Six step planning process for first time leaders

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At its core, planning and strategy is about generating and selecting options to close gaps between objectives and current realities.  Put simply – where are you, where do you want to go and how are you going to get there?  It is about the creation and allocation of resources to the right place, in the right way and at the right time to achieve your mission, vision, objectives and goals whilst maintaining your values.

Your task as the leader is to lead the team in creating and selecting the most effective set of strategic options that will get you from where you are now to where you want to go.

A big part of strategy is identifying and playing to the business’s strengths relative to its competitors and matching these to the changing environment and the subsequent opportunities and threats this may create.

The following six-step process will allow you to create a complete and robust strategic plan.  For a more detailed journey through strategic planning for leaders visit…..

  1. Set the aspirational destination – no journey can start without knowing where you want to go.  This should be derived directly from the company’s mission and values.  This step should come before looking at the current state.  Starting with the end in mind encourages bigger ideas.
  2. Assess the facts of the current reality and develop future scenarios. – the next step is to understand where are you know?  This involves reviewing the 5C’s (Customers, Collaborators, Capabilities, Competitors and Conditions) as well as understanding the current opportunities and threats the business faces – i.e. the creation of a SWOT.

The next part of this is to develop scenarios – these originate from the PESTLE (Political, Economic, Social, Technology, Legal, Environmental) exercise mentioned in previous blogs.  If we do this well we can predict what may happen in each different scenario and therefore which strategic option could be preferable.

  • Identify options to bridge gaps between reality and aspiration – Here we determine which strategic options might create additional value for the organisation.  Be creative, thinking outside of the box so you can come up with a range of options that can potentially address the issues and move the organisation forward.  For more information read “The goal posts have changed”.  If you are stuck here we have a number of innovation models we can undertake with you to help.

This is a good time to get stakeholder input.  Your stakeholders may also have good ideas.  Keep in mind you are not looking for decisions, just input and options.

  • Evaluate the options under different scenarios – In this step determine which options create the most value for the organisation over time, under different scenarios and different assumptions.  Evaluate scenarios and options leading to a range of forecasts based on clear and referenceable assumption.  Again, at this point, involve stakeholders to understand and to help improve the components of the valuation assumptions.
  • Develop detailed plans – with your strategic choices in place, develop a detailed plan that addresses the strategic, operational and organisational actions that are needed to implement the selected option.  Consider here resource requirements and allocation, critical business drivers, deadlines, roles and responsibilities, and measures and goals.
  • Act, measure, adjust repeat – Once the plan as started continually monitor its progress against your stated goals to ensure what you thought would happen is happening in a timely manner.

For more about how we can help you with your strategic planning please visit or contact us

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