Strategic Planning I: What is strategy?

Strategic Planning I: What is strategy?


Marine Institute Ireland, Strategic_Planning_S...
Marine Institute Ireland, Strategic_Planning_Symbol (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


In the fourth quarter, you met as a management team to prepare for the upcoming year in a strategic planning session.  It was time to agree upon and delineate your strategic initiatives for the next year.

  • Do you have them written down easily accessible to review throughout the year?
  • Did you use a consultant, facilitator or was your meeting conducted by one of your senior leaders?
  • Were you pleased with the result of your strategic planning session?

Maximize your strategic results by doing the following:

  1. Change the location of this meeting from your normal location to allow for fresh thinking in a new stimulating environment.  Offsite is a great consideration.
  2. Foster a creative and strategic mindset.  Pre-work, such as providing a series of leading strategic questions for the team to answer, is a great way to allow folks time to think about their ideas and prepare them for the meeting.  Having the team breakout into small groups brings more ideas to the table than one big discussion.
  3. Have rules for this meeting to protect free-thinking and enhance participation.  Make sure there is no negativity regarding any ideas that may surface.  Make sure that the meeting is not dominated by the folks who speak all of the time.
  4. Plan to meet regularly throughout the year to keep the team informed and updated regarding the status of the initiatives.  Is your group “one and done”?  How often are you getting the team together to review the agreed-upon plan?  Strategic planning meetings should take place throughout the year, not just once a year.  I suggest monthly meetings where you move the focus beyond the potential of the idea as well as the buy-in process.  Rather, your team should dig into the challenges.  Uncover the bottleneck for the innovation and work on breaking through.  Keep the goals, vision and plan in front of the team and make the language within the plan part of the typical corporate conversation.
  5. Have a goal to focus on strategy and actively avoid operational issues in the meeting.  Make sure that you are conducting a strategy meeting where you will discuss innovation and implementation.  This is not the time for operational issues to be discussed and planned.  Consider the difference between operational issues and strategic issues.  Have a separate meeting for each.

Goal Setting vs. Strategic Planning

If this meeting has an agenda for setting up expectations and goals for your existing departments, it is not a strategic planning meeting.  If the meeting has a focus on “how” to achieve specific goals, such meetings are operational in nature and not strategic.  Operational meetings are as important as Strategy meetings.  However, do not mistake one for the other.  They could not be more different from one another.  True strategic meetings focus on corporate vision and where you want your company to be.

Operational Management vs. Strategic Management

There is a tremendous amount of strategy that goes into running the operation of your business.  And looking into the processes with the purpose of improving them or doing more of them is certainly a necessary and valuable part of your operational strategy.  However, such an endeavor is not part of your global strategic plan.  Strategic planning sets in motion initiatives that can move your organization in an innovative direction with new processes and new measurements.

Day-to-Day Concerns vs. Vision

We are typically busy focused on putting out fires and issues relating to the day-to-day business concerns.  Once one pulls back from this and sees the bigger picture including global concerns and future direction, one can gain the vision needed to participate fully in effective conversations regarding strategy.

Eye-Cubed executives and leaders appreciate the time needed to become inspired, determine the value of each innovative initiative and execute the implementation needed for success.  By differentiating between operational concerns and strategic endeavors, determining a measurement technique, process and timeframe, your team will drive the initiatives forward and evolve towards greatness.


Get more at Strategic Planning I: What is strategy? « Eye-Cubed-U.



About Kelly Business Advisors, LLC

Early in his career John started-up and sold 7 years later a Moving and Storage Company in Milwaukee. He acquired and was President of Kelly Pickle Company f/k/a Bond Pickle Company, in Oconto, WI for 12 years. Built a monthly round-table networking group of manufactures in Oconto. Developed marketing plans, sales plans, products and implemented lean manufacturing practices with many North American companies. Worked with non-profits as both a front line leader and behind the scenes. He is active in his church, a member of the Green Bay Chamber of Commerce,Business Networkers International (BNI) and now is joining the Green Bay Downtown Rotary.

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