive, easy-to-follow strategic plan that will help you align your organization on the path to success.

Free Template Download our free Strategic Planning Template Download this template

Follow this guide step-by-step or skip to the part you’re most interested in: 

  • Pre-Planning Phase: Build The Foundation

Cascade Model For Strategic Planning: What You Need To Know

  • Key Elements of a Strategic Plan

How To Write A Strategic Plan In 6 Simple Steps

3 strategic plan examples to get you started, how to achieve organizational alignment with your strategic plan.

  • Quick Overview of Key Steps In Writing A Strategic Plan

Create An Execution-Ready Strategic Plan With Cascade 🚀

*Editor’s note: This article is part of our ‘How to create a Strategy’ collection. At the end of this article, you’ll find a link to each piece within this collection so you can dig deeper into each element of an effective strategic plan and more related resources to master strategy execution.

Pre-Planning Phase: Build The Foundation 

Before we dive into writing a strategic plan, it's essential to know the basics you should cover before the planning phase. The pre-planning phase is where you'll begin to gather the data and strategic insights necessary to create an effective strategic plan.

1. Run a strategic planning workshop

The first step is to run a strategic planning workshop with your team. Get your team in the room, get their data, and gather their insights. By running this workshop, you'll foster collaboration and bring fresh perspectives to the table. And that’s not all. 

The process of co-creating and collaborating to put that plan together with stakeholders is one of the most critical factors in strategy execution . According to McKinsey’s research , initiatives in which employees contribute to development are 3.4 times more likely to be successful. They feel like the plan is a result of their efforts, and they feel ownership of it, so they're more likely to execute it. 

💡 Tip: Use strategy frameworks to structure your strategy development sessions, such as GAP analysis , SWOT analysis , Porter’s Five Forces , Ansoff matrix , McKinsey 7S model , or GE matrix . You can even apply the risk matrix that will help you align and decide on key strategic priorities.

2. Choose your strategic planning model

Before creating your strategic plan, you need to decide which structure you will use. There are hundreds of ways to structure a strategic plan. You’ve likely heard of famous strategic models such as OKRs and the Balanced Scorecard .

But beyond the well-known ones, there's also a myriad of other strategic planning models ranging from the extremely simple to the absurdly complex.

Many strategic models work reasonably well on paper, but in reality, they don't show you how to write a strategic plan that fits your organization's needs.

Here are some common weaknesses most popular strategic models have:

  • They're too complicated. People get lost in terminology rather than focus on execution.
  • They don’t scale. They work well for small organizations but fail when you try to extend them across multiple teams.
  • They're too rigid. They force people to add layers for the sake of adding layers.
  • They're neither tangible nor measurable. They’re great at stating outcomes but lousy at helping you measure success.
  • They're not adaptable. As we saw in the last years, the business environment can change quickly. Your model needs to be able to work in your current situation and adapt to changing economic landscapes.

Our goal in this article is to give you a simpler, more effective way to write a strategic plan. This is a tested and proven strategic planning model that has been refined over years of working with +20,000 teams around the world. We call it the Cascade Strategy Model.

This approach has proven to be more effective than any other model we have tried when it comes to executing and implementing the strategy .

It’s easy to use and it works for small businesses, fast-growing startups, as well as multinationals trying to figure out how to write a fail-proof strategic plan.

We’ve created a simple diagram below to illustrate what a strategic plan following the Cascade Model will look like when it's completed:

The Cascade Model for strategic planning and execution

Rather than a traditional roadmap , imagine your strategy as a flowchart. Each row is a mandatory step before moving on to the next.

We call our platform  Cascade for a reason: strategy must cascade throughout an organization along with values, focus areas, and objectives.

Above all, the Cascade Model is intended to be execution-ready —in other words, it has been proven to deliver success far beyond strategic planning. It adds to a successful strategic management process.Key elements of a Strategic Plan

Key Elements Of A Strategic Plan

The key elements of a strategic plan include: 

  • Vision : Where do you want to get to? 
  • Values : How will you behave on the journey? 
  • Focus Areas : What are going to be your strategic priorities? 
  • Strategic objectives : What do you want to achieve? 
  • Actions and projects : How are you going to achieve the objectives? 
  • KPIs : How will you measure success?

In this part of the article, we will give you an overview of each element within the Cascade Model. You can follow this step-by-step process in a spreadsheet , or sign up to get instant access to a free Cascade strategic planning template and follow along as we cover the key elements of an effective strategic plan.

Your vision statement is your organization's anchor - it defines where you want to get to and is the executive summary of your organization's purpose. Without it, your strategic plan is like a boat without a rudder, at the mercy of strong winds and currents like Covid and global supply chain disruptions.

A good vision statement can help funnel your strategy towards long-term goals that matter the most to your organization, and everything you write in your plan from this point on will help you get closer to achieving your vision.

Trying to do too much at once is a surefire way to sink your strategic plan. By creating a clear and inspiring vision statement , you can avoid this trap and provide guidance and inspiration for your team. A great vision statement might even help attract talent and investment into your organization.

For example, a bike manufacturing company might have a vision statement like, “To be the premier bike manufacturer in the Pacific Northwest.” This statement clearly articulates the organization's goals and is a powerful motivator for the team.

In short, don't start your strategic plan without a clear vision statement. It will keep your organization focused and help you navigate toward success.

📚 Recommended read: How to Write a Vision Statement (With Examples, Tips, and Formulas)

Values are the enablers of your vision statement —they represent how your organization will behave as you work towards your strategic goals. Unfortunately, many companies throw around meaningless words just for the purpose of PR, leading to a loss of credibility.

To avoid this, make sure to integrate your organization’s core values into everyday operations and interactions. In today's highly-competitive world, it's crucial to remain steadfast in your values and cultivate an organizational culture that's transparent and trustworthy.

Companies with the best company cultures consistently outperform competitors and their average market by up to 115.6%, as reported by Glassdoor . 

For example, a bike manufacturing company might have core values like:

  • Accountability

These values reflect the organization's desire to become the leading bike manufacturer, while still being accountable to employees, customers, and shareholders.

👉 Here’s how to add vision and values to your strategic plan in Cascade: 

After you sign up and invite your team members to collaborate on the plan, navigate to Plans and Teams > Teams page, and add the vision, mission and values. This will help you to ensure that the company’s vision, mission statement, and values are always at top of mind for everyone.

📚When you're ready to start creating some company values, check out our guide, How To Create Company Values .

3. Focus Areas

Your focus areas are the strategic priorities that will keep your team on track and working toward the company’s mission and vision. They represent the high-level areas that you need to focus on to achieve desired business outcomes.

In fact, companies with clearly defined priorities are more likely to achieve their objectives. According to a case study by the Harvard Business Review , teams that focus on a small number of key initiatives are more likely to succeed than those that try to do too much. 

That’s also something that we usually recommend to our customers when they set up their strategic plan in Cascade. Rather than spreading your resources too thin over multiple focus areas, prioritize three to five. 

Following our manufacturing example above, some good focus areas include:

  • Aggressive growth
  • Producing the nation's best bikes
  • Becoming a modern manufacturer
  • Becoming a top place to work

Your focus areas should be tighter in scope than your vision statement, but broader than specific goals, time frames, or metrics. 

By defining your focus areas, you'll give your teams a guardrail to work within, which can help inspire innovation and creative problem-solving. 

With a clear set of focus areas, your team will be better able to prioritize their work and stay focused on the most important things, which will ultimately lead to better business results.

👉Here’s how you can set focus areas in Cascade: 

In Cascade, you can add focus areas while creating or importing an existing strategic plan from a spreadsheet. With Cascade’s Focus Area deep-dive functionality , you will be able to: 

  • Review the health of your focus areas in one place.
  • Get a breakdown by plans, budgets, resources, and people behind each strategic priority. 
  • See something at-risk? Drill down into each piece of work regardless of how many plans it's a part of.

add focus areas in cascade strategy execution platform

📚 Recommended read: Strategic Focus Areas: How to create them + Examples

4. Strategic Objectives

The importance of setting clear and specific objectives for your strategic plan cannot be overstated. 

Strategic objectives are the specific and measurable outcomes you want to achieve . While they should align with your focus areas, they should be more detailed and have a clear deadline. 

According to the 2022 State of High Performing Teams report , there is a strong correlation between goals and success not only at the individual and team level but also at the organizational level. Here’s what they found: 

  • Employees who are unaware of their company's goals are over three times more likely to work at a company that is experiencing a decline in revenue than employees who are aware of the goals. 
  • Companies with shrinking revenues are almost twice as likely to have employees with unclear work expectations. 

Jumping straight into actions without defining clear objectives is a common mistake that can lead to missed opportunities or misalignment between strategy and execution.

To avoid this pitfall, we recommend you add between three and six objectives to each focus area .

It's here that we need to start being a bit more specific for the first time in your strategic planning process . Let's take a look at an example of a well-written strategic objective:

  • Continue top-line growth that outpaces the industry by 31st Dec 2023.

This is too specific to be a focus area. While it's still very high level, it indicates what the company wants to accomplish and includes a clear deadline. Both these aspects are critical to a good strategic objective.

Your strategic objectives are the heart and soul of your plan, and you need to ensure they are well-crafted. So, take the time to create well-planned objectives that will help you achieve your vision and lead your organization to success. 

👉Here’s how you can set objectives in Cascade: 

Adding objectives in Cascade is intuitive, straightforward, and accessible from almost anywhere in the workspace. With one click, you’ll open the objective sidebar and fill out the details. These can include a timeline, the objective’s owner, collaborators, and how your objective will be measured (success criteria).

📚 Recommended read: What are Strategic Objectives? How to write them + Examples

5. Actions and projects

Once you’ve defined your strategic objectives, the next step is to identify the specific strategic initiatives or projects that will help you achieve those objectives . They are short-term goals or actionable steps you or your team members will take to accomplish objectives. They should leverage the company’s resources and core competencies. 

Effective projects and actions in your strategic plan should: 

  • Be extremely specific. 
  • Contain a deadline.
  • Have an owner.
  • Align with at least one of your strategic objectives.
  • Provide clarity on how you or your team will achieve the strategic objective.

Let's take a look at an example of a well-written project continuing with our bike manufacturing company using the strategic objective from above:

Strategic objective: Continue top-line growth that outpaces the industry by 31st Dec 2023.

Project: Expand into the fixed gear market by 31st December 2023.

This is more specific than the objective it links to, and it details what you will do to achieve the objective.

Another common problem area for strategic plans is that they never quite get down to the detail of what you're going to do.

It's easier to state "we need to grow our business," but without concrete projects and initiatives, those plans will sit forever within their PowerPoint templates, never to see the light of day after their initial creation.

Actions and projects are where the rubber meets the road. They connect the organizational strategic goals with the actual capabilities of your people and the resources at their disposal. Defining projects is a vital reality check every strategic plan needs.

👉Here’s how you create actions and projects in Cascade: 

From the Objective sidebar, you can choose to add a project or action under your chosen objective. In the following steps, you can assign an owner and timeline to each action or project.

Plus, in Cascade, you can track the progress of each project or action in four different ways. You can do it manually, via milestones, checklists, or automatically by integrating with Jira and 1000+ other available integrations .  

📚 Recommended read: How to create effective projects

Measuring progress towards strategic objectives is essential to effective strategic control and business success. That's where Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) come in. KPIs are measurable values that track progress toward achieving key business objectives . They keep you on track and help you stay focused on the goals you set for your organization.

To get the most out of your KPIs, make sure you link them to a specific goal or objective. In this way, you'll avoid creating KPIs that don't contribute to your objectives and distract you from focusing on what matters. 

Ideally, you will add both leading and lagging KPIs to each objective so you can get a more balanced view of how well you're progressing. Leading KPIs can indicate future performance while lagging KPIs show how well you’ve done in the past. Both types of KPIs are critical for operational planning and keeping your business on track.

Think of KPIs as a form of signpost in your organization. They provide critical insights that inform business leaders of their organization’s progress toward key business objectives. Plus, they can help you identify opportunities faster and capitalize on flexibility. 

👉Here’s how you can set and track KPIs in Cascade: 

In Cascade , you can add measures while creating your objectives or add them afterward. Open the Objective sidebar and add your chosen measure. 

When you create your Measure, you can choose how to track it. Using Cascade, you can track it manually or automatically. You can automate tracking via 1000+ integrations , including Excel spreadsheets and Google Sheets. In this way, you can save time and ensure that your team has up-to-date information for faster and more confident decision-making.

📚 Recommended reads:

  • 10 Popular KPI Software Tools To Connect & Visualize Your Data (2023 Guide)
  • ‍ How To Track KPIs To Hit Your Business Goals

Corporate Strategic Plan 

Following the steps outlined above, you should end up with a strategic plan that looks something like this:

corporate strategy plan template in cascade

This is a preview of a corporate strategic plan template that is pre-filled with examples. Here you can use the template for free and begin filling it out to align with your organization's needs. Plus, it’s suitable for organizations of all sizes and any industry. 

Once you fill in the template, you can also switch to the timeline view. You’ll get a complete overview of how the different parts of your plan are distributed across the roadmap in a Gantt chart view.

timeline view strategic planning corporate strategy

This template will help you create a structured approach to the strategic planning process, focus on key strategic priorities, and drive accountability to achieve necessary business outcomes. 

👉 Get your free corporate strategic plan template here.

Coca-Cola Strategic Plan 

Need a bit of extra inspiration to start writing your organization’s strategic plan? Check out this strategic plan example, inspired by Coca-Cola’s business plan: 

coca-cola strategy plan template in cascade

This template is pre-filled with Coca-Cola’s examples so you can inspire your strategic success on one of the most iconic brands on the planet. 

👉 Grab your free example of a Coca-Cola strategic plan here.

The Ramsay Health Care expansion strategy

Ramsay Health Care is a multinational healthcare provider with a strong presence in Australia, Europe, and Asia.

Almost all of its growth was organic and strategic. The company founded its headquarters in Sydney, Australia, but in the 21st century, it decided to expand globally through a primary strategy of making brownfield investments and acquisitions in key locations.

Ramsay's strategy was simple yet clever. By becoming a majority shareholder of the biggest local players, the company expanded organically in each region by leveraging and expanding their expertise.

Over the last two decades, Ramsay's global network has grown to 460 locations across 10 countries with over $13 billion in annual revenue.

📚 Recommended read: Strategy study: The Ramsay Health Care Growth Study

✨ Bonus resource: We've created a list of the most popular and free strategic plan templates in our library that will help you build a strategic plan based on the Cascade model explained in this article. You can use these templates to create a plan on a corporate, business unit, or team level.

We highlighted before that other strategic models often fail to scale strategic plans and goals scales across multiple teams and organizational levels. 

In an ideal world, you want to have a maximum of two layers of detail underneath each of your focus areas. This means you'll have a focus area, followed by a layer of objectives. Underneath the objectives, you'll have a layer of actions, projects, and KPIs.

Diagram of the Cascade Model framework showing the structure for focus areas, objectives, KPIs, actions and projects

If you have a single team that’s responsible for the strategy execution, this works well. However, how do you implement a strategy across multiple and cross-functional teams? And why is it important? 

According to LSA research of 410 companies across 8 industries, highly aligned companies grow revenue 58% faster and are 72% more profitable. And this is what Cascade can help you achieve. 

To achieve achieve organization-wide alignment with your strategic plan and impact the bottom line, there are two ways to approach it in Casade: through contributing objectives or shared objectives .

1. Contributing objectives

This approach involves adding contributing objectives that link to your main strategic objectives, like this:

diagram showing contributing objectives in the cascade model

For each contributing objective, you simply repeat the Objective → Action/Project → KPI structure as follows:

contributing objectives with kpis and actions cascade model

Here's how you can create contributing objectives in Cascade: 

Option A: Create contributing objectives within the same plan 

This means creating multiple contributing objectives within the same strategic plan that contribute to the main objective. 

However, be aware that if you have a lot of layers, your strategic plan can become cluttered, and people might have difficulty understanding how their daily efforts contribute to the strategic plan at the top level. 

For example, the people responsible for managing contributing objectives at the bottom of the plan ( functional / operational level ) will lose visibility on how are their objectives linked to the main focus areas and objectives (at a corporate / business level ). 

This approach is best suited to smaller organizations that only need to add a few layers of objectives to their plan.

Option B: Create contributing objectives from multiple plans linking to the main objective

This approach creates a network of aligned strategic plans within your organization. Each plan contains a set of focus areas and one single layer of objectives, each with its own set of projects, actions, and KPIs. This concept looks like this:

Diagram showing contributing objectives from multiple plans linking to the main objective in Cascade

This example illustrates an objective that is a main objective in the IT strategic plan , but also contributes to the main strategic plan's objective.

For example, let’s say that your main business objective is to improve customer satisfaction by reducing product delivery time by 25% in the next quarter. This objective requires multiple operational teams within your organization to work together to achieve a shared objective. 

Each team will create its own objective in its plan to contribute to the main objective: 

  • Logistics team: Reduce the shipment preparation time by 30%
  • IT team: Implement new technology to reduce manual handling in the warehouse
  • Production team: Increase production output by hour for 5%   

Here’s how this example would look like within Cascade platform:

example of contributing objectives in cascade

Although each contributing objective was originally created in its own plan, you can see how each contributing objective relates to the main strategic objective and its status in real-time.

2. Shared objectives

In Cascade, shared objectives are the same objectives shared across different strategic plans.

For example, you can have an objective that is “Achieve sustainable operations”. This objective can be part of the Corporate Strategy Plan, but also part of the Operations Plan , Supply Chain Plan , Production Plan, etc. In short, this objective becomes a shared objective between multiple teams and strategic plan. 

This approach helps you to:

  • Cascade your business strategy as deep as you want across a near-infinite number of people while maintaining strategic alignment throughout your organization .
  • Create transparency and a much higher level of engagement in the strategy throughout your organization since objective owners are able to identify how their shared efforts contribute to the success of the main business objectives.

The more shared objectives you have across your organization, the more your teams will be aligned with the overarching business strategy. This is what we call " alignment health ”. 

Here’s how you can see the shared objectives in the alignment map and analyze alignment health within Cascade:

Alignment Map and Objective Sidebar in cascade for shared objectives

You get a snapshot of how is your corporate strategic plan aligned with sub-plans from different business units or departments and the status of shared objectives. This helps you quickly identify misaligned initiatives and act before it’s too late.  Plus, cross-functional teams have better visibility of how their efforts contribute to shared objectives. 

So whether you choose contributing objectives or shared objectives, Cascade has the tools and features to help you achieve organization-wide alignment and boost your bottom line.

Quick Overview Of Key Steps In Writing A Strategic Plan

Here’s a quick infographic to help you remember how everything connects and why each element is critical to creating an effective strategic plan:

The Cascade Model Overview cheatsheet

This simple answer to how to write a strategic plan avoids confusing jargon and has elements that the whole organization can both get behind and understand. 

💡Tip: Save this image or bookmark this article for your next strategic planning session.

If you're struggling to write an execution-ready strategic plan, the Cascade model is the solution you've been looking for. With its clear, easy-to-understand terminology, and simple linkages between objectives, projects, and KPIs, you can create a plan that's both scalable and flexible.

But why is a flexible and execution-ready strategic plan so important? It's simple: without a clear and actionable plan, you'll never be able to achieve your business objectives. By using the Cascade Strategic Planning Model, you'll be able to create a plan that's both tangible and measurable, with KPIs that help you track progress towards your goals.

However, the real value of the Cascade framework lies in its flexibility . By creating links between main business objectives and your teams’ objectives, you can easily scale your plan without losing focus. Plus, the model's structure of linked layers means that you can always adjust your strategy in response to new challenges or opportunities and keep everyone on the same page. 

So if you want to achieve results with your strategic plan, start using Cascade today. With its unique combination of flexibility and focus, it's the perfect tool for any organization looking to master strategy execution and succeed in today's fast-paced business world. 

Want to see Cascade in action? Get started for free or book a 1:1 demo with Cascade’s in-house strategy expert.

This article is part one of our mini-series "How to Write a Strategic Plan". This first article will give you a solid strategy model for your plan and get the strategic thinking going.

Think of it as the foundation for your new strategy. Subsequent parts of the series will show you how to create the content for your strategic plan.

Articles in our How to Write a Strategic Plan series

  • How To Write A Strategic Plan: The Cascade Model (This article)
  • How to Write a Good Vision Statement
  • How To Create Company Values
  • Creating Strategic Focus Areas
  • How To Write Strategic Objective
  • How To Create Effective Projects
  • How To Write KPIs + Ultimate Guide To Strategic Planning

More resources on strategic planning and strategy execution: 

  • 6 Steps to Successful Strategy Execution
  • 4-Step Strategy Reporting Process (With Template)
  • Annual Planning: Plan Like a Pro In 5 Steps (+ Template) 
  • 18 Free Strategic Plan Templates (Excel & Cascade) 2023
  • The Right Way To Set Team Goals
  • 23 Best Strategy Tools For Your Organization in 2023

Popular articles

strategic planning cycle example

Viva Goals Vs. Cascade: Goal Management Vs. Strategy Execution

strategic planning cycle example

What Is A Maturity Model? Overview, Examples + Free Assessment

strategic planning cycle example

How To Implement The Balanced Scorecard Framework (With Examples)

strategic planning cycle example

The Best Management Reporting Software For Strategy Officers (2024 Guide)

Your toolkit for strategy success.

strategic planning cycle example

The Strategic Planning Process in 4 Steps

To guide you through the strategic planning process, we created this 4 step process you can use with your team. we’ll cover the basic definition of strategic planning, what core elements you should include, and actionable steps to build your strategic plan..

Free Strategic Planning Guide

What is Strategic Planning?

Strategic Planning is when a process where organizations define a bold vision and create a plan with objectives and goals to reach that future. A great strategic plan defines where your organization is going, how you’ll win, who must do what, and how you’ll review and adapt your strategy development.

A strategic plan or a business strategic plan should include the following:

  • Your organization’s vision organization’s vision of the future.
  • A clearly Articulated mission and values statement.
  • A current state assessment that evaluates your competitive environment, new opportunities, and new threats.
  • What strategic challenges you face.
  • A growth strategy and outlined market share.
  • Long-term strategic goals.
  • An annual plan with SMART goals or OKRs to support your strategic goals.
  • Clear measures, key performance indicators, and data analytics to measure progress.
  • A clear strategic planning cycle, including how you’ll review, refresh, and recast your plan every quarter.

Strategic Planning Video - What is Strategic Planning?

Overview of the Strategic Planning Process:

The strategic management process involves taking your organization on a journey from point A (where you are today) to point B (your vision of the future).

Part of that journey is the strategy built during strategic planning, and part of it is execution during the strategic management process. A good strategic plan dictates “how” you travel the selected road.

Effective execution ensures you are reviewing, refreshing, and recalibrating your strategy to reach your destination. The planning process should take no longer than 90 days. But, move at a pace that works best for you and your team and leverage this as a resource.

To kick this process off, we recommend 1-2 weeks (1-hour meeting with the Owner/CEO, Strategy Director, and Facilitator (if necessary) to discuss the information collected and direction for continued planning.)

Strategic Planning Guide and Process

Questions to Ask:

  • Who is on your Planning Team? What senior leadership members and key stakeholders are included? Checkout these links you need help finding a strategic planning consultant , someone to facilitate strategic planning , or expert AI strategy consulting .
  • Who will be the business process owner (Strategy Director) of planning in your organization?
  • Fast forward 12 months from now, what do you want to see differently in your organization as a result of your strategic plan and implementation?
  • Planning team members are informed of their roles and responsibilities.
  • A strategic planning schedule is established.
  • Existing planning information and secondary data collected.

Action Grid:

Overview of the Strategic Planning Process

Step 1: Determine Organizational Readiness

Set up your plan for success – questions to ask:

  • Are the conditions and criteria for successful planning in place at the current time? Can certain pitfalls be avoided?
  • Is this the appropriate time for your organization to initiate a planning process? Yes or no? If no, where do you go from here?

Step 2: Develop Your Team & Schedule

Who is going to be on your planning team? You need to choose someone to oversee the strategy implementation (Chief Strategy Officer or Strategy Director) and strategic management of your plan? You need some of the key individuals and decision makers for this team. It should be a small group of approximately 12-15 people.

OnStrategy is the leader in strategic planning and performance management. Our cloud-based software and hands-on services closes the gap between strategy and execution. Learn more about OnStrategy here .

Step 3: Collect Current Data

All strategic plans are developed using the following information:

  • The last strategic plan, even if it is not current
  • Mission statement, vision statement, values statement
  • Past or current Business plan
  • Financial records for the last few years
  • Marketing plan
  • Other information, such as last year’s SWOT, sales figures and projections

Step 4: Review Collected Data

Review the data collected in the last action with your strategy director and facilitator.

  • What trends do you see?
  • Are there areas of obvious weakness or strengths?
  • Have you been following a plan or have you just been going along with the market?

Conclusion: A successful strategic plan must be adaptable to changing conditions. Organizations benefit from having a flexible plan that can evolve, as assumptions and goals may need adjustments. Preparing to adapt or restart the planning process is crucial, so we recommend updating actions quarterly and refreshing your plan annually.

Strategic Planning Pyramid

Strategic Planning Phase 1: Determine Your Strategic Position

Want more? Dive into the “ Evaluate Your Strategic Position ” How-To Guide.

Action Grid

Step 1: identify strategic issues.

Strategic issues are critical unknowns driving you to embark on a robust strategic planning process. These issues can be problems, opportunities, market shifts, or anything else that keeps you awake at night and begging for a solution or decision. The best strategic plans address your strategic issues head-on.

  • How will we grow, stabilize, or retrench in order to sustain our organization into the future?
  • How will we diversify our revenue to reduce our dependence on a major customer?
  • What must we do to improve our cost structure and stay competitive?
  • How and where must we innovate our products and services?

Step 2: Conduct an Environmental Scan

Conducting an environmental scan will help you understand your operating environment. An environmental scan is called a PEST analysis, an acronym for Political, Economic, Social, and Technological trends. Sometimes, it is helpful to include Ecological and Legal trends as well. All of these trends play a part in determining the overall business environment.

Step 3: Conduct a Competitive Analysis

The reason to do a competitive analysis is to assess the opportunities and threats that may occur from those organizations competing for the same business you are. You need to understand what your competitors are or aren’t offering your potential customers. Here are a few other key ways a competitive analysis fits into strategic planning:

  • To help you assess whether your competitive advantage is really an advantage.
  • To understand what your competitors’ current and future strategies are so you can plan accordingly.
  • To provide information that will help you evaluate your strategic decisions against what your competitors may or may not be doing.

Learn more on how to conduct a competitive analysis here .

Step 4: Identify Opportunities and Threats

Opportunities are situations that exist but must be acted on if the business is to benefit from them.

What do you want to capitalize on?

  • What new needs of customers could you meet?
  • What are the economic trends that benefit you?
  • What are the emerging political and social opportunities?
  • What niches have your competitors missed?

Threats refer to external conditions or barriers preventing a company from reaching its objectives.

What do you need to mitigate? What external driving force do you need to anticipate?

Questions to Answer:

  • What are the negative economic trends?
  • What are the negative political and social trends?
  • Where are competitors about to bite you?
  • Where are you vulnerable?

Step 5: Identify Strengths and Weaknesses

Strengths refer to what your company does well.

What do you want to build on?

  • What do you do well (in sales, marketing, operations, management)?
  • What are your core competencies?
  • What differentiates you from your competitors?
  • Why do your customers buy from you?

Weaknesses refer to any limitations a company faces in developing or implementing a strategy.

What do you need to shore up?

  • Where do you lack resources?
  • What can you do better?
  • Where are you losing money?
  • In what areas do your competitors have an edge?

Step 6: Customer Segments

How to Segment Your Customers

Customer segmentation defines the different groups of people or organizations a company aims to reach or serve.

  • What needs or wants define your ideal customer?
  • What characteristics describe your typical customer?
  • Can you sort your customers into different profiles using their needs, wants and characteristics?
  • Can you reach this segment through clear communication channels?

Step 7: Develop Your SWOT

How to Perform a SWOT

A SWOT analysis is a quick way of examining your organization by looking at the internal strengths and weaknesses in relation to the external opportunities and threats. Creating a SWOT analysis lets you see all the important factors affecting your organization together in one place.

It’s easy to read, easy to communicate, and easy to create. Take the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats you developed earlier, review, prioritize, and combine like terms. The SWOT analysis helps you ask and answer the following questions: “How do you….”

  • Build on your strengths
  • Shore up your weaknesses
  • Capitalize on your opportunities
  • Manage your threats

How to Write a Mission Statment

Strategic Planning Process Phase 2: Developing Strategy

Want More? Deep Dive Into the “Developing Your Strategy” How-To Guide.

Step 1: Develop Your Mission Statement

The mission statement describes an organization’s purpose or reason for existing.

What is our purpose? Why do we exist? What do we do?

  • What are your organization’s goals? What does your organization intend to accomplish?
  • Why do you work here? Why is it special to work here?
  • What would happen if we were not here?

Outcome: A short, concise, concrete statement that clearly defines the scope of the organization.

Step 2: discover your values.

Your values statement clarifies what your organization stands for, believes in and the behaviors you expect to see as a result. Check our the post on great what are core values and examples of core values .

How will we behave?

  • What are the key non-negotiables that are critical to the company’s success?
  • What guiding principles are core to how we operate in this organization?
  • What behaviors do you expect to see?
  • If the circumstances changed and penalized us for holding this core value, would we still keep it?

Outcome: Short list of 5-7 core values.

Step 3: casting your vision statement.

How to Write Core Values

A Vision Statement defines your desired future state and directs where we are going as an organization.

Where are we going?

  • What will our organization look like 5–10 years from now?
  • What does success look like?
  • What are we aspiring to achieve?
  • What mountain are you climbing and why?

Outcome: A picture of the future.

Step 4: identify your competitive advantages.

How to Write a Vision Statment

A competitive advantage is a characteristic of an organization that allows it to meet its customer’s need(s) better than its competition can. It’s important to consider your competitive advantages when creating your competitive strategy.

What are we best at?

  • What are your unique strengths?
  • What are you best at in your market?
  • Do your customers still value what is being delivered? Ask them.
  • How do your value propositions stack up in the marketplace?

Outcome: A list of 2 or 3 items that honestly express the organization’s foundation for winning.

Step 5: crafting your organization-wide strategies.

What is a Competitive Advantage

Your competitive strategy is the general methods you intend to use to reach your vision. Regardless of the level, a strategy answers the question “how.”

How will we succeed?

  • Broad: market scope; a relatively wide market emphasis.
  • Narrow: limited to only one or few segments in the market
  • Does your competitive position focus on lowest total cost or product/service differentiation or both?

Outcome: Establish the general, umbrella methods you intend to use to reach your vision.

How to Develop a Growth Strategy

Phase 3: Strategic Plan Development

Want More? Deep Dive Into the “Build Your Plan” How-To Guide.

Strategic Planning Process Step 1: Use Your SWOT to Set Priorities

If your team wants to take the next step in the SWOT analysis, apply the TOWS Strategic Alternatives Matrix to your strategy map to help you think about the options you could pursue. To do this, match external opportunities and threats with your internal strengths and weaknesses, as illustrated in the matrix below:

TOWS Strategic Alternatives Matrix

Evaluate the options you’ve generated, and identify the ones that give the greatest benefit, and that best achieve the mission and vision of your organization. Add these to the other strategic options that you’re considering.

Step 2: Define Long-Term Strategic Objectives

Long-Term Strategic Objectives are long-term, broad, continuous statements that holistically address all areas of your organization. What must we focus on to achieve our vision? Check out examples of strategic objectives here. What are the “big rocks”?

Questions to ask:

  • What are our shareholders or stakeholders expectations for our financial performance or social outcomes?
  • To reach our outcomes, what value must we provide to our customers? What is our value proposition?
  • To provide value, what process must we excel at to deliver our products and services?
  • To drive our processes, what skills, capabilities and organizational structure must we have?

Outcome: Framework for your plan – no more than 6. You can use the balanced scorecard framework, OKRs, or whatever methodology works best for you. Just don’t exceed 6 long-term objectives.

Strategy Map

Step 3: Setting Organization-Wide Goals and Measures

How to Set SMART Goals

Once you have formulated your strategic objectives, you should translate them into goals and measures that can be communicated to your strategic planning team (team of business leaders and/or team members).

You want to set goals that convert the strategic objectives into specific performance targets. Effective strategic goals clearly state what, when, how, and who, and they are specifically measurable. They should address what you must do in the short term (think 1-3 years) to achieve your strategic objectives.

Organization-wide goals are annual statements that are SMART – specific, measurable, attainable, responsible, and time-bound. These are outcome statements expressing a result to achieve the desired outcomes expected in the organization.

What is most important right now to reach our long-term objectives?

Outcome: clear outcomes for the current year..

Strategic Planning Outcomes Table

Step 4: Select KPIs

How to Develop KPIs for Strategic Planning

Key Performance Indicators (KPI) are the key measures that will have the most impact in moving your organization forward. We recommend you guide your organization with measures that matter. See examples of KPIs here.

How will we measure our success?

Outcome: 5-7 measures that help you keep the pulse on your performance. When selecting your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), ask, “What are the key performance measures we need to track to monitor if we are achieving our goals?” These KPIs include the key goals you want to measure that will have the most impact on moving your organization forward.

Step 5: Cascade Your Strategies to Operations

Cascade Your Strategy to Acton Plans

To move from big ideas to action, creating action items and to-dos for short-term goals is crucial. This involves translating strategy from the organizational level to individuals. Functional area managers and contributors play a role in developing short-term goals to support the organization.

Before taking action, decide whether to create plans directly derived from the strategic plan or sync existing operational, business, or account plans with organizational goals. Avoid the pitfall of managing multiple sets of goals and actions, as this shifts from strategic planning to annual planning.

Questions to Ask

  • How are we going to get there at a functional level?
  • Who must do what by when to accomplish and drive the organizational goals?
  • What strategic questions still remain and need to be solved?

Department/functional goals, actions, measures and targets for the next 12-24 months

Step 6: Cascading Goals to Departments and Team Members

Now in your Departments / Teams, you need to create goals to support the organization-wide goals. These goals should still be SMART and are generally (short-term) something to be done in the next 12-18 months. Finally, you should develop an action plan for each goal.

Keep the acronym SMART in mind again when setting action items, and make sure they include start and end dates and have someone assigned their responsibility. Since these action items support your previously established goals, it may be helpful to consider action items your immediate plans on the way to achieving your (short-term) goals. In other words, identify all the actions that need to occur in the next 90 days and continue this same process every 90 days until the goal is achieved.

Examples of Cascading Goals:

Build a Strategic Plan You Can Implement

Phase 4: Executing Strategy and Managing Performance

Want more? Dive Into the “Managing Performance” How-To Guide.

Step 1: Strategic Plan Implementation Schedule

Implementation is the process that turns strategies and plans into actions in order to accomplish strategic objectives and goals.

How will we use the plan as a management tool?

  • Communication Schedule: How and when will you roll-out your plan to your staff? How frequently will you send out updates?
  • Process Leader: Who is your strategy director?
  • Structure: What are the dates for your strategy reviews (we recommend at least quarterly)?
  • System & Reports: What are you expecting each staff member to come prepared with to those strategy review sessions?

Outcome: Syncing your plan into the “rhythm of your business.”

Once your resources are in place, you can set your implementation schedule. Use the following steps as your base implementation plan:

  • Establish your performance management and reward system.
  • Set up monthly and quarterly strategy meetings with established reporting procedures.
  • Set up annual strategic review dates including new assessments and a large group meeting for an annual plan review.

Now you’re ready to start plan roll-out. Below are sample implementation schedules, which double for a full strategic management process timeline.

Strategic Planning Calendar

Step 2: Tracking Goals & Actions

Monthly strategy meetings don’t need to take a lot of time – 30 to 60 minutes should suffice. But it is important that key team members report on their progress toward the goals they are responsible for – including reporting on metrics in the scorecard they have been assigned.

By using the measurements already established, it’s easy to make course corrections if necessary. You should also commit to reviewing your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) during these regular meetings. Need help comparing strategic planning software ? Check out our guide.

Effective Strategic Planning: Your Bi-Annual Checklist

Is it strategic?

Never lose sight of the fact that strategic plans are guidelines, not rules. Every six months or so, you should evaluate your strategy execution and strategic plan implementation by asking these key questions:

  • Will your goals be achieved within the time frame of the plan? If not, why?
  • Should the deadlines be modified? (Before you modify deadlines, figure out why you’re behind schedule.)
  • Are your goals and action items still realistic?
  • Should the organization’s focus be changed to put more emphasis on achieving your goals?
  • Should your goals be changed? (Be careful about making these changes – know why efforts aren’t achieving the goals before changing the goals.)
  • What can be gathered from an adaptation to improve future planning activities?

Why Track Your Goals?

  • Ownership: Having a stake and responsibility in the plan makes you feel part of it and leads you to drive your goals forward.
  • Culture: Successful plans tie tracking and updating goals into organizational culture.
  • Implementation: If you don’t review and update your strategic goals, they are just good intentions
  • Accountability: Accountability and high visibility help drive change. This means that each measure, objective, data source and initiative must have an owner.
  • Empowerment: Changing goals from In Progress to Complete just feels good!

Step 3: Review & Adapt

Guidelines for your strategy review.

The most important part of this meeting is a 70/30 review. 30% is about reviewing performance, and 70% should be spent on making decisions to move the company’s strategy forward in the next quarter.

The best strategic planners spend about 60-90 minutes in the sessions. Holding meetings helps focus your goals on accomplishing top priorities and accelerating the organization’s growth. Although the meeting structure is relatively simple, it does require a high degree of discipline.

Strategy Review Session Questions:

Strategic planning frequently asked questions, read our frequently asked questions about strategic planning to learn how to build a great strategic plan..

Strategic planning is when organizations define a bold vision and create a plan with objectives and goals to reach that future. A great strategic plan defines where your organization is going, how you’ll win, who must do what, and how you’ll review and adapt your strategy..

Your strategic plan needs to include an assessment of your current state, a SWOT analysis, mission, vision, values, competitive advantages, growth strategy, growth enablers, a 3-year roadmap, and annual plan with strategic goals, OKRs, and KPIs.

A strategic planning process should take no longer than 90 days to complete from start to finish! Any longer could fatigue your organization and team.

There are four overarching phases to the strategic planning process that include: determining position, developing your strategy, building your plan, and managing performance. Each phase plays a unique but distinctly crucial role in the strategic planning process.

Prior to starting your strategic plan, you must go through this pre-planning process to determine your organization’s readiness by following these steps:

Ask yourself these questions: Are the conditions and criteria for successful planning in place now? Can we foresee any pitfalls that we can avoid? Is there an appropriate time for our organization to initiate this process?

Develop your team and schedule. Who will oversee the implementation as Chief Strategy Officer or Director? Do we have at least 12-15 other key individuals on our team?

Research and Collect Current Data. Find the following resources that your organization may have used in the past to assist you with your new plan: last strategic plan, mission, vision, and values statement, business plan, financial records, marketing plan, SWOT, sales figures, or projections.

Finally, review the data with your strategy director and facilitator and ask these questions: What trends do we see? Any obvious strengths or weaknesses? Have we been following a plan or just going along with the market?

Join 60,000 other leaders engaged in transforming their organizations.

Subscribe to get the latest agile strategy best practices, free guides, case studies, and videos in your inbox every week..

Keystone

Leading strategy? Join our FREE community.

Become a member of the chief strategy officer collaborative..

OnStrategy Collaborative

Free monthly sessions and exclusive content.

Do you want to 2x your impact.

strategic planning cycle example

strategic planning process

5 steps of the strategic planning process

Lucid Content

Reading time: about 6 min

  • Process improvement

Strategic planning process steps

  • Determine your strategic position.
  • Prioritize your objectives.
  • Develop a strategic plan.
  • Execute and manage your plan.
  • Review and revise the plan.

Because so many businesses lack in these regards, you can get ahead of the game by using strategic planning. In this article, we will explain what the strategic planning process looks like and the steps involved.

Strategic planning process

What is the strategic planning process?

In the simplest terms, the strategic planning process is the method that organizations use to develop plans to achieve overall, long-term goals.

This process differs from the project planning  process, which is used to scope and assign tasks for individual projects, or strategy mapping , which helps you determine your mission, vision, and goals.

The strategic planning process is broad—it helps you create a roadmap for which strategic objectives you should put effort into achieving and which initiatives would be less helpful to the business. 

Before you begin the strategic planning process, it is important to review some steps to set you and your organization up for success.

1. Determine your strategic position

This preparation phase sets the foundation for all work going forward. You need to know where you are to determine where you need to go and how you will get there.

Involve the right stakeholders from the start, considering both internal and external sources. Identify key strategic issues by talking with executives at your company, pulling in customer insights, and collecting industry and market data. This will give you a clear picture of your position in the market and customer insight.

It can also be helpful to review—or create if you don’t have them already—your company’s mission and vision statements to give yourself and your team a clear image of what success looks like for your business. In addition, review your company’s core values to remind yourself about how your company plans to achieve these objectives.

To get started, use industry and market data, including customer insights and current/future demands, to identify the issues that need to be addressed. Document your organization's internal strengths and weaknesses, along with external opportunities (ways your organization can grow in order to fill needs that the market does not currently fill) and threats (your competition). 

As a framework for your initial analysis, use a SWOT diagram. With input from executives, customers, and external market data, you can quickly categorize your findings as Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) to clarify your current position.

SWOT analysis example

An alternative to a SWOT is PEST analysis. Standing for Political, Economic, Socio-cultural, and Technological, PEST is a strategic tool used to clarify threats and opportunities for your business. 

PEST Analysis

As you synthesize this information, your unique strategic position in the market will become clear, and you can start solidifying a few key strategic objectives. Often, these objectives are set with a three- to five-year horizon in mind.

strategic planning

Use PEST analysis for additional help with strategic planning.

2. Prioritize your objectives

Once you have identified your current position in the market, it is time to determine objectives that will help you achieve your goals. Your objectives should align with your company mission and vision.

Prioritize your objectives by asking important questions such as:

  • Which of these initiatives will have the greatest impact on achieving our company mission/vision and improving our position in the market?
  • What types of impact are most important (e.g. customer acquisition vs. revenue)?
  • How will the competition react?
  • Which initiatives are most urgent?
  • What will we need to do to accomplish our goals?
  • How will we measure our progress and determine whether we achieved our goals?

Objectives should be distinct and measurable to help you reach your long-term strategic goals and initiatives outlined in step one. Potential objectives can be updating website content, improving email open rates, and generating new leads in the pipeline.

3. Develop a plan

Now it's time to create a strategic plan to reach your goals successfully. This step requires determining the tactics necessary to attain your objectives and designating a timeline and clearly communicating responsibilities. 

Strategy mapping is an effective tool to visualize your entire plan. Working from the top-down, strategy maps make it simple to view business processes and identify gaps for improvement.

strategy map example

Truly strategic choices usually involve a trade-off in opportunity cost. For example, your company may decide not to put as much funding behind customer support, so that it can put more funding into creating an intuitive user experience.

Be prepared to use your values, mission statement, and established priorities to say “no” to initiatives that won’t enhance your long-term strategic position.  

4. Execute and manage the plan

Once you have the plan, you’re ready to implement it. First, communicate the plan to the organization by sharing relevant documentation. Then, the actual work begins.

Turn your broader strategy into a concrete plan by mapping your processes. Use key performance indicator (KPI) dashboards to communicate team responsibilities clearly. This granular approach illustrates the completion process and ownership for each step of the way. 

Set up regular reviews with individual contributors and their managers and determine check-in points to ensure you’re on track.

5. Review and revise the plan

The final stage of the plan—to review and revise—gives you an opportunity to reevaluate your priorities and course-correct based on past successes or failures.

On a quarterly basis, determine which KPIs your team has met and how you can continue to meet them, adapting your plan as necessary. On an annual basis, it’s important to reevaluate your priorities and strategic position to ensure that you stay on track for success in the long run.

Track your progress using balanced scorecards to comprehensively understand of your business's performance and execute strategic goals. 

balanced scorecard template

Over time you may find that your mission and vision need to change — an annual evaluation is a good time to consider those changes, prepare a new plan, and implement again. 

strategic planning

Achieve your goals and monitor your progress with balanced scorecards.

Master the strategic planning process steps

As you continue to implement the strategic planning process, repeating each step regularly, you will start to make measurable progress toward achieving your company’s vision.

Instead of constantly putting out fires, reacting to the competition, or focusing on the latest hot-button initiative, you’ll be able to maintain a long-term perspective and make decisions that will keep you on the path to success for years to come.

strategic planning

Use a strategy map to turn your organization's mission and vision into actionable objectives.

About Lucidchart

Lucidchart, a cloud-based intelligent diagramming application, is a core component of Lucid Software's Visual Collaboration Suite. This intuitive, cloud-based solution empowers teams to collaborate in real-time to build flowcharts, mockups, UML diagrams, customer journey maps, and more. Lucidchart propels teams forward to build the future faster. Lucid is proud to serve top businesses around the world, including customers such as Google, GE, and NBC Universal, and 99% of the Fortune 500. Lucid partners with industry leaders, including Google, Atlassian, and Microsoft. Since its founding, Lucid has received numerous awards for its products, business, and workplace culture. For more information, visit lucidchart.com.

Related articles

How to use kaizen methodology to improve business processes.

The Kaizen methodology is an easy way to engage employees and develop a culture of continuous improvement. It strives to eliminate silos, egos, and waste and instead aims for efficient and standardized processes. See why you should use Kaizen and how you can get started.

Implement the strategic planning process to make measurable progress toward achieving your company’s vision and make decisions that will keep you on the path to success for years to come.

Bring your bright ideas to life.

or continue with

By registering, you agree to our Terms of Service and you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Privacy Policy .

  • Product overview
  • All features
  • App integrations

CAPABILITIES

  • project icon Project management
  • Project views
  • Custom fields
  • Status updates
  • goal icon Goals and reporting
  • Reporting dashboards
  • workflow icon Workflows and automation
  • portfolio icon Resource management
  • Time tracking
  • my-task icon Admin and security
  • Admin console
  • asana-intelligence icon Asana Intelligence
  • list icon Personal
  • premium icon Starter
  • briefcase icon Advanced
  • Goal management
  • Organizational planning
  • Campaign management
  • Creative production
  • Content calendars
  • Marketing strategic planning
  • Resource planning
  • Project intake
  • Product launches
  • Employee onboarding
  • View all uses arrow-right icon
  • Project plans
  • Team goals & objectives
  • Team continuity
  • Meeting agenda
  • View all templates arrow-right icon
  • Work management resources Discover best practices, watch webinars, get insights
  • What's new Learn about the latest and greatest from Asana
  • Customer stories See how the world's best organizations drive work innovation with Asana
  • Help Center Get lots of tips, tricks, and advice to get the most from Asana
  • Asana Academy Sign up for interactive courses and webinars to learn Asana
  • Developers Learn more about building apps on the Asana platform
  • Community programs Connect with and learn from Asana customers around the world
  • Events Find out about upcoming events near you
  • Partners Learn more about our partner programs
  • Support Need help? Contact the Asana support team
  • Asana for nonprofits Get more information on our nonprofit discount program, and apply.

Featured Reads

strategic planning cycle example

  • Business strategy |
  • 7 strategic planning models, plus 8 fra ...

7 strategic planning models, plus 8 frameworks to help you get started

15 must-know strategic planning models & frameworks article banner image

Strategic planning is vital in defining where your business is going in the next three to five years. With the right strategic planning models and frameworks, you can uncover opportunities, identify risks, and create a strategic plan to fuel your organization’s success. We list the most popular models and frameworks and explain how you can combine them to create a strategic plan that fits your business.

A strategic plan is a great tool to help you hit your business goals . But sometimes, this tool needs to be updated to reflect new business priorities or changing market conditions. If you decide to use a model that already exists, you can benefit from a roadmap that’s already created. The model you choose can improve your knowledge of what works best in your organization, uncover unknown strengths and weaknesses, or help you find out how you can outpace your competitors.

In this article, we cover the most common strategic planning models and frameworks and explain when to use which one. Plus, get tips on how to apply them and which models and frameworks work well together. 

Strategic planning models vs. frameworks

First off: This is not a one-or-nothing scenario. You can use as many or as few strategic planning models and frameworks as you like. 

When your organization undergoes a strategic planning phase, you should first pick a model or two that you want to apply. This will provide you with a basic outline of the steps to take during the strategic planning process.

[Inline illustration] Strategic planning models vs. frameworks (Infographic)

During that process, think of strategic planning frameworks as the tools in your toolbox. Many models suggest starting with a SWOT analysis or defining your vision and mission statements first. Depending on your goals, though, you may want to apply several different frameworks throughout the strategic planning process.

For example, if you’re applying a scenario-based strategic plan, you could start with a SWOT and PEST(LE) analysis to get a better overview of your current standing. If one of the weaknesses you identify has to do with your manufacturing process, you could apply the theory of constraints to improve bottlenecks and mitigate risks. 

Now that you know the difference between the two, learn more about the seven strategic planning models, as well as the eight most commonly used frameworks that go along with them.

[Inline illustration] The seven strategic planning models (Infographic)

1. Basic model

The basic strategic planning model is ideal for establishing your company’s vision, mission, business objectives, and values. This model helps you outline the specific steps you need to take to reach your goals, monitor progress to keep everyone on target, and address issues as they arise.

If it’s your first strategic planning session, the basic model is the way to go. Later on, you can embellish it with other models to adjust or rewrite your business strategy as needed. Let’s take a look at what kinds of businesses can benefit from this strategic planning model and how to apply it.

Small businesses or organizations

Companies with little to no strategic planning experience

Organizations with few resources 

Write your mission statement. Gather your planning team and have a brainstorming session. The more ideas you can collect early in this step, the more fun and rewarding the analysis phase will feel.

Identify your organization’s goals . Setting clear business goals will increase your team’s performance and positively impact their motivation.

Outline strategies that will help you reach your goals. Ask yourself what steps you have to take in order to reach these goals and break them down into long-term, mid-term, and short-term goals .

Create action plans to implement each of the strategies above. Action plans will keep teams motivated and your organization on target.

Monitor and revise the plan as you go . As with any strategic plan, it’s important to closely monitor if your company is implementing it successfully and how you can adjust it for a better outcome.

2. Issue-based model

Also called goal-based planning model, this is essentially an extension of the basic strategic planning model. It’s a bit more dynamic and very popular for companies that want to create a more comprehensive plan.

Organizations with basic strategic planning experience

Businesses that are looking for a more comprehensive plan

Conduct a SWOT analysis . Assess your organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats with a SWOT analysis to get a better overview of what your strategic plan should focus on. We’ll give into how to conduct a SWOT analysis when we get into the strategic planning frameworks below.

Identify and prioritize major issues and/or goals. Based on your SWOT analysis, identify and prioritize what your strategic plan should focus on this time around.

Develop your main strategies that address these issues and/or goals. Aim to develop one overarching strategy that addresses your highest-priority goal and/or issue to keep this process as simple as possible.

Update or create a mission and vision statement . Make sure that your business’s statements align with your new or updated strategy. If you haven’t already, this is also a chance for you to define your organization’s values.

Create action plans. These will help you address your organization’s goals, resource needs, roles, and responsibilities. 

Develop a yearly operational plan document. This model works best if your business repeats the strategic plan implementation process on an annual basis, so use a yearly operational plan to capture your goals, progress, and opportunities for next time.

Allocate resources for your year-one operational plan. Whether you need funding or dedicated team members to implement your first strategic plan, now is the time to allocate all the resources you’ll need.

Monitor and revise the strategic plan. Record your lessons learned in the operational plan so you can revisit and improve it for the next strategic planning phase.

The issue-based plan can repeat on an annual basis (or less often once you resolve the issues). It’s important to update the plan every time it’s in action to ensure it’s still doing the best it can for your organization.

You don’t have to repeat the full process every year—rather, focus on what’s a priority during this run.

3. Alignment model

This model is also called strategic alignment model (SAM) and is one of the most popular strategic planning models. It helps you align your business and IT strategies with your organization’s strategic goals. 

You’ll have to consider four equally important, yet different perspectives when applying the alignment strategic planning model:

Strategy execution: The business strategy driving the model

Technology potential: The IT strategy supporting the business strategy

Competitive potential: Emerging IT capabilities that can create new products and services

Service level: Team members dedicated to creating the best IT system in the organization

Ideally, your strategy will check off all the criteria above—however, it’s more likely you’ll have to find a compromise. 

Here’s how to create a strategic plan using the alignment model and what kinds of companies can benefit from it.

Organizations that need to fine-tune their strategies

Businesses that want to uncover issues that prevent them from aligning with their mission

Companies that want to reassess objectives or correct problem areas that prevent them from growing

Outline your organization’s mission, programs, resources, and where support is needed. Before you can improve your statements and approaches, you need to define what exactly they are.

Identify what internal processes are working and which ones aren’t. Pinpoint which processes are causing problems, creating bottlenecks , or could otherwise use improving. Then prioritize which internal processes will have the biggest positive impact on your business.

Identify solutions. Work with the respective teams when you’re creating a new strategy to benefit from their experience and perspective on the current situation.

Update your strategic plan with the solutions. Update your strategic plan and monitor if implementing it is setting your business up for improvement or growth. If not, you may have to return to the drawing board and update your strategic plan with new solutions.

4. Scenario model

The scenario model works great if you combine it with other models like the basic or issue-based model. This model is particularly helpful if you need to consider external factors as well. These can be government regulations, technical, or demographic changes that may impact your business.

Organizations trying to identify strategic issues and goals caused by external factors

Identify external factors that influence your organization. For example, you should consider demographic, regulation, or environmental factors.

Review the worst case scenario the above factors could have on your organization. If you know what the worst case scenario for your business looks like, it’ll be much easier to prepare for it. Besides, it’ll take some of the pressure and surprise out of the mix, should a scenario similar to the one you create actually occur.

Identify and discuss two additional hypothetical organizational scenarios. On top of your worst case scenario, you’ll also want to define the best case and average case scenarios. Keep in mind that the worst case scenario from the previous step can often provoke strong motivation to change your organization for the better. However, discussing the other two will allow you to focus on the positive—the opportunities your business may have ahead.

Identify and suggest potential strategies or solutions. Everyone on the team should now brainstorm different ways your business could potentially respond to each of the three scenarios. Discuss the proposed strategies as a team afterward.

Uncover common considerations or strategies for your organization. There’s a good chance that your teammates come up with similar solutions. Decide which ones you like best as a team or create a new one together.

Identify the most likely scenario and the most reasonable strategy. Finally, examine which of the three scenarios is most likely to occur in the next three to five years and how your business should respond to potential changes.

5. Self-organizing model

Also called the organic planning model, the self-organizing model is a bit different from the linear approaches of the other models. You’ll have to be very patient with this method. 

This strategic planning model is all about focusing on the learning and growing process rather than achieving a specific goal. Since the organic model concentrates on continuous improvement , the process is never really over.

Large organizations that can afford to take their time

Businesses that prefer a more naturalistic, organic planning approach that revolves around common values, communication, and shared reflection

Companies that have a clear understanding of their vision

Define and communicate your organization’s cultural values . Your team can only think clearly and with solutions in mind when they have a clear understanding of your organization's values.

Communicate the planning group’s vision for the organization. Define and communicate the vision with everyone involved in the strategic planning process. This will align everyone’s ideas with your company’s vision.

Discuss what processes will help realize the organization’s vision on a regular basis. Meet every quarter to discuss strategies or tactics that will move your organization closer to realizing your vision.

6. Real-time model

This fluid model can help organizations that deal with rapid changes to their work environment. There are three levels of success in the real-time model: 

Organizational: At the organizational level, you’re forming strategies in response to opportunities or trends.

Programmatic: At the programmatic level, you have to decide how to respond to specific outcomes or environmental changes.

Operational: On the operational level, you will study internal systems, policies, and people to develop a strategy for your company.

Figuring out your competitive advantage can be difficult, but this is absolutely crucial to ensure success. Whether it’s a unique asset or strength your organization has or an outstanding execution of services or programs—it’s important that you can set yourself apart from others in the industry to succeed.

Companies that need to react quickly to changing environments

Businesses that are seeking new tools to help them align with their organizational strategy

Define your mission and vision statement. If you ever feel stuck formulating your company’s mission or vision statement, take a look at those of others. Maybe Asana’s vision statement sparks some inspiration.

Research, understand, and learn from competitor strategy and market trends. Pick a handful of competitors in your industry and find out how they’ve created success for themselves. How did they handle setbacks or challenges? What kinds of challenges did they even encounter? Are these common scenarios in the market? Learn from your competitors by finding out as much as you can about them.

Study external environments. At this point, you can combine the real-time model with the scenario model to find solutions to threats and opportunities outside of your control.

Conduct a SWOT analysis of your internal processes, systems, and resources. Besides the external factors your team has to consider, it’s also important to look at your company’s internal environment and how well you’re prepared for different scenarios.

Develop a strategy. Discuss the results of your SWOT analysis to develop a business strategy that builds toward organizational, programmatic, and operational success.

Rinse and repeat. Monitor how well the new strategy is working for your organization and repeat the planning process as needed to ensure you’re on top or, perhaps, ahead of the game. 

7. Inspirational model

This last strategic planning model is perfect to inspire and energize your team as they work toward your organization’s goals. It’s also a great way to introduce or reconnect your employees to your business strategy after a merger or acquisition.

Businesses with a dynamic and inspired start-up culture

Organizations looking for inspiration to reinvigorate the creative process

Companies looking for quick solutions and strategy shifts

Gather your team to discuss an inspirational vision for your organization. The more people you can gather for this process, the more input you will receive.

Brainstorm big, hairy audacious goals and ideas. Encouraging your team not to hold back with ideas that may seem ridiculous will do two things: for one, it will mitigate the fear of contributing bad ideas. But more importantly, it may lead to a genius idea or suggestion that your team wouldn’t have thought of if they felt like they had to think inside of the box.

Assess your organization’s resources. Find out if your company has the resources to implement your new ideas. If they don’t, you’ll have to either adjust your strategy or allocate more resources.

Develop a strategy balancing your resources and brainstorming ideas. Far-fetched ideas can grow into amazing opportunities but they can also bear great risk. Make sure to balance ideas with your strategic direction. 

Now, let’s dive into the most commonly used strategic frameworks.

8. SWOT analysis framework

One of the most popular strategic planning frameworks is the SWOT analysis . A SWOT analysis is a great first step in identifying areas of opportunity and risk—which can help you create a strategic plan that accounts for growth and prepares for threats.

SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Here’s an example:

[Inline illustration] SWOT analysis (Example)

9. OKRs framework

A big part of strategic planning is setting goals for your company. That’s where OKRs come into play. 

OKRs stand for objective and key results—this goal-setting framework helps your organization set and achieve goals. It provides a somewhat holistic approach that you can use to connect your team’s work to your organization’s big-picture goals.  When team members understand how their individual work contributes to the organization’s success, they tend to be more motivated and produce better results

10. Balanced scorecard (BSC) framework

The balanced scorecard is a popular strategic framework for businesses that want to take a more holistic approach rather than just focus on their financial performance. It was designed by David Norton and Robert Kaplan in the 1990s, it’s used by companies around the globe to: 

Communicate goals

Align their team’s daily work with their company’s strategy

Prioritize products, services, and projects

Monitor their progress toward their strategic goals

Your balanced scorecard will outline four main business perspectives:

Customers or clients , meaning their value, satisfaction, and/or retention

Financial , meaning your effectiveness in using resources and your financial performance

Internal process , meaning your business’s quality and efficiency

Organizational capacity , meaning your organizational culture, infrastructure and technology, and human resources

With the help of a strategy map, you can visualize and communicate how your company is creating value. A strategy map is a simple graphic that shows cause-and-effect connections between strategic objectives. 

The balanced scorecard framework is an amazing tool to use from outlining your mission, vision, and values all the way to implementing your strategic plan .

You can use an integration like Lucidchart to create strategy maps for your business in Asana.

11. Porter’s Five Forces framework

If you’re using the real-time strategic planning model, Porter’s Five Forces are a great framework to apply. You can use it to find out what your product’s or service’s competitive advantage is before entering the market.

Developed by Michael E. Porter , the framework outlines five forces you have to be aware of and monitor:

[Inline illustration] Porter’s Five Forces framework (Infographic)

Threat of new industry entrants: Any new entry into the market results in increased pressure on prices and costs. 

Competition in the industry: The more competitors that exist, the more difficult it will be for you to create value in the market with your product or service.

Bargaining power of suppliers: Suppliers can wield more power if there are less alternatives for buyers or it’s expensive, time consuming, or difficult to switch to a different supplier.

Bargaining power of buyers: Buyers can wield more power if the same product or service is available elsewhere with little to no difference in quality.

Threat of substitutes: If another company already covers the market’s needs, you’ll have to create a better product or service or make it available for a lower price at the same quality in order to compete.

Remember, industry structures aren’t static. The more dynamic your strategic plan is, the better you’ll be able to compete in a market.

12. VRIO framework

The VRIO framework is another strategic planning tool designed to help you evaluate your competitive advantage. VRIO stands for value, rarity, imitability, and organization.

It’s a resource-based theory developed by Jay Barney. With this framework, you can study your firmed resources and find out whether or not your company can transform them into sustained competitive advantages. 

Firmed resources can be tangible (e.g., cash, tools, inventory, etc.) or intangible (e.g., copyrights, trademarks, organizational culture, etc.). Whether these resources will actually help your business once you enter the market depends on four qualities:

Valuable : Will this resource either increase your revenue or decrease your costs and thereby create value for your business?

Rare : Are the resources you’re using rare or can others use your resources as well and therefore easily provide the same product or service?

Inimitable : Are your resources either inimitable or non-substitutable? In other words, how unique and complex are your resources?

Organizational: Are you organized enough to use your resources in a way that captures their value, rarity, and inimitability?

It’s important that your resources check all the boxes above so you can ensure that you have sustained competitive advantage over others in the industry.

13. Theory of Constraints (TOC) framework

If the reason you’re currently in a strategic planning process is because you’re trying to mitigate risks or uncover issues that could hurt your business—this framework should be in your toolkit.

The theory of constraints (TOC) is a problem-solving framework that can help you identify limiting factors or bottlenecks preventing your organization from hitting OKRs or KPIs . 

Whether it’s a policy, market, or recourse constraint—you can apply the theory of constraints to solve potential problems, respond to issues, and empower your team to improve their work with the resources they have.

14. PEST/PESTLE analysis framework

The idea of the PEST analysis is similar to that of the SWOT analysis except that you’re focusing on external factors and solutions. It’s a great framework to combine with the scenario-based strategic planning model as it helps you define external factors connected to your business’s success.

PEST stands for political, economic, sociological, and technological factors. Depending on your business model, you may want to expand this framework to include legal and environmental factors as well (PESTLE). These are the most common factors you can include in a PESTLE analysis:

Political: Taxes, trade tariffs, conflicts

Economic: Interest and inflation rate, economic growth patterns, unemployment rate

Social: Demographics, education, media, health

Technological: Communication, information technology, research and development, patents

Legal: Regulatory bodies, environmental regulations, consumer protection

Environmental: Climate, geographical location, environmental offsets

15. Hoshin Kanri framework

Hoshin Kanri is a great tool to communicate and implement strategic goals. It’s a planning system that involves the entire organization in the strategic planning process. The term is Japanese and stands for “compass management” and is also known as policy management. 

This strategic planning framework is a top-down approach that starts with your leadership team defining long-term goals which are then aligned and communicated with every team member in the company. 

You should hold regular meetings to monitor progress and update the timeline to ensure that every teammate’s contributions are aligned with the overarching company goals.

Stick to your strategic goals

Whether you’re a small business just starting out or a nonprofit organization with decades of experience, strategic planning is a crucial step in your journey to success. 

If you’re looking for a tool that can help you and your team define, organize, and implement your strategic goals, Asana is here to help. Our goal-setting software allows you to connect all of your team members in one place, visualize progress, and stay on target.

Related resources

strategic planning cycle example

What is management by objectives (MBO)?

strategic planning cycle example

Write better AI prompts: A 4-sentence framework

strategic planning cycle example

What is content marketing? A complete guide

strategic planning cycle example

How to find alignment on AI

Ninety logo

Strategic Plans for Long-Term Growth: Examples and Strategies

Team Ninety, Author at Ninety

This is a comprehensive guide on strategic planning for small to midsize companies.

If you want to:

  • Move your organization in the direction you intend for long-term success,
  • Implement your plan smoothly for greater growth,
  • Use a better platform for developing a truly effective strategic plan,

… then you’ll love this guide. Let’s get started.

What’s Covered in This Guide

Click on each to jump to that section.

What is Strategic Planning?

What does strategic planning mean, what is the goal of strategic planning.

  • What is Strategic Leadership?

4 Strategic Planning Strategies

The strategic planning process [11 steps], what does strategic planning involve.

  • How to Implement Your Strategic Plan

Examples of Strategic Plans

Get your strategic planning done on ninety.

Strategic planning is the process you use to:

  • Establish and document a clear direction for your organization.
  • Identify business goals and set priorities that create growth for your company.
  • Formulate a long-term plan of action designed to achieve these objectives.
  • Determine an internal system tracking and evaluating performance.

When organizations want to, they use a strategic plan to:

  • Strengthen their operation.
  • Focus on collective energy and resources.
  • Enable leaders, teams, and other stakeholders to work toward common goals.
  • Make agreements around desired results.
  • Refresh direction and prevail over a changing or challenging environment.

Thinking strategically helps companies take the right action for more success and better outcomes. Some even call it an art.

Strategic planning is one of three essential ways to pursue important objectives for your company. When tackling challenges and determining action plans, you can think strategically, tactically, or operationally. These three thought processes often work in concert to help you create a framework that achieves your desired objectives.

  • Strategic plans are designed for multilevel involvement throughout the entire organization. Leaders will look ahead to where they want to be in three, five, and ten years and develop a mission.
  • Tactical plans support strategic plans. They outline the specific responsibilities and functionalities at the department level so employees know how to do their part to make the strategic plan successful.
  • Operational plans focus on the highly detailed procedures, processes, and routine tasks that frontline employees must accomplish to achieve desired outcomes.

The goal of your strategic plan is to determine:

  • Where your company stands in relation to the current business environment. Understand how your business operates, how you create value, and how you differentiate from your competitors.
  • Where you want to take the business based on long-term objectives such as your company’s vision, mission, culture, values, and goals. Envision how you see the company five or ten years from now.
  • What you need to do to get there. You come away from your planning sessions with a roadmap that helps deliver on your strategic objectives. Determine better ways to enable and implement change, schedule deadlines, and structure goals, so they’re achievable.

The main purpose of your strategic plan is to create clearly defined goals for achieving the growth and success of your organization. These goals are connected to your organization’s mission and long-term vision.

What is Strategic Leadership? 

Strategic leadership is how you create, implement, and sustain your strategic plan, so your organization moves in the direction you intend for long-term success. This usually involves establishing ongoing practices and benchmarks, allocating resources, and providing leadership that supports your strategic mission and vision statement.

Strategic leadership, also known as strategy execution, can employ two different approaches:

  • A prescriptive approach is analytical and focuses on how strategies are created to account for risks and opportunities.
  • A descriptive approach is principle-driven and focuses on how strategies are implemented to account for risks and opportunities.

Most people agree that a strategic plan is only as good as the company’s ability to research, create, implement, evaluate, and adjust when needed. The benefits can be great when:

  • Your entire organization supports the plan.
  • Your business is set up to succeed.
  • Your employees are more likely to stay on track without being distracted or derailed.
  • You make better decisions based on metrics that facilitate course correction.
  • Everyone in your company is involved and invested in better outcomes.
  • Departments and teams are aligned across your company.
  • People are committed to learning and training.
  • Productivity increases, and performance improves.
  • Creativity is encouraged and rewarded.

What are the four main points of strategic planning? You engage in strategic thinking so you can create effective company goals that are:

Purpose-driven

Align your strategic plan with the company’s purpose and values as you understand them.

Actionable strategic goals are worth spending your time and resources on to reach organizational objectives.

It’s critical for you to track your strategy's progress and success, enabling your teams to take action and meet the goals more effectively.

Focused Long-term

A long-term focus distinguishes a strategic plan from operational goals, which involve daily activities and milestones required for success. When planning strategically, you’re looking ahead to the company’s future.

A strategic plan isn’t written in a day. Critical thinking evolves over several months. Those involved in the strategic planning are usually a team of leaders and employees from your company and possibly other stakeholders.

When should strategic planning be done?

You should plan strategically for start-ups and newer organizations from the start. But even if your company is more established, it’s not too late to start working on strategy.

Flexible timing that’s tailored to the needs of your organization is smart. Although the frequency of strategy sessions is up to you, many leaders use these milestones as a guide:

  • When the economy, your market, and industry trends change, or a global event occurs (like the onset of a pandemic).
  • Following a change in senior leadership.
  • Before a product launch or when a new division is added to your business.
  • After your company merges with another organization.
  • During a convenient time frame such as a quarterly and annual review.

Many organizations opt to schedule regular strategic reviews such as quarterly or annually. Especially when crafting a plan, your strategic planning team should meet regularly. They will often follow predetermined steps in the development of your long-term plan.

What are the 11 steps of strategic planning?

Identify your company’s strategic position in the marketplace. .

Gather market data and research information from both internal and external sources. You may want to conduct a comprehensive SWOT analysis to determine your company’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats against success. Your strengths and weaknesses are directly related to your current competitive advantage within your industry. They are what you use to balance challenges to your success. They also influence the likelihood of increased market share in the future.

Define your unique vision and mission. 

What would success look like for you in three years? Five years? Ten years? Articulate that in a vision statement. How do you intend to realize your vision? That’s articulated in your mission statement. Formulating purpose-driven strategic goals articulates why your company does what it does. Your organizational values inform your mission and vision and connect them to specific objectives.

Determine your company’s value.

Many companies use financial forecasting for this purpose. A forecast can assign anticipated measurable results, return on investment (ROI), or profits and cost of investment.

Set your organizational direction.

Defining the impact you want to have and the time frame for achieving helps focus a too-broad or over-ambitious first draft. This way, your plan will have objectives that will have the most impact. 

Create specific strategic objectives.

Your strategic objectives identify the conditions for your success. For instance, they may cover:

  • Value: Increasing revenue and shareholder value, budgeting cost, allocating resources aligned with the strategic plan, forecasting profitability, and ensuring financial stability. 
  • Customer Experience: Identifying target audiences, solution-based products and services, value for the cost, better service, and increased market share.
  • Operational Efficiency: Streamlining internal processes, investing in research and development, total quality and performance priorities, reducing cost, and improving workplace safety.
  • Learning and Growth: Training leaders and teams to address change and sustain growth, improving employee productivity and retention, and building high-performing teams.

Set specific strategic initiatives.

Strategic initiatives are your company's actions to reach your strategic objectives, such as raising brand awareness, a commitment to product development, purpose-driven employee training, and more.

Develop cascading goals.

Cascading goals are like cascading messages : They filter your strategy throughout the company from top to bottom. The highest-level goals align with mid-level goals to individual goals employees must accomplish to achieve overall outcomes. This helps everyone see how their performance will influence overall success, which improves engagement and productivity.

Create alignment across the entire company.

The success of your strategy is directly impacted by your commitment to inform and engage your entire workforce in strategy implementation. This involves ensuring everyone is connected and working together to achieve your goals. Overall decision-making becomes easier and more aligned.

Consider strategy mapping.

A strategy map is an easy-to-understand diagram, graphic, or illustration that shows the logical, cause-and-effect relationship among various strategic objectives. They are used to quickly communicate how your organization creates value. It will help you communicate the details of your strategic plan better to people by tapping into their visual learning abilities.

Use metrics to measure performance.

When your strategy informs the creation of SMART organizational goals , benchmarks can be established and metrics can be assigned to evaluate performance within time frames. Key performance indicators (KPIs) align performance and productivity with long-term strategic objectives. 

Evaluate the performance of your plan regularly.

You write a strategic plan to improve your company’s overall performance. Evaluating your progress at regular intervals will tell you whether you’re on your way to achieving your objectives or whether your plan needs an adjustment.

Effective strategic planning involves creating a company culture of good communication and accountability. It involves creating and embracing the opportunity for positive change.

Consider these statistics:

  • In many companies, only 42% of leaders and 27% of employees have access to a strategic plan.
  • Even if they have access, 95% of employees do not understand their organization's strategy.
  • 5.2% of a strategy’s potential is lost to poor communication.
  • What leaders care about makes up at least 80% of the content of their communications. But those messages do not tap into around 80% of their employees’ primary motivators for putting extra energy into a change program.
  • 28% of leaders say one of the main reasons strategic initiatives succeed is the ability to attract skilled personnel; 25% say it’s good communication; 25% say it’s the ability to manage organizational change.

Here’s what you can do to embrace a culture of good communication and accountability:

Make your strategic plan visible. Talk about what's working and what isn't. People want to know where and how they fit into the organization and why their contribution is valuable. Even if they don't understand every element of the plan.

Build accountability. If you've agreed on a plan with clear objectives and priorities, your leaders have to take responsibility for what's in it. They must own the objectives and activities in your plan.

Create an environment for change. It’s much more difficult to implement a strategy if you think there will be no support or collaboration from your coworkers. Addressing their concerns will help build a culture that understands how to champion change.

Implementing Your Strategic Plan

  • 98% of leaders think strategy implementation takes more time than strategy formulation.
  • 61% of leaders acknowledge that their organizations often struggle to bridge the gap between strategy formulation and its day-to-day implementation.
  • 45% of leaders say ensuring employees take different actions or demonstrate different behaviors is the toughest implementation challenge; 37% of leaders say it’s gaining support across the whole organization.
  • 39% of leaders say one of the main reasons strategic plans succeed is skilled implementation.

The reality for so many is that it’s harder to implement a strategic plan than to craft one. Great strategic ideas and a clear direction are key to success, no matter what. But so is:

  • Turning strategic ideas into an easy-to-implement framework that enables meaningful managing, tracking, and adapting.  
  • Getting everyone in the organization on the same strategic page, from creation to execution.

When your plan is structured to support implementation, you're more likely to get it done.

What are examples of good strategic planning? There are lots of templates out there to help you create a plan document with pen and paper.

But Ninety has a better way.

The Vision planner is essentially a strategic planning template on Ninety’s cloud-based platform that allows you to:

  • Set goals, establish how you will meet them, and share them with those who need to know.
  • Gain visibility around your company values.
  • Create core values, a niche, and long-term goals that are accessible to everyone in your company.
  • Create a vision of the future that lets you know what needs to happen now.
  • Streamline and organize your processes.
  • Easily update and track changes.
  • Bring alignment to your entire organization.

And you can do all this with only two digitized pages.

In your Vision tool inside Ninety, you can easily access all the things that make strategic plans effective:

  • Executive Summary
  • Elevator Pitch
  • Mission Statement
  • Vision Statement
  • SWOT Analysis
  • Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
  • Industry Analysis
  • Marketing Plan
  • Operations Plan
  • Financial Projections

Vision + Goals is also completely integrated with all other features on Ninety, such as Scorecards, 90-Day Goals, To-Dos, Issues, Roles & Responsibilities Chart, Meetings, One-on-Ones, and more:

  • Create a clear vision for each team.
  • Determine one- and three-year goals.
  • Reference past versions in a Vision archive.
  • Share your Vision with all teams, or keep it private.

Now that you’ve learned how to grow your company using strategic planning, it’s time to put your knowledge into practice:

Build your strategic plan on Ninety now.

Do you want more step-by-step guides on strategy, strategic planning, and creating actionable strategic plans?  Subscribe to our blog!

You might also like:

strategic planning cycle example

Is Team Health at the Forefront in Your Annual Planning Meeting?

Leadership • 7 Minute Read

Business Strategy Effective Steps

Explore 7 Business Strategy Types for Sustainable Growth

Productivity • 17 Minute Read

strategic planning cycle example

Setting Business Goals: How to Write, Track and Align Them for Growth

Goals • 16 Minute Read

xSME-Strategy-Logo-600px.png.pagespeed.ic.gDvrGDTiKf

  • Our Approach
  • Strategic Planning Facilitation
  • Strategy Implementation Support
  • Aligned Strategy Course
  • Successful Strategy Implementation Course
  • Strategy and Leadership Community
  • Strategy and Leadership Podcast
  • SME Strategy on Youtube

Strategic Plan Examples: Case Studies and Free Strategic Planning Template

By Anthony Taylor - May 29, 2023

strategic planning cycle example

As you prepare for your strategic planning process, it's important to explore relevant strategic plan examples for inspiration.

In today's competitive business landscape, a well-defined strategic plan holds immense significance. Whether you're a private company, municipal government, or nonprofit entity, strategic planning is essential for achieving goals and gaining a competitive edge. By understanding the strategic planning process, you can gain valuable insights to develop an effective growth roadmap for your organization.

In this blog, we will delve into real-life examples of strategic plans that have proven successful. These examples encompass a wide range of organizations, from Credit Unions that have implemented SME Strategy's Aligned Strategy process to the Largest Bank in Israel. By examining these cases, we can gain a deeper understanding of strategic planning and extract relevant insights that can be applied to your organization.

  • Strategic Plan Example (Global Financial Services Firm)
  • Strategic Plan Example (Joint Strategic Plan)
  • Strategic Plan Example: (Government Agency)
  • Strategic Plan Example (Multinational Corporation)
  • Strategic Plan Example: (Public Company)
  • Strategic Plan Example (Non Profit)
  • Strategic Plan Example: (Small Nonprofit)
  • Strategic Plan example: (Municipal Government)
  • Strategic Plan Example: (Environmental Start-up)  

When analyzing strategic plan examples, it is crucial to recognize that a strategic plan goes beyond being a mere document. It should encapsulate your organization's mission and vision comprehensively while also being actionable. Your strategic plan needs to be tailored to your organization's specific circumstances, including factors such as size, industry, budget, and personnel. Simply replicating someone else's plan will not suffice.

Have you ever invested significant time and resources into creating a plan, only to witness its failure during execution? We believe that a successful strategic plan extends beyond being a static document. It necessitates meticulous follow-through, execution, documentation, and continuous learning. It serves as the foundation upon which your future plans are built.

It is important to note that a company's success is not solely determined by the plan itself, but rather by how effectively it is executed. Our intention is to highlight the diverse roles that a company's mission, vision, and values play across different organizations, whether they are large corporations or smaller nonprofits.

Strategic plans can vary in terms of their review cycles, which can range from annual evaluations to multi-year periods. There is no one-size-fits-all example of a strategic plan, as each organization possesses unique needs and circumstances that must be taken into account.

Strategic planning is an essential process for organizations of all sizes and types. It assists in setting a clear direction, defining goals, and effectively allocating resources. To gain an understanding of how strategic plans are crafted, we will explore a range of examples, including those from private companies, nonprofit organizations, and government entities.

Throughout this exploration, we will highlight various frameworks and systems employed by profit-driven and nonprofit organizations alike, providing valuable insights to help you determine the most suitable approach for your own organization.

Watch: Examples of Strategic Plans from Real-Life Organizations 

Strategic Plan Example  - The Bank Hapoalim Vision:  To be a leading global financial services firm, with its core in Israel, focused on its clients and working to enhance their financial freedom.

Bank Hapoalim, one of Israel's largest banks with 8,383 branches across 5 different countries as of 2022, has recently provided insights into its latest strategic plan. The plan highlights four distinct strategic priorities:

  • Continued leadership in corporate banking and capital markets
  • Adaptation of the retail banking operating model
  • Resource optimization and greater productivity
  • Differentiating and influential innovation

Check out their strategic plan here: Strategic Plan (2022-2026)

We talked to Tagil Green, the Chief Strategy Officer at Bank Hapoalim, where we delved into various aspects of their strategic planning process. We discussed the bank's strategic planning timeline, the collaborative work they engaged in with McKinsey, and the crucial steps taken to secure buy-in and ensure successful implementation of the strategy throughout the organization. In our conversation, Tagil Green emphasized the understanding that there is no universal template for strategic plans. While many companies typically allocate one, two, or three days for strategic planning meetings during an offsite, Bank Hapoalim recognized the significance of their size and complexity. As a result, their strategic plan took a comprehensive year-long effort to develop. How did a Large Global Organization like Bank Hapoalim decide on what strategic planning timeline to follow?

"How long do you want to plan? Some said, let's think a decade ahead. Some said it's irrelevant. Let's talk about two years ahead. And we kind of negotiated into the like, five years ahead for five years and said, Okay, that's good enough, because some of the complexity and the range depends on the field that you work for. So for banking in Israel, four or five years ahead, is good enough. "  Tagil Green, Chief Strategy Officer, Bank Hapoalim 

Another important aspect you need to consider when doing strategic planning is stakeholder engagement, We asked Tagil her thoughts and how they conducted stakeholder engagement with a large employee base.

Listen to the Full Conversation with Tagil:

Strategic Planning and Execution: Insights from the Chief Strategy Officer of Israel's Leading Bank

Strategic Plan Example: Region 16 and DEED (Joint Strategic Plan)

Mission Statement: We engage state, regional, tribal, school, and community partners to improve the quality and equity of education for each student by providing evidence-based services and supports.

In this strategic plan example, we'll explore how Region 16 and DEED, two government-operated Educational Centers with hundreds of employees, aligned their strategic plans using SME Strategy's approach . Despite facing the challenges brought on by the pandemic, these organizations sought to find common ground and ensure alignment on their mission, vision, and values, regardless of their circumstances.

Both teams adopted the Aligned Strategy method, which involved a three day onsite strategic planning session facilitated by a strategic planning facilitator . Together, they developed a comprehensive 29-page strategic plan outlining three distinct strategic priorities, each with its own objectives and strategic goals. Through critical conversations, they crafted a clear three year vision, defined their core customer group as part of their mission, refined their organizational values and behaviors, and prioritized their areas of focus.

After their offsite facilitation, they aligned around three key areas of focus:

  • Effective Communication, both internally and externally.
  • Streamlining Processes to enhance efficiency.
  • Developing Effective Relationships and Partnerships for mutual success.

By accomplishing their goals within these strategic priorities, the teams from Region 16 and DEED aim to make progress towards their envisioned future.

To read the full review of the aligned strategy process click here

Download Now Starting your strategic planning process soon? Get our free Strategic Planning Template

Strategic Plan Example: (Government Agency) - The City of Duluth Workforce Development Board

What they do:

The Duluth Workforce Development Board identifies and aligns workforce development strategies to meet the needs of Duluth area employers and job seekers through comprehensive and coordinated systems.

An engaged and diverse workforce, where all individuals, regardless of background, have or are on a path to meaningful employment and a family sustaining wage, and all employers are able to fill jobs in demand.

The City of Duluth provides an insightful example of a strategic plan focused on regional coordination to address workforce needs in various industry sectors and occupations. With multiple stakeholders involved, engaging and aligning them becomes crucial. This comprehensive plan, spanning 82 pages, tackles strategic priorities and initiatives at both the state and local levels.

What sets this plan apart is its thorough outline of the implementation process. It covers everything from high-level strategies to specific meetings between different boards and organizations. Emphasizing communication, coordination, and connectivity, the plan ensures the complete execution of its objectives. It promotes regular monthly partner meetings, committee gatherings, and collaboration among diverse groups. The plan also emphasizes the importance of proper documentation and accountability throughout the entire process.

By providing a clear roadmap, the City of Duluth's strategic plan effectively addresses workforce needs while fostering effective stakeholder engagement . It serves as a valuable example of how a comprehensive plan can guide actions, facilitate communication, and ensure accountability for successful implementation.

Read this strategic plan example here: Strategic Plan (2021-2024)

Strategic Plan Example: McDonald's (Multinational Corporation)

McDonald's provides a great strategic plan example specifically designed for private companies. Their "Velocity Growth Plan" covers a span of three years from 2017 to 2020, offering a high-level strategic direction. While the plan doesn't delve into specific implementation details, it focuses on delivering an overview that appeals to investors and aligns the staff. The plan underscores McDonald's commitment to long-term growth and addressing important environmental and societal challenges. It also highlights the CEO's leadership in revitalizing the company and the active oversight provided by the Board of Directors.

The Board of Directors plays a crucial role in actively overseeing McDonald's strategy. They engage in discussions about the Velocity Growth Plan during board meetings, hold annual strategy sessions, and maintain continuous monitoring of the company's operations in response to the ever-changing business landscape.

The McDonald's strategic plan revolved around three core pillars:

  • Retention: Strengthening and expanding areas of strength, such as breakfast and family occasions.
  • Regain: Focusing on food quality, convenience, and value to win back lost customers.
  • Convert: Emphasizing coffee and other snack offerings to attract casual customers.

These pillars guide McDonald's through three initiatives, driving growth and maximizing benefits for customers in the shortest time possible.

Read the strategic plan example of Mcdonlald's Velocity growth plan (2017-2020)

Strategic Plan Example: Nike (Public Company)

Nike's mission statement is “ to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world .”  

Nike, as a publicly traded company, has developed a robust global growth strategy outlined in its strategic plan. Spanning a five-year period from 2021 to 2025, this plan encompasses 29 strategic targets that reflect Nike's strong commitment to People, Planet, and Pay. Each priority is meticulously defined, accompanied by tangible actions and measurable metrics. This meticulous approach ensures transparency and alignment across the organization.

The strategic plan of Nike establishes clear objectives, including the promotion of pay equity, a focus on education and professional development, and the fostering of business diversity and inclusion. By prioritizing these areas, Nike aims to provide guidance and support to its diverse workforce, fostering an environment that values and empowers its employees.

Read Nike's strategic plan here

Related Content: Strategic Planning Process (What is it?)

The Cost of Developing a Strategic Plan (3 Tiers)

Strategic Plan Example (Non Profit) - Alternatives Federal Credit Union

Mission: To help build and protect wealth for people with diverse identities who have been historically marginalized by the financial industry, especially those with low wealth or identifying as Black, Indigenous, or people of color.

AFCU partnered with SME Strategy in 2021 to develop a three year strategic plan. As a non-profit organization, AFCU recognized the importance of strategic planning to align its team and operational components. The focus was on key elements such as Vision, Mission, Values, Priorities, Goals, and Actions, as well as effective communication, clear responsibilities, and progress tracking.

In line with the Aligned Strategy approach, AFCU developed three strategic priorities to unite its team and drive progress towards their vision for 2024. Alongside strategic planning, AFCU has implemented a comprehensive strategy implementation plan to ensure the effective execution of their strategies.

Here's an overview of AFCU's 2024 Team Vision and strategic priorities: Aligned Team Vision 2024:

To fulfill our mission, enhance efficiency, and establish sustainable community development approaches, our efforts will revolve around the following priorities: Strategic Priorities:

Improving internal communication: Enhancing communication channels and practices within AFCU to foster collaboration and information sharing among team members.

Improving organizational performance: Implementing strategies to enhance AFCU's overall performance, including processes, systems, and resource utilization.

Creating standard operating procedures: Developing standardized procedures and protocols to streamline operations, increase efficiency, and ensure consistency across AFCU's activities.

By focusing on these strategic priorities, AFCU aims to strengthen its capacity to effectively achieve its mission and bring about lasting change in its community. Watch the AFCU case study below:

Watch the Full Strategic Plan Example Case Study with the VP and Chief Strategy Officer of AFCU

Strategic Plan Example: (Small Nonprofit) - The Hunger Project 

Mission: To end hunger and poverty by pioneering sustainable, grassroots, women-centered strategies and advocating for their widespread adoption in countries throughout the world.

The Hunger Project, a small nonprofit organization based in the Netherlands, offers a prime example of a concise and effective three-year strategic plan. This plan encompasses the organization's vision, mission, theory of change, and strategic priorities. Emphasizing simplicity and clarity, The Hunger Project's plan outlines crucial actions and measurements required to achieve its goals. Spanning 16 pages, this comprehensive document enables stakeholders to grasp the organization's direction and intended impact. It centers around three overarching strategic goals, each accompanied by its own set of objectives and indicators: deepening impact, mainstreaming impact, and scaling up operations.

Read their strategic plan here  

Strategic Plan example: (Municipal Government)- New York City Economic Development Plan 

The New York City Economic Development Plan is a comprehensive 5-year strategic plan tailored for a municipal government. Spanning 68 pages, this plan underwent an extensive planning process with input from multiple stakeholders. 

This plan focuses on the unique challenges and opportunities present in the region. Through a SWOT analysis, this plan highlights the organization's problems, the city's strengths, and the opportunities and threats it has identified. These include New York's diverse population, significant wealth disparities, and high demand for public infrastructure and services.

The strategic plan was designed to provide a holistic overview that encompasses the interests of a diverse and large group of business, labor, and community leaders. It aimed to identify the shared values that united its five boroughs and define how local objectives align with the interests of greater New York State. The result was a unified vision for the future of New York City, accompanied by a clear set of actions required to achieve shared goals.

Because of its diverse stakeholder list including; council members, local government officials, and elected representatives, with significant input from the public, their strategic plan took 4 months to develop. 

Read it's 5 year strategic plan example here

Strategic Plan Example: Silicon Valley Clean Energy

Silicon Valley Clean Energy provides a strategic plan that prioritizes visual appeal and simplicity. Despite being in its second year of operation, this strategic plan example effectively conveys the organization's mission and values to its Board of Directors. The company also conducts thorough analyses of the electric utility industry and anticipates major challenges in the coming years. Additionally, it highlights various social initiatives aimed at promoting community, environmental, and economic benefits that align with customer expectations.

"This plan recognizes the goals we intend to accomplish and highlights strategies and tactics we will employ to achieve these goals. The purpose of this plan is to ensure transparency in our operations and to provide a clear direction to staff about which strategies and tactics we will employ to achieve our goals. It is a living document that can guide our work with clarity and yet has the flexibility to respond to changing environments as we embark on this journey." Girish Balachandran CEO, Silicon Valley Clean Energy

This strategic plan example offers flexibility in terms of timeline. It lays out strategic initiatives for both a three-year and five-year period, extending all the way to 2030. The plan places emphasis on specific steps and targets to be accomplished between 2021 and 2025, followed by goals for the subsequent period of 2025 to 2030. While this plan doesn't go into exhaustive detail about implementation steps, meeting schedules, or monitoring mechanisms, it effectively communicates the organization's priorities and desired long term outcomes. Read its strategic plan example here

By studying these strategic plan examples, you can create a strategic plan that aligns with your organization's goals, communicates effectively, and guides decision-making and resource allocation. Strategic planning approaches differ among various types of organizations.

Private Companies: Private companies like McDonald's and Nike approach strategic planning differently from public companies due to competitive market dynamics. McDonald's provides a high-level overview of its strategic plan in its investor overview.

Nonprofit Organizations: Nonprofit organizations, like The Hunger Project, develop strategic plans tailored to their unique missions and stakeholders. The Hunger Project's plan presents a simple yet effective structure with a clear vision, mission, theory of change, strategic priorities, and action items with measurable outcomes.

Government Entities: Government entities, such as the New York City Development Board, often produce longer, comprehensive strategic plans to guide regional or state development. These plans include implementation plans, stakeholder engagement, performance measures, and priority projects.

When creating a strategic plan for your organization, consider the following key points:

Strategic Priorities: Define clear strategic priorities that are easy to communicate and understand.

Stakeholder Engagement: Ensure your plan addresses the needs and interests of your stakeholders.

Measurements: Include relevant measurements and KPIs, primarily for internal use, to track, monitor and report your progress effectively.

Conciseness vs. Thoroughness: Adapt the level of detail in your plan based on the size of your organization and the number of stakeholders involved.

By learning from these examples, you can see that developing a strategic plan should be a process that fits your organization, effectively communicates your goals, and provides guidance for decision-making and resource allocation. Remember that strategic planning is an ongoing process that requires regular review and adjustment to stay relevant and effective.

Need assistance in maximizing the impact of your strategic planning? Learn how our facilitators can lead you through a proven process, ensuring effectiveness, maintaining focus, and fostering team alignment.

View faciliation options and costs

Our readers' favourite posts

Subscribe to our bi-weekly newsletter: leaders digest, quick links.

  • Podcast (Spotify)
  • Speaker & Media
  • Alignment Book
  • Privacy Policy

Free Resources

  • Strategic planning session agenda (Sample)
  • Strategic plan template
  • How to create a strategic plan (Start here)
  • Weekly Strategy Tips
  • Non profit program

Products and Services

  • Strategic Planning Facilitator
  • Strategy Implementation Consulting
  • Strategic Planning Course
  • 1-855-895-5446

strategic planning_strategy_development_company_2023_award

Copyright © 2011-2023 SME Strategy Consulting | Strategic Planning Facilitator + Strategy Implementation Consulting. All rights reserved.

How to improve strategic planning

In conference rooms everywhere, corporate planners are in the midst of the annual strategic-planning process. For the better part of a year, they collect financial and operational data, make forecasts, and prepare lengthy presentations with the CEO and other senior managers about the future direction of the business. But at the end of this expensive and time-consuming process, many participants say they are frustrated by its lack of impact on either their own actions or the strategic direction of the company.

This sense of disappointment was captured in a recent McKinsey Quarterly survey of nearly 800 executives: just 45 percent of the respondents said they were satisfied with the strategic-planning process. 1 1. “ Improving strategic planning: A McKinsey Survey ,” The McKinsey Quarterly , Web exclusive, September 2006. The survey, conducted in late July and early August 2006, received 796 responses from a panel of executives from around the world. All panelists have mostly financial or strategic responsibilities and work in a wide range of industries for organizations with revenues of at least $500 million. Moreover, only 23 percent indicated that major strategic decisions were made within its confines. Given these results, managers might well be tempted to jettison the planning process altogether.

But for those working in the overwhelming majority of corporations, the annual planning process plays an essential role. In addition to formulating at least some elements of a company’s strategy, the process results in a budget, which establishes the resource allocation map for the coming 12 to 18 months; sets financial and operating targets, often used to determine compensation metrics and to provide guidance for financial markets; and aligns the management team on its strategic priorities. The operative question for chief executives is how to make the planning process more effective—not whether it is the sole mechanism used to design strategy. CEOs know that strategy is often formulated through ad hoc meetings or brand reviews, or as a result of decisions about mergers and acquisitions.

Our research shows that formal strategic-planning processes play an important role in improving overall satisfaction with strategy development. That role can be seen in the responses of the 79 percent of managers who claimed that the formal planning process played a significant role in developing strategies and were satisfied with the approach of their companies, compared with only 21 percent of the respondents who felt that the process did not play a significant role. Looked at another way, 51 percent of the respondents whose companies had no formal process were dissatisfied with their approach to the development of strategy, against only 20 percent of those at companies with a formal process.

So what can managers do to improve the process? There are many ways to conduct strategic planning, but determining the ideal method goes beyond the scope of this article. Instead we offer, from our research, five emergent ideas that executives can employ immediately to make existing processes run better. The changes we discuss here (such as a focus on important strategic issues or a connection to core-management processes) are the elements most linked with the satisfaction of employees and their perceptions of the significance of the process. These steps cannot guarantee that the right strategic decisions will be made or that strategy will be better executed, but by enhancing the planning process—and thus increasing satisfaction with the development of strategy—they will improve the odds for success.

Start with the issues

Ask CEOs what they think strategic planning should involve and they will talk about anticipating big challenges and spotting important trends. At many companies, however, this noble purpose has taken a backseat to rigid, data-driven processes dominated by the production of budgets and financial forecasts. If the calendar-based process is to play a more valuable role in a company’s overall strategy efforts, it must complement budgeting with a focus on strategic issues. In our experience, the first liberating change managers can make to improve the quality of the planning process is to begin it by deliberately and thoughtfully identifying and discussing the strategic issues that will have the greatest impact on future business performance.

Granted, an approach based on issues will not necessarily yield better strategic results. The music business, for instance, has discussed the threat posed by digital-file sharing for years without finding an effective way of dealing with the problem. But as a first step, identifying the key issues will ensure that management does not waste time and energy on less important topics.

We found a variety of practical ways in which companies can impose a fresh strategic perspective. For instance, the CEO of one large health care company asks the leaders of each business unit to imagine how a set of specific economic, social, and business trends will affect their businesses, as well as ways to capture the opportunities—or counter the threats—that these trends pose. Only after such an analysis and discussion do the leaders settle into the more typical planning exercises of financial forecasting and identifying strategic initiatives.

One consumer goods organization takes a more directed approach. The CEO, supported by the corporate-strategy function, compiles a list of three to six priorities for the coming year. Distributed to the managers responsible for functions, geographies, and brands, the list then becomes the basis for an offsite strategy-alignment meeting, where managers debate the implications of the priorities for their particular organizations. The corporate-strategy function summarizes the results, adds appropriate corporate targets, and shares them with the organization in the form of a strategy memo, which serves as the basis for more detailed strategic planning at the division and business-unit levels.

A packaged-goods company offers an even more tailored example. Every December the corporate senior-management team produces a list of ten strategic questions tailored to each of the three business units. The leaders of these businesses have six months to explore and debate the questions internally and to come up with answers. In June each unit convenes with the senior-management team in a one-day meeting to discuss proposed actions and reach decisions.

Some companies prefer to use a bottom-up rather than top-down process. We recently worked with a sales company to design a strategic-planning process that begins with in-depth interviews (involving all of the senior managers and selected corporate and business executives) to generate a list of the most important strategic issues facing the company. The senior-management team prioritizes the list and assigns managers to explore each issue and report back in four to six weeks. Such an approach can be especially valuable in companies where internal consensus building is an imperative.

Bring together the right people

An issues-based approach won’t do much good unless the most relevant people are involved in the debate. We found that survey respondents who were satisfied with the strategic-planning process rated it highly on dimensions such as including the most knowledgeable and influential participants, stimulating and challenging the participants’ thinking, and having honest, open discussions about difficult issues. In contrast, 27 percent of the dissatisfied respondents reported that their company’s strategic planning had not a single one of these virtues. Such results suggest that too many companies focus on the data-gathering and packaging elements of strategic planning and neglect the crucial interactive components.

Strategic conversations will have little impact if they involve only strategic planners from both the business unit and the corporate levels. One of our core beliefs is that those who carry out strategy should also develop it. The key strategy conversation should take place among corporate decision makers, business unit leaders, and people with expertise essential to the discussion. In addition to leading the corporate review, the CEO, aided by members of the executive team, should as a rule lead the strategy review for business units as well. The head of a business unit, supported by four to six people, should direct the discussion from its side of the table (see sidebar, "Things to ask in any business unit review").

Things to ask in any business unit review

Are major trends and changes in your business unit’s environment affecting your strategic plan? Specifically, what potential developments in customer demand, technology, or the regulatory environment could have enough impact on the industry to change the entire plan?

How and why is this plan different from last year’s?

What were your forecasts for market growth, sales, and profitability last year, two years ago, and three years ago? How right or wrong were they? What did the business unit learn from those experiences?

What would it take to double your business unit’s growth rate and profits? Where will growth come from: expansion or gains in market share?

If your business unit plans to take market share from competitors, how will it do so, and how will they respond? Are you counting on a strategic advantage or superior execution?

What are your business unit’s distinctive competitive strengths, and how does the plan build on them?

How different is the strategy from those of competitors, and why? Is that a good or a bad thing?

Beyond the immediate planning cycle, what are the key issues, risks, and opportunities that we should discuss today?

What would a private-equity owner do with this business?

How will the business unit monitor the execution of this strategy?

One pharmaceutical company invites business unit leaders to take part in the strategy reviews of their peers in other units. This approach can help build a better understanding of the entire company and, especially, of the issues that span business units. The risk is that such interactions might constrain the honesty and vigor of the dialogue and put executives at the focus of the discussion on the defensive.

Corporate senior-management teams can dedicate only a few hours or at most a few days to a business unit under review. So team members should spend this time in challenging yet collaborative discussions with business unit leaders rather than trying to absorb many facts during the review itself. To provide some context for the discussion, best-practice companies disseminate important operational and financial information to the corporate review team well in advance of such sessions. This reading material should also tee up the most important issues facing the business and outline the proposed strategy, ensuring that the review team is prepared with well-thought-out questions. In our experience, the right 10 pages provide ample fuel to fire a vigorous discussion, but more than 25 pages will likely douse the level of energy or engagement in the room.

Adapt planning cycles to the needs of each business

Managers are justifiably concerned about the resources and time required to implement an issues-based strategic-planning approach. One easy—yet rarely adopted—solution is to free business units from the need to conduct this rigorous process every single year. In all but the most volatile, high-velocity industries, it is hard to imagine that a major strategic redirection will be necessary every planning cycle. In fact, forcing businesses to undertake this exercise annually is distracting and may even be detrimental. Managers need to focus on executing the last plan’s major initiatives, many of which can take 18 to 36 months to implement fully.

Some companies alternate the business units that undergo the complete strategic-planning process (as opposed to abbreviated annual updates of the existing plan). One media company, for example, requires individual business units to undertake strategic planning only every two or three years. This cadence enables the corporate senior-management team and its strategy group to devote more energy to the business units that are “at bat.” More important, it frees the corporate-strategy group to work directly with the senior team on critical issues that affect the entire company—issues such as developing an integrated digitization strategy and addressing unforeseen changes in the fast-moving digital-media landscape.

Other companies use trigger mechanisms to decide which business units will undergo a full strategic-planning exercise in a given year. One industrial company assigns each business unit a color-coded grade—green, yellow, or red—based on the unit’s success in executing the existing strategic plan. “Code red,” for example, would slate a business unit for a strategy review. Although many of the metrics that determine the grade are financial, some may be operational to provide a more complete assessment of the unit’s performance.

Freeing business units from participating in the strategic-planning process every year raises a caveat, however. When important changes in the external environment occur, senior managers must be able to engage with business units that are not under review and make major strategic decisions on an ad hoc basis. For instance, a major merger in any industry would prompt competitors in it to revisit their strategies. Indeed, one advantage of a tailored planning cycle is that it builds slack into the strategic-review system, enabling management to address unforeseen but pressing strategic issues as they arise.

Implement a strategic-performance-management system

In the end, many companies fail to execute the chosen strategy. More than a quarter of our survey respondents said that their companies had plans but no execution path. Forty-five percent reported that planning processes failed to track the execution of strategic initiatives. All this suggests that putting in place a system to measure and monitor their progress can greatly enhance the impact of the planning process.

Most companies believe that their existing control systems and performance-management processes (including budgets and operating reviews) are the sole way to monitor progress on strategy. As a result, managers attempt to translate the decisions made during the planning process into budget targets or other financial goals. Although this practice is sensible and necessary, it is not enough. We estimate that a significant portion of the strategic decisions we recommend to companies can’t be tracked solely through financial targets. A company undertaking a major strategic initiative to enhance its innovation and product-development capabilities, for example, should measure a variety of input metrics, such as the quality of available talent and the number of ideas and projects at each stage in development, in addition to pure output metrics such as revenues from new-product sales. One information technology company, for instance, carefully tracks the number and skill levels of people posted to important strategic projects.

Strategic-performance-management systems, which should assign accountability for initiatives and make their progress more transparent, can take many forms. One industrial corporation tracks major strategic initiatives that will have the greatest impact, across a portfolio of a dozen businesses, on its financial and strategic goals. Transparency is achieved through regular reviews and the use of financial as well as nonfinancial metrics. The corporate-strategy team assumes responsibility for reviews (chaired by the CEO and involving the relevant business-unit leaders) that use an array of milestones and metrics to assess the top ten initiatives. One to expand operations in China and India, for example, would entail regular reviews of interim metrics such as the quality and number of local employees recruited and the pace at which alliances are formed with channel partners or suppliers. Each business unit, in turn, is accountable for adopting the same performance-management approach for its own, lower-tier top-ten list of initiatives.

When designed well, strategic-performance-management systems can give an early warning of problems with strategic initiatives, whereas financial targets alone at best provide lagging indicators. An effective system enables management to step in and correct, redirect, or even abandon an initiative that is failing to perform as expected. The strategy of a pharmaceutical company that embarked on a major expansion of its sales force to drive revenue growth, for example, presupposed that rapid growth in the number of sales representatives would lead to a corresponding increase in revenues. The company also recognized, however, that expansion was in turn contingent on several factors, including the ability to recruit and train the right people. It therefore put in place a regular review of the key strategic metrics against its actual performance to alert managers to any emerging problems.

Integrate human-resources systems into the strategic plan

Simply monitoring the execution of strategic initiatives is not sufficient: their successful implementation also depends on how managers are evaluated and compensated. Yet only 36 percent of the executives we surveyed said that their companies’ strategic-planning processes were integrated with HR processes. One way to create a more valuable strategic-planning process would be to tie the evaluation and compensation of managers to the progress of new initiatives.

Although the development of strategy is ostensibly a long-term endeavor, companies traditionally emphasize short-term, purely financial targets—such as annual revenue growth or improved margins—as the sole metrics to gauge the performance of managers and employees. This approach is gradually changing. Deferred-compensation models for boards, CEOs, and some senior managers are now widely used. What’s more, several companies have added longer-term performance targets to complement the short-term ones. A major pharmaceutical company, for example, recently revamped its managerial-compensation structure to include a basket of short-term financial and operating targets as well as longer-term, innovation-based growth targets.

Although these changes help persuade managers to adopt both short- and long-term approaches to the development of strategy, they don’t address the need to link evaluation and compensation to specific strategic initiatives. One way of doing so is to craft a mix of performance targets that more appropriately reflect a company’s strategy. For example, one North American services business that launched strategic initiatives to improve its customer retention and increase sales also adjusted the evaluation and compensation targets for its managers. Rather than measuring senior managers only by revenue and margin targets, as it had done before, it tied 20 percent of their compensation to achieving its retention and cross-selling goals. By introducing metrics for these specific initiatives and linking their success closely to bonus packages, the company motivated managers to make the strategy succeed.

An advantage of this approach is that it motivates managers to flag any problems early in the implementation of a strategic initiative (which determines the size of bonuses) so that the company can solve them. Otherwise, managers all too often sweep the debris of a failing strategy under the operating rug until the spring-cleaning ritual of next year’s annual planning process.

Some business leaders have found ways to give strategic planning a more valuable role in the formulation as well as the execution of strategy. Companies that emulate their methods might find satisfaction instead of frustration at the end of the annual process.

Renée Dye is a consultant in McKinsey’s Atlanta office, and Olivier Sibony is a director in the Paris office.

This article was first published in the Autumn 2007 issue of McKinsey on Finance . Visit McKinsey’s corporate finance site to view the full issue.

Explore a career with us

Related articles.

strategic planning cycle example

Distortions and deceptions in strategic decisions

Tired of strategic planning.

How to Use Strategic Planning Frameworks and Models

By Joe Weller | April 12, 2019 (updated July 26, 2021)

  • Share on Facebook
  • Share on LinkedIn

Link copied

Strategic planning models and frameworks can help guide you through the strategic planning process. In this article, seasoned industry experts explain the models and frameworks to help you identify which is best for you.

Included on this page, you'll find different types of models and frameworks , tools to help you decide which models and frameworks to use , and details on how to use strategic planning models .

Strategic Planning Basics

Strategic planning is a team process that sets up how your company will accomplish its goals. When you deploy it correctly, strategic planning highlights problems, helps find solutions, and monitors progress. To learn more about the basics of strategic planning, read this article.

A strategic plan includes many sections. When done well, a strategic plan can help you prioritize your company’s functions and stay in line with your mission and vision.

There are different ways to present a strategic plan — for example, it can be a written document, a spreadsheet, or an animated presentation. To learn how to write a strategic plan, read this article.

Strategic Planning Frameworks and Models

Just as there are many approaches to presenting a strategic plan, you have several ways to frame or model your plan.

The terms strategic planning framework and strategic framing models are often used interchangeably, but some say they are different.

Tom Wright

“Think of models as a way of ideating strategy. [A model is] a template: You use it at the beginning of the planning process. The idea behind a model is to tease out the ideas,” says Tom Wright, CEO and Co-Founder of Cascade Strategy , a software company based in Sydney, Australia, with offices all over the world. “Frameworks are like a lens to help you see different perspectives, whereas the model is a process you would use from the beginning. You add a framework on top of the [strategic plan] to slice and dice the model.”

There are many strategic planning models and frameworks — some are tried and true, others are newer and more adaptive, and planners and managers may be more familiar with some methods than others. There is no one right or wrong way to create a strategic plan, and you can modify models and frameworks based on your company culture, your current situation, and the purpose behind your planning.

“The major driver [for picking a model or framework] is what type of business you are and what you want to accomplish,” Wright explains.

Strategic planners often utilize different frameworks or customize particular models as they move through the planning process. But be careful; customizing models or frameworks too much might confuse people who are familiar with a particular planning process.

Below is a list of some of the most common frameworks and models:

Alignment Model: This model helps align your mission statement with available resources. It is particularly effective for businesses facing internal struggles.

Balanced Scorecard (BSC): The balanced scorecard system strives to connect big-picture elements with operational elements. BSC is well-known and works for companies of varying sizes.

The Basic Model: Sometimes called a simple strategic planning model , the basic model  involves creating a mission statement, goals, and strategies.

Blue Ocean Strategy: This framework emphasizes new markets and uncontested space.

Gap Planning: A strategy gap is the distance between how a company is currently performing and its desired goal. Gap planning is the analysis and evaluation of that difference.

Inspirational Model: This is a somewhat quick method of strategic planning that begins by coming up with a highly inspirational vision for the organization and the goals to match.

Issue-Based or Goal-Based Model: A step up from the basic model, this model is better for more established businesses. It incorporates SWOT or other types of assessments to determine goals, mission statements, action plans, and other steps.

Organic Model: As the name implies, this model does not necessarily follow a set plan, instead evolving and changing as conditions warrant.

PEST Model: The PEST (political, economic, social, and technological) approach looks at elements of the external environment, including the forces in its name.

Porter’s Five Forces: This model looks at five competitive forces that are present in every industry and helps to determine strengths and weaknesses: competition in the industry, the potential of new entrants into the industry, the power of suppliers, the power of customers, and the threat of substitute products.

Real-Time Model: This a fluid process that works best for companies that operate in a rapidly changing environment.

Scenario Model: When used in conjunction with other models, the scenario model can help you identify goals, as well as issues around them, by using scenarios that might arise. Some experts say this is more of a technique than a model.

Strategy Mapping: This approach helps organizations design and communicate their strategies. Strategy mapping often falls under the umbrella of a BSC, but strategy maps can also stand alone.

SWOT Analysis or SWOT Matrix: SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) offers a way to examine both internal and external forces impacting your company.

VRIO Framework: This approach looks at the questions of value, rarity, imitability, and organization concerning the competitive potential of a company.

Using Strategic Planning Models

In this section, you’ll learn the specifics of the different strategic planning models and frameworks. Sometimes, models can serve as a visual guide. In contrast, frameworks function as an overlay to a model that helps clarify particular items, such as goals.

The Basic Model

The basic model of strategic planning is the most common and simplistic approach. The basic model works well for companies that are small, do not have much time to plan, don’t need to address many serious issues, or operate in stable external environments. It also works for companies that are new to strategic planning.

The basic model is not meant for organizations with significant resources to pursue ambitious visions and goals.

The basic model centers on the mission and vision statements. The vision statement identifies your company’s purpose on a higher level, and the mission statement outlines what happens within the organization to achieve that vision. It makes sense to build the rest of your plan from these statements.

The next step is to come up with goals you must achieve to live up to your mission and make it a reality, then outline what must happen to achieve those goals. Next, list the specific activities you must implement and who will participate in those activities. Lastly, create a simple monitoring plan to make sure your organization stays on track.

The Issue-Based or Goal-Based Model

The issue- or goal-based model evolves from the basic model and results in a more comprehensive plan. The steps vary.

This approach is dynamic and fluid, and it works well for businesses that want to go deeper into strategic planning but have the following concerns:

Limited resources for planning

Several issues to address

Limited past success reaching ambitious goals

No buy-in for the strategic planning process

The issue-based model requires organizations to identify their most important current issues, suggest action plans to address those issues, and include that information in the strategic plan.

The goal-based model often includes the following:

A way to monitor and amend the plan

Action plans, including objectives, resources, and implementation roles

Core values

Major issues and goals, along with ways to address them

Mission statement

SWOT analysis

Vision statement

Yearly operating plan, including a budget

The Alignment Model

The alignment model focuses on making sure an organization’s actions align with its vision. In the plan, you outline the mission, resources, programs, and support your organization needs to ensure it fulfills its vision.

The alignment model works well for organizations that are trying to figure out what is and isn’t working well, along with what needs adjusting. The process can help identify issues, such as internal inefficiencies and productivity problems. However, some critics of this model say it functions more like an internal development plan than a strategic plan.

The Scenario Model

The scenario model looks at what is happening outside of an organization, including regulatory, demographic, or political forces, to determine how they can impact what is happening inside of a company.

The scenario model works best when used in combination with other models and is more of a technique than a model.

For each change in an external force, discuss how it could impact the future of your organization in the following three ways:

A best-case scenario

A worst-case scenario

A reasonable-case scenario

After looking at the three potential impacts, figure out how to best respond to each. Then pick the most likely scenario and discuss strategies to address it.

The scenario model works well for businesses that need help planning for several potential situations.

The Organic Model

If your company wants to stay away from strict and formal strategic planning, the organic model might be a good fit. As the name implies, the organic model of strategic planning is more of a free-spirited conversation, rather than a set process. It emphasizes the journey over the destination.

The organic model relies on everyone having a shared vision and being willing to openly discuss how to get there using common values. This less systematic model requires patience since it involves constant dialogue and is never really finished.

The organic model works well for organizations where traditional methods feel static and obsolete. If you are looking for a set plan outlining steps to follow, the organic model is not for you.

Storyboarding techniques and open dialogue are often a part of the organic model, and everyone is encouraged to participate openly. The focus is more on learning and less about the method of strategic planning.

Real-Time Strategic Planning

The real-time method of strategic planning is even more fluid than the organic model. It helps articulate an organization’s mission and, sometimes, its vision and values. Real-time strategic planning often involves presenting lists to board members or management for further discussion.

Like the organic model, real-time strategic planning is a continuous process and works best for rapidly changing organizations that might not have the need for set, detailed, or traditional strategic planning.

Inspirational Model

Like the name implies, the inspirational model can be energizing to participants, but also have less of a strategic impact on an organization than other, more formal models.

The process works by gathering people to talk about a highly inspirational vision for the company. Leaders encourage participants to brainstorm exciting and far-reaching goals, then capture the details using powerful and poignant wording.

The inspirational model works well for organizations looking to lift the spirits of a staff or to quickly produce a plan.

Strategic Planning Frameworks

Like models, strategic planning frameworks help an organization through the strategic planning process. Most frameworks cover the basics of strategic planning (mission, vision, goals), but include additional sections and have more specific focus areas.

Balanced Scorecard Framework

One of the more popular strategic planning frameworks is the balanced scorecard. It functions as both a strategic planning and management system, and it helps connect a company’s plan to the operational elements that make it happen. The balanced scorecard takes more than financial profits into account when measuring success.

Companies use the balanced scorecard to do the following:

Align the daily work to the longer-term strategy.

Communicate where they are doing and why.

Set priorities.

Monitor progress and measure success.

When Drs. Robert Kaplan and David Norton created the balanced scorecard in the 1990s, it changed the way many companies do their strategic planning because it focused on more than one performance metric.

Strategic Models Balanced Scorecard Quadrants

Companies that use the balanced scorecard try to look at themselves using four unique perspectives to get a better understanding of their planning:

Financial performance

Stakeholders and customers the company is serving

An internal review of how the company is operating

Learning and growth (including capacity, infrastructure, technology, and culture)

The key to the balanced scorecard is that a business should be a balance of the four quadrants.

Cascade’s Wright says the balanced scorecard works well for medium and large companies that don’t change very quickly or don’t need to make radical changes.

To learn more about the balanced scorecard and find free templates and examples, read this article .

Strategy Mapping

Strategy mapping can help an organization reach its goals by providing a visual tool to communicate a strategic plan. Strategy mapping is often part of (but is not exclusive to) the balanced scorecard framework.

Because the graphic is visual and simple, it is an easy way to show how one objective impacts others.

Strategy mapping helps you identify key goals and unify those goals into strategies. People can refer back to it in order to stick to the overall plan when working on tasks or making decisions.

The map shows how different items interact with each other in various ways, including a cause-and-effect relationship.

Strategy maps are often set up in the following manner:

List the four perspectives (financial, customer, process and learning, and growth) horizontally.

Place objectives within those perspectives.

Write sets of linked objectives across different perspectives (these are called strategic themes ).

Show cause-and-effect impacts between objectives and across perspectives.

Strategic Planning Models Strategy Map Example

Image credit: Clearpoint Strategy

Use this template to help you organize your thoughts visually. By thinking of how different perspectives relate to each other, you can come up with your objectives.

Strategy Map Template

‌ Download Strategy Map Template

Excel | Smartsheet

Porter’s Five Forces

Porter’s Five Forces approach helps companies assess the competitiveness of the market. Introduced in 1979, it is one of the oldest strategic planning frameworks.

This approach focuses on the five forces that can impact the profitability of an organization:

The Threat of Entry: Can new companies enter the market?

The Threat of Other Substitute Products or Services: Is there a competitor on the market that your customers could use instead of your product or service?

Customers’ Bargaining Power: Can customers pressure you to react to their demands?

Suppliers’ Bargaining Power: Can suppliers apply pressure to your company?

Competitive Rivalry Among Companies: If a rival company changes its strategy, will it impact yours?

The key is to look at the amount of pressure each force applies to a company in order to determine that company’s future.

Five Force Model

Download Five Forces Model Template

Excel | PDF

SWOT Analysis

Most strategic planning processes include a SWOT analysis. Many companies perform a SWOT analysis at the beginning of the strategic planning process, as it offers them a look at what they are doing well and where they can improve.

A SWOT analysis examines the following:

Strengths: What the business does well to achieve its objectives

Weaknesses: What activities could keep a business from achieving its objectives

Opportunities: The external factors that could help achieve its objectives

Threats: Possible external factors that could keep the company from achieving its objectives

Strengths and weaknesses are internal characteristics, while opportunities and threats are external.

You've seen how the four quadrants of a SWOT analysis work. Use this template to write down each factor, so you can view your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

SWOT Analysis Strategic Template

‌ Download SWOT Analysis Strategy

Excel | Word | PDF | Smartsheet

PEST/PESTEL Planning

PEST stands for political, economic, sociocultural, and technological factors. There are several variations based on the idea, including PESTEL or PESTLE (when you also consider environmental and legal factors) or STEEPLED, where you consider sociocultural, technological, economic, environmental, political, legal, education, and demographic information.

These frameworks look at an industry or business environment and see what factors could impact an organization’s overall health and well-being. These do not stand alone and often go along with a SWOT analysis and other frameworks.

Below are some possible examples of these factors:

Political: Changes in tax laws, trading relationships, grant changes

Economic: Interest rate changes, inflation, consumer demand

Social: Changing lifestyle trends, demographic shifts

Technological: Competing technologies, productivity changes

Legal: Changes in regulations, employment laws

Environmental: Changes in customer expectations or regulations

PEST analysis template

Download PEST Analysis Template

Gap Planning

Gap planning allows you to compare an organization’s current position to its goal, then identify ways to bridge that gap. Gap planning can also help you identify internal deficiencies. Gap planning is sometimes known as gap analysis, needs assessment, or a strategic planning gap.

For a more detailed look at gap planning, read this article .

Blue Ocean Strategy

Created by professors W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne in 2005, the blue ocean strategy is a relatively new planning framework. The idea of a blue ocean is to create an uncontested market space for your company. By contrast, a red ocean is a market space that is already developed and saturated.

A blue ocean is the unknown. A company creates demand for a product or service instead of fighting over it, so there is plenty of opportunity for everyone. The idea is to pursue differentiation, thereby creating market share instead of trying to beat competitors.

A red ocean is the known market space. Industries in that space define and accept the boundaries that exist, and they play by the rules. The only way to get ahead is to outperform rivals to claim a bigger share of the market. The competition can be bloody, which leads to the term red ocean .

An example of an organization that found a blue ocean is Cirque du Soleil. Instead of operating as a typical circus, it found and expanded on a niche. The key to the blue ocean strategy is to make the competition irrelevant because you are doing something the others are not.

VRIO Framework

VRIO (value, rarity, imitability, and organization) is a framework that deals primarily with the vision statement, rather than the entire strategy for a company. By answering four main questions, an organization should be able to create a vision statement to take it through the rest of the planning process. This results in a competitive advantage in your marketplace.

Below are the four main questions:

Value: Using a particular resource, can you exploit an opportunity or get rid of a threat?

Rarity: Is there a lot of competition in your market, or do a few entities control most of the market?

Imitability: Can anyone else do what you do?

Organization: Are you organized enough as a company to adequately exploit your product or service?

Companies can use the VRIO framework to evaluate its resources and capabilities as part of the overall strategic planning process. VRIO comes into play after a company creates a vision statement, but before the rest of the planning process. The advantages you identify help determine what you need to do in order to achieve them.

McKinsey’s Strategic Horizons

McKinsey’s Strategic Horizons framework focuses on growth and innovation by categorizing goals into three categories: the core business, emerging opportunities, and new business.

Strategic Planning Models McKinsey Three Horizons

Image credit: CASCADE

“McKinsey’s is one of my favorites because it applies to businesses small to large and generates excitement,” says Wright. He adds that it is an easy model because it does not involve much jargon and focuses on the future.

The first horizon deals mostly with core activities in which a company is already engaged. Existing revenue is placed here, so goals mostly deal with improving margins and processes, as well as maintaining incoming cash flow. The second horizon involves taking what is already happening and expanding it into new areas. The third horizon involves new directions, possibly including research and new programs. Wright recommends a 70/20/10 split between the three horizons.

Fast-growing and startup organizations might find McKinsey’s framework helpful.

The Ansoff Matrix

Sometimes called the product-market matrix , the Ansoff matrix looks at market penetration and potential future growth. It helps companies that want to try to grow sales volumes or have it as a major focus area.

In this matrix, market development concerns selling more of an existing product or service to a new group of people. Market penetration focuses on selling even more of a current product or service to the same people. Product development focuses on developing new products for current customers. Diversification is all about new products and services and new markets; this carries the most risk, but potentially offers large gains.

Wright says this framework helps companies think deeply about how they will achieve growth instead of merely saying they want to grow.

The Bryson Model or Strategy Change Cycle

John M. Bryson, McKnight Presidential Professor of Planning and Public Affairs at the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota and author of Strategic Planning for Public and Nonprofit Organizations: A Guide to Strengthening and Sustaining Organizational Achievement , created the Bryson model. Some people, himself included, call it the Strategy Change Cycle.

John Bryson

“It’s a framework, not a recipe. It’s a reference point, the logic does not go step by step from one to 10,” Bryson says. “You start with purposes in mind and then figure out how to get there.”

There are 10 standard steps in the cycle, but Bryson stresses they are not sequential and often happen simultaneously.

Initiate and agree on a strategic planning process

Identify organizational mandates

Clarify organizational mission and values

Assess the external and internal environment to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT)

Identify the issues facing the organization

Formulate strategies to manage the issues

Review and adopt the strategies or strategic plan

Establish an effective organizational vision

Develop an effective implementation process

Reassess the strategies and the strategic planning process

Using this cycle, changes to the norm often happen. “You might think you know what your mission and goals are, and after you go through the process, you might need to change your mission and goals,” Bryson explains. “We try to let the mission and goals emerge from the conversations rather than starting there.”

Other Planning Models and Frameworks

In addition to the models and frameworks listed above, there are several other types, including the following:

The Stakeholder Theory: This approach focuses on adding value to specific groups of people, including employees, customers, the community, shareholders, and society. Organizations can add groups as necessary since the model is very flexible.

Kaufman Model: Also called mega planning, the Kaufman Model relies on a needs assessment. This model focuses on the impact an organization can have on society and clients.

Global Model: As the name implies, global strategic planning includes what is necessary to compete in an international marketplace. It involves looking at both the internal and external environments of multinational organizations.

Maturity Model: The maturity model assesses how strategic management is working within an organization and how it stands up to other organizations.

Diamond-E Framework: The Diamond-E framework helps identify possible gaps in an organization to decide whether or not to pursue an opportunity.

Value Migration: This model helps companies plan ahead of the competition. Its creator, Adrian Slywotzky, defines value migration as the shifting of forces that create value, and that shift goes from an outdated business model to a better-designed model that satisfies customers.

Value Disciplines: This flexible framework focuses on what an organization is already good at and builds on it. Three areas of focus are operational excellence, customer intimacy, and product leadership.

Agile Strategic Planning Model: The flexibility of Agile planning allows for growth and change in strategic planning. The cornerstone of Agile is being able to respond quickly to change, which seems like the antithesis of strategic planning. The Agile approach to strategic planning involves reviewing and adapting your strategic plan at regular intervals and whenever conditions warrant it.

General Electric Model: Also known as the McKinsey Matrix, this model looks at the industry externally versus the internal forces. Since it helps to identify the attractiveness of an industry and a firm’s strengths, the grid can help evaluate market share and identify areas for development.

How to Decide Which Strategic Planning Model or Framework to Use

Though strategic planning has changed over the years, the need remains for organizations to have some kind of vision and mission, as well as an outline about how to achieve them.

There is no right or wrong way to decide which model or framework to use for your strategic planning process. The key is to figure out which one best applies to your company and its needs — for example, VRIO can help you create a vision statement, and BSC can help keep plans on track. Additionally, some methods work well together.

“The perfect plan is the one that actually gets done,” says Wright. “A poor plan well executed is worth more than a great plan that never gets off the ground. Most people know what they need to do; it’s getting the traction and about democratizing the process. Constantly, people undervalue the role of buy-in with strategic planning. People need to be involved.”

Ted Jackson

“The framework you choose would have to deal with the sophistication of your business,” says Ted Jackson, founder and managing partner of ClearPoint Strategy . He recommends adapting a model or framework to meet your needs, rather than attempting to stick to hard and fast rules that might come from a book or a similar source. “I think if you read a book and try to implement it exactly [as the book outlines it] to your organization, you will fail,” he says.

Jackson advises simplifying some frameworks and adapting them, but he has some cautionary advice about trying to combine parts of different frameworks. “One mistake is not picking one framework. You can’t be so flexible that you’re implementing multiple frameworks together. People within an organization get really confused,” Jackson says, adding that people who have some knowledge of specific models or frameworks will not understand different terms and ideas, and they’ll probably be afraid to ask.

Some organizations might not get to choose the framework they use. For example, governmental organizations or companies that receive grant funding might need to produce a strategic plan that fits into a formula the government dictates.

Even though you should not use a strategic plan solely because a similar company does, it might help to look at their preferred framework to pick the one that is right for you.

Below are other criteria to help you decide:

Check the size of your organization and the resources you can devote to planning.

If your organization is in trouble, you might want to focus on a framework or model that addresses immediate issues rather than tackles the longer term.

Look at the health of your organization and its developmental stage.

See who is excited about the planning process.

“If you have a cultural challenge in your organization about getting excited about planning, the model you pick is important. Some models are sexier than others,” Wright explains.

Wright does not recommend changing models during the planning process. “[The model] is a template you use to get your ideas on paper. The model is just a vehicle. If you’re struggling with the model, it might be you.”

It isn’t the same for frameworks, according to Wright. “There is a ton of value in changing frameworks and using multiple frameworks at the same time [to view things differently],” he says. Though Wright encourages using different frameworks, he echoes Jackson’s warning to not use different models at the same time.

In certain cases, strategic planning is not an immediate need — for instance, when a company is failing financially or is autocratic, or when a major upheaval is occurring.

Strategic Planning for Specific Areas

Strategic planning for specific departments is a bit different than planning for a company as a whole. In this section, we’ll explain the basics of how some departments typically approach strategic planning.

IT Strategic Planning

A strategic plan for the IT department details how technology will help a company succeed in reaching its goals and objectives. You can think of it as a technology roadmap that outlines where IT can do its part to implement a company’s strategies.

The IT plan must align with the company’s overall mission and vision statements, but it has a secondary mission statement that states how the IT strategy relates to the overall plans for the organization.

The IT plan should also include a SWOT analysis, goals, and objectives. The plan will help make sure you purchase the right assets and work with existing technology effectively. Use the template below to draft a strong, comprehensive IT strategic plan.

IT Strategic Plan Template

Download IT Strategic Planning Template - Excel

Strategic Human Capital Planning

Strategic human capital planning refers to when a company looks at how people — and how to manage them — go along with the organization’s strategic goals. The end result is a plan to help attract and maintain the talent necessary to achieve the company’s mission and vision.

You can use the following HR strategic plan to list, assess, and plan for future program strategies.

HR Strategic Plan template

Download HR Strategic Planning Template - Excel

Succession Planning

At its core, succession planning relies on developing and identifying new leaders. Because employees move on or retire, a company needs to have a plan in place to assume new and important roles.

Often, succession planning happens as a part of the overarching strategic planning process — for example, when you look at the resources available to a company and their productivity.

Note that available human resources can be both strengths and weaknesses. The planning process can help companies identify specific hiring needs.

For more about human resources management, this article can help. Additionally, you can find templates for succession planning here .

Healthcare Strategic Planning

The world of healthcare is changing, and healthcare organizations have to adapt. Still, the following general ideas persist:

There will be a continued need to provide quality patient care.

Operating costs and government regulations will impact the bottom line.

The volume and demographics of patients will change.

There will be a change in the labor supply, especially in the number of primary care physicians available.

Wellness and prevention will gain importance.

New technologies will continue to emerge.

Even with the ever-changing healthcare industry, strategic plans will continue to help organizations stay focused on their goals and objectives. By having a structured planning process, rather than following models that are more organic and reactionary, healthcare entities can survive and succeed.

But be careful with metrics that only consider financial success — there is much more to healthcare than profit.

Improve Strategic Planning with Real-Time Work Management in Smartsheet

Empower your people to go above and beyond with a flexible platform designed to match the needs of your team — and adapt as those needs change. 

The Smartsheet platform makes it easy to plan, capture, manage, and report on work from anywhere, helping your team be more effective and get more done. Report on key metrics and get real-time visibility into work as it happens with roll-up reports, dashboards, and automated workflows built to keep your team connected and informed. 

When teams have clarity into the work getting done, there’s no telling how much more they can accomplish in the same amount of time.  Try Smartsheet for free, today.

Discover why over 90% of Fortune 100 companies trust Smartsheet to get work done.

Cart

  • SUGGESTED TOPICS
  • The Magazine
  • Newsletters
  • Managing Yourself
  • Managing Teams
  • Work-life Balance
  • The Big Idea
  • Data & Visuals
  • Reading Lists
  • Case Selections
  • HBR Learning
  • Topic Feeds
  • Account Settings
  • Email Preferences

Strategic Planning Should Be a Strategic Exercise

  • Graham Kenny

Don’t create a plan. Create a system.

Many managers complain that strategy-making often reduces to an operational action plan that resembles the last one.  To prevent that from happening they need to remember that strategy is about creating a system whereby a company’s stakeholders interact to create a sustainable advantage for the company.  Strategic planning is how the company designs that system, which is very different from an operational action plan in that it is never a static to-do list but constantly evolves as strategy makers acquire more insights into how their system of stakeholders can create value.

Over the years I’ve facilitated many strategic planning workshops for business, government, and not-for-profit organizations. We reflect on recent changes and future trends and consider how to engage with them for corporate success.

strategic planning cycle example

  • Graham Kenny is the CEO of Strategic Factors and author of Strategy Discovery . He is a recognized expert in strategy and performance measurement who helps managers, executives, and boards create successful organizations in the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors. He has been a professor of management in universities in the U.S. and Canada.

Partner Center

IMAGES

  1. Strategic Planning Cycle as a graphic illustration free image download

    strategic planning cycle example

  2. 6 steps strategic planning cycle model

    strategic planning cycle example

  3. Strategic Planning Process from Start to Finish

    strategic planning cycle example

  4. Tips For Creating A Business With Strategic Planning Process

    strategic planning cycle example

  5. Organizational Strategic Plan- Elements and Examples

    strategic planning cycle example

  6. What Is Strategic Planning In Business

    strategic planning cycle example

VIDEO

  1. Strategic Plan Cycle II

  2. About The Strategic Plan Cycle II 2024-2029

  3. Guide for Procurement Planning Part 1 of 3

  4. Implementing a Strategic Planning Cycle for Events #eventmanagement

  5. Strategic Planning cycle

  6. "How to Plan"

COMMENTS

  1. Strategic Planning: 5 Planning Steps, Process Guide [2024] • Asana

    The strategic planning process starts with assembling a small, dedicated team of key strategic planners—typically five to 10 members—who will form the strategic planning, or management, committee. ... For example, you develop a new pet tracking smart collar or improve the microchipping experience for pet owners. ...

  2. PDF How to write a strategic plan

    Overcoming Challenges and Pitfalls. Challenge of consensus over clarity. Challenge of who provides input versus who decides. Preparing a long, ambitious, 5 year plan that sits on a shelf. Finding a balance between process and a final product. Communicating and executing the plan. Lack of alignment between mission, action, and finances.

  3. Strategic Planning Process Definition, Steps and Examples

    The outcome of strategic planning is typically a long-term strategic plan that outlines the organization's vision, mission, values, and objectives. Business planning, on the other hand, is a more tactical process that focuses on the implementation of specific initiatives and projects to support the organization's long-term goals.

  4. The 5 steps of the strategic planning process

    Determine your priorities and objectives. Define responsibilities. Measure and evaluate results. Each step requires close collaboration as you build a shared vision, strategy for implementation, and system for understanding performance. Related: Learn how to hold an effective strategic planning meeting.

  5. How To Write A Strategic Plan That Gets Results + Examples

    1. Run a strategic planning workshop. The first step is to run a strategic planning workshop with your team. Get your team in the room, get their data, and gather their insights. By running this workshop, you'll foster collaboration and bring fresh perspectives to the table. And that's not all.

  6. Essential Guide to Strategic Planning

    The strategic planning process varies by the size of the organization and can be formal or informal, but there are constraints. For example, teams of all sizes and goals should build in many points along the way for feedback from key leaders — this helps the process stay on track.

  7. The Strategic Planning Process in 4 Steps

    Estimated Duration. Determine organizational readiness. Owner/CEO, Strategy Director. Readiness assessment. Establish your planning team and schedule. Owner/CEO, Strategy Leader. Kick-Off Meeting: 1 hr. Collect and review information to help make the upcoming strategic decisions. Planning Team and Executive Team.

  8. Strategic Planning: How to Write a Strategic Plan That Works

    Putting your strategic plan into practice (our final step) is the key to making it all work during the strategy implementation plan, and getting these details 80% right in a timely fashion is much more important than getting them 100% right in a year. 3. Putting your strategic plan into practice.

  9. Strategic Planning Tools: What, Why, How, Template

    The key elements of a successful strategic plan include: Mission and vision. The organization's mission articulates its reasons for being, and the vision lays out where the organization hopes to be. The strategic plan, which links the two, must be adaptive enough to respond if the context changes during execution. Strategic assumptions.

  10. What is Strategic Planning? Definition, Importance, Model, Process and

    Strategic planning is defined as a pivotal organizational endeavor, meticulously charting the mission, goals, and objectives over a strategic timeframe, typically spanning 2-5 years. Learn more about strategic planning importance, model, process, and examples.

  11. Strategic Planning Process Steps

    Strategic planning process steps. Determine your strategic position. Prioritize your objectives. Develop a strategic plan. Execute and manage your plan. Review and revise the plan. Every business should have a strategic plan—but the number of businesses that try to operate without a defined plan (or at least a clearly communicated one) might ...

  12. 7 Strategic Planning Models and 8 Frameworks To Start [2024] • Asana

    1. Basic model. The basic strategic planning model is ideal for establishing your company's vision, mission, business objectives, and values. This model helps you outline the specific steps you need to take to reach your goals, monitor progress to keep everyone on target, and address issues as they arise.

  13. Strategic Plans for Long-Term Growth: Examples and Strategies

    A long-term focus distinguishes a strategic plan from operational goals, which involve daily activities and milestones required for success. When planning strategically, you're looking ahead to the company's future. The Strategic Planning Process [11 Steps] A strategic plan isn't written in a day. Critical thinking evolves over several ...

  14. Strategic Planning: A 10-Step Planning Process

    Strategic planning seeks to anticipate future industry trends . During the process, the organization creates a vision, articulates its purpose, and sets strategic goals that are long-term and forward-focused. Those strategic goals inform operational goals and incremental milestones that need to be reached.

  15. A practical guide to jumpstart strategic planning

    For example, some companies have, outside of their normal strategy-planning season, a set of regular meetings with an evolving agenda of big strategic topics and stimulating discussions about them to make decisions, so you get into a discipline and a cadence of strategic conversations. That's a micropractice.

  16. A Really Helpful Strategic Planning Example

    Meet Upward Airlines, our fictitious company that's about to launch its strategic planning process. Upward Airlines Strategic Plan Example. Let's imagine Upward Airlines has a 2017-2022 strategic plan that's coming to a close. Now's the time to create a new strategy for 2023-2028. The airline's strategic plan needs to include goals ...

  17. Quick Guide: How to Write a Strategic Plan

    The strategic planning process takes time, but the payoff is huge. If done correctly, your strategic plan will engage and align stakeholders around your company's priorities. ... For example, tracking visitors to a website, customers completing a contact form, or the number of proposals that close with deals are all performance indicators ...

  18. 6 Steps to Make Your Strategic Plan Really Strategic

    Share. Save. Summary. Many strategic plans aren't strategic, or even plans. To fix that, try a six step process: first, identify key stakeholders. Second, identify a specific, very important key ...

  19. Strategic Plan Examples: Case Studies and Free Strategic Planning Template

    There is no one-size-fits-all example of a strategic plan, as each organization possesses unique needs and circumstances that must be taken into account. Strategic planning is an essential process for organizations of all sizes and types. It assists in setting a clear direction, defining goals, and effectively allocating resources.

  20. How to improve strategic planning

    Adapt planning cycles to the needs of each business. Managers are justifiably concerned about the resources and time required to implement an issues-based strategic-planning approach. One easy—yet rarely adopted—solution is to free business units from the need to conduct this rigorous process every single year.

  21. Strategic Planning Frameworks and Models

    Often, succession planning happens as a part of the overarching strategic planning process — for example, when you look at the resources available to a company and their productivity. Note that available human resources can be both strengths and weaknesses. The planning process can help companies identify specific hiring needs.

  22. PDF The Complete Guide to Strategic Planning

    Strategic issues are critical unknowns that are driving you to embark on a strategic planning process now. These issues can be problems, opportunities, market shifts or anything else that is keeping you awake at night and begging for a solution or decision. Questions to Ask:

  23. Strategic Planning Should Be a Strategic Exercise

    Strategic planning is how the company designs that system, which is very different from an operational action plan in that it is never a static to-do list but constantly evolves as strategy makers ...