Kick-off your business in 2021 on the right foot by starting at the foundation of every successful business: strategy. The strategy is even more important for your business after the year we all had last year, where many of our strategies went off course. Strategic planning refers to creating an opportunity to review and realign your current strategic plan, align your management team behind a single vision, and effectively allocate the resources you need to achieve your goals.
When you start each year with a solid and planned approach to your success, it provides you with a roadmap to follow and sets a clear tone and vision for the foreseeable future. I have facilitated hundreds of strategic planning sessions and have outlined below a few of my top reasons why all businesses should invest in this critical planning exercise.
Drives business alignment
Although many business owners feel they are completely united with their senior management, with over 40 years working with business owners and senior management, I can tell you with certainty that this is very often not the case. During a strategic planning session, it will give you the perfect opportunity to hear from your team, acknowledge their viewpoints, and foster communication with them. It also allows for the creative exchange of ideas that can help resolve any challenges and create effective solutions.
Maintaining and improving business alignment are some of the key reasons why I strongly recommend using an outside facilitator to lead your strategic planning session. An outside facilitator with years of senior business experts will provide you with an unbiased viewpoint who will keep the discussion balanced between all participating individuals of the session. Additionally, they’ll ensure that each person receives an equal opportunity to contribute to the session while handling complex and sensitive issues with tact and professionalism.
Creates a unified vision
A strategic planning session creates a unified vision for your business that involves input from every area of your business’ management team. When your senior management team is involved in the creation of the company vision, not only will you gain better buy-in, but it helps foster a more inclusive and collaborative working culture. As a result, you will create a single, forward-focused vision that the entire team can rally behind and communicate to their staff so there is a unified vision.
Defines priorities and goals
Part of any productive strategic planning session is the ability to define priorities and measurable goals to help execute the vision. The team will review and effectively allocate what resources will be needed to achieve the goals of the plan. You will regroup with your team to consider the priorities and short-term and long-term goals. To help identify your goals and priorities, I often lead businesses in a strategic session through SWOT analysis. This allows you to create a proactive plan by identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats from all angles.
Before you conduct a strategic planning session, you’ll need to hire an outside facilitator. Not only can they foster open communication, but they can also challenge you to think in new ways when evaluating all areas of your business, including operations, sales, marketing, etc.