Strategic Planning Kit For Dummies
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Strategic plans can come in many different shapes and sizes, but they all have the following components. The list below describes each piece of a strategic plan in the order that they’re typically developed.

  • Mission statement: The mission statement is an overarching, timeless expression of your purpose and aspiration, addressing both what you seek to accomplish and the manner in which the organization seeks to accomplish it. It’s a declaration of why you exist as an organization.

  • Vision statement: This short, concise statement of the organization’s future answers the question of what the company will look like in five or more years.

  • Values statement or guiding principles: These statements are enduring, passionate, and distinctive core beliefs. They’re guiding principles that never change and are part of your strategic foundation.

  • SWOT: A SWOT is a summarized view of your current position, specifically your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

  • Competitive advantage: Your competitive advantage includes what you’re best at compared to the competition.

  • Long-term strategic objectives: These long-term strategic focus areas span a three-year (or more) time horizon. They answer the question of what you must focus on to achieve your vision.

  • Strategies: Strategies are the general, umbrella methods you intend to use to reach your vision.

  • Short-term goals/priorities/initiatives: These items convert the strategic objectives into specific performance targets that fall within the one- to two-year time horizon. They state what, when, and who and are measurable.

  • Action items/plans: These specific statements explain how a goal will be accomplished. They’re the areas that move the strategy to operations and are generally executed by teams or individuals within one to two years.

  • Scorecard: You use a scorecard to report the data of your key performance indicators (KPIs) and track your performance against the monthly targets.

  • Financial assessment: Based on historical record and future projections, this assessment helps plan and predict the future, allowing you to gain much better control over your organization’s financial performance.

About This Article

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About the book author:

Erica Olsen is cofounder and COO of M3 Planning, Inc., a firm dedicated to developing and executing strategy. M3 provides consulting and facilitation services, as well as hosts products and tools such as MyStrategicPlan for leaders with big ideas who want to empower and focus their teams to achieve them.

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