Strategic Planning for Operational Effectiveness

The process of developing a strategic plan seems onerous to many of us and of little value to others. In our experience we have found that the fault lies not in the concept of strategic planning but rather in the process of developing the plan itself. In order to move beyond the traditional methodology to create organizational effectiveness, strategic planning must consist of a clear process for planning that involves all levels of employees as well as customers.

The bia™ Strategic Planning process requires 3 full days to complete and involves the following 8 steps:

  1. Collect Feedback from customers, staff and benchmark research results.
    This first step is best undertaken before the Strategic Planning session begins because it requires historical review and input from all levels of staff as well as customers. It is a comprehensive review of strengths, weaknesses, emergent opportunities and threats to your business.
  2. Review the Organization’s Current Situation.
    All participants in the Strategic Development session come prepared to present a summary of what they’ve accomplished in their own area of responsibility over the past year. As well, they will include any long and short-term problems that they encountered. Essentially, we are trying to set the stage for understanding the past in order to overcome any obstacles that might prevent us from meeting our vision.
  3. Look into the future–what is our dream or vision for the department or organization?
    This requires making correct assumptions about what the organization will be like, and about our potential for making unique contributions over the next 2-3 years. Broad-based involvement in discussing these issues is essential to the Strategy-Development process because success depends on the understanding and commitment of all the people involved in making the vision a reality.
  4. Develop Vision, Mission and Key Strategies
    Develop your organization or department’s Vision, Mission and key strategies and consider including strategies for the next 2 years.
  5. Conduct a risk assessment analysis to identify what may prevent you from reaching the future you envision.
    This analysis will include an identification of the risks together with contingencies to overcome them.
  6. Create the operational effectiveness objectives.
    This is the time to be very specific about your goals, prioritizing them, and quantifying the revenues and assumptions and costs associated.
  7. Develop the action plan and measurements.
    This Implementation Plan will include: who will do it, what they will do, when they will do it, what resources they will require. Unless the objectives identified in Operational Effectiveness are translated into Action Plans, it is unlikely they will ever be reached.
  8. Document the action plan.
    Remember to define how you will measure success. Gathering performance data will show you where you have or have not been able to achieve an objective.

Michael Stanleigh

Michael Stanleigh, CMC, CSP, CSM is the CEO of Business Improvement Architects. He works with leaders and their teams around the world to improve organizational performance by helping them to define their strategic direction, increase leadership performance, create cultures that drive innovation and improve project and quality management. Michael’s experience spans public and private sector organizations in over 20 different countries. He also delivers presentations to businesses and conferences throughout the world. In addition to his consulting practice and global speaking he has been featured and published in over 500 different magazines and industry publications.

For more information about this article you may contact Michael Stanleigh at