Tuesday 23 April 2013

Strategic Planning Plays an Important Role

This article is a guest post submitted by GoPromotional, which is not related to promotional products but talks about the importance of strategic planning. Strategic planning may be used in many different circumstances, be it for meeting or for planning of events. Read on to find out more about the role of strategic planning.

By Gareth Parkin | GoPromotional

The Importance of Strategic Planning Sessions for Businesses and Organizations

Strategic Planning Sessions can be a very helpful part of the management of organizations and businesses. It is a process of making a plan that can be short term, long term, or include ideas for both and is a great way to brain storm and identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to the business. The knowledge and focus gained from conducting a strategic planning session is well worth the time and effort needed to keep a business on track and healthy.

Benefits of Strategic Planning

Defining the purpose of the organization and outlining the mission of the company start to provide the structure a business needs. Establishing realistic goals and objectives that are consistent with the organization’s mission creates focus and direction.  Once these outlines are formed, the goals and objectives can be communicated to the employees and staff, even shared with the customers or clients if that benefits the company. When employees participate in the strategic planning they will develop a sense of ownership of the plan rather than blindly following instructions. Thinking the planning through with multiple ideas and brainstorming results in effective use of resources and prioritizing all efforts. The strategic planning guidelines also provide a benchmark so that the growth and benefits of the session can be measured.

Planning and Leading the Strategic Planning Session

It may sound strange, but there needs to be a detailed plan before the planning starts. The person leading the strategic planning session needs to have an outline distributed to all planning members before the meeting happens so that everyone knows what they will be expected to bring to the table. Meeting members can devote some time to having some well thought out ideas ahead of time so that the meeting time is spent effectively. The planning session leader must be prepared with a schedule and keep everyone on task so that all of the points that need to be covered during the session are covered. Bring examples from other successful companies to show the group so that they can draw from ideas that are already successful and incorporate how they can apply to their business or organization. Allow adequate meeting time and also keep the meeting moving along on track with a timed schedule.

When Should Strategic Planning Sessions Be Done?

Strategic planning sessions are necessary when a business or organization is just starting out, and can be repeated yearly or every six months if necessary. That does not rule out the need for intermittent planning sessions. A business should call extra planning sessions if something significantly changes about the business, economy, or work environment. If the business is facing new or growing challenges, a strategic planning session can give great perspective on the situation and outline a plan for dealing with and successfully navigating challenges and difficulties. One of the key things to consider is that a strategic planning session is not for businesses or organizations in trouble, quite the contrary, planning for areas of growth or opportunity can lead to great success.

Stages of Strategic Planning Sessions

As mentioned before, the first stage of a strategic planning session is the preplanning and distribution of the meeting agenda and questions so that all the meeting participants can arrive at the meeting prepared and ready for an efficient meeting during the allowed time. The next step in the process is setting up a specific time for identifying goals, brainstorming new ideas, and revisiting old ideas.  The next step is likely the most important part of any strategic planning session; and that is identifying the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats for the business. These are called the SWOT for short and represent the first letter of each word in the exercise. The participants will be amazed at the level of clarity and focus that comes about when all of these ideas are shared, organized and discussed. A schedule for implementing the goals, ideas and SWOTs should be established before the meeting closes. Once the meeting is done, then next step is sharing the results with the rest of the organization and then implementation of the points identified for the business. The last stage is following up with the plans created and is just as important as the planning and implementing stages. Follow up meetings should be scheduled at different intervals and possibly even revisited at each predetermined interval. Determining how often to hold new strategic planning sessions should also be established, as strategic planning is really more of a cycle that a one-time event.  Keeping goals and SWOTs on a constant refresher will keep everyone in the company moving forward toward prosperity and success.

Now that you have understood the importance of strategic planning, it is important to keep in mind how to use these advices wisely when it comes to event planning. Do visit the ODM website for more promotional ideas and products that may be essential to use during such meetings or events. It is good to give out promotional items branded with your company logo when planning for such events.  

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