Strategic Planning: Objectives, Goals, and Actions - dummies

Strategic Planning: Objectives, Goals, and Actions

By Erica Olsen

Strategic planning answers where you are now, where you’re going, and how you’re getting there. Visualize a famous bridge, such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Brooklyn Bridge, or Tower Bridge. All bridges have two primary support pillars and a span between the two, allowing one part of land to be connected with another.

One of these pillars explains where you are now — your mission, values, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. The pillar on the far side represents where you’re going — your vision. How you get there is the span, or the road, in between — your strategic objectives, goals, and action plans.

Now because the span between the two pillars is quite long, you need to bridge the gap with long-term strategic objectives and short-term goals. How you build the bridge is your strategy. You can have a different strategy for each section of the bridge, or you can have a consistent strategy for the whole thing. But think about the strategy as the how and the goals and strategic objectives as the what.

The critical part of this analogy is that in order for the bridge to function properly, every element has to support the other, or it collapses. So as you look at the ideas you’ve already generated, you’ll probably find that some of them help connect the two pillars and others are outliers.

Use the following process to develop your road map, which connects your mission to your vision. Where applicable, the time frame for each section of your plan is indicated in parentheses.

  • Evaluate all the strategic alternatives generated by assessing your strategic position.

  • Develop a short list of internal and external strategic alternatives.

  • Create strategic objectives (three to five years).

  • Create short-term goals (one year).

  • Develop action plans based on the goals (next 90 days).

  • Establish who’s responsible for carrying out the goals.

  • Select measures to track your progress.