Managing on Purpose
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Planning is an unnatural process; it is much more fun to do something. The nicest thing about not planning is that failure comes as a complete surprise, rather than being preceded by a period of worry and depression.

Sir John Harvey-Jones

Why Do Strategic Planning?

To See Where You Are

Some people, in some organizations, don’t really want to know where they are. There is some bliss in ignorance. These people will do tomorrow what they did today and hope for the best. They think they know who their competitors are, but they may not. They think they have costs well contained, but they may not. They think their key customers are happy, but those customers may not be happy. These people think their products are priced correctly, but they may not be. Strategic plans help organizations learn where they are.

To Clean the House

Every enterprise, every group, every company, every person, sweeps some things under the rug. When this happens those things don’t go away, they get bigger. The strategic planning process forces people to pull up the rug and deal with what’s under there.

To Manage Growth

Often an enterprise achieves success because of the technical or sales skills of a few key people. The business grows. In time a tipping point is reached, from which old ways of doing things work less well. Through its internal analysis, strategic planning identifies resources, allocates responsibilities, improves communication, eliminates disconnects between departments, and strengthens business processes.

To Align the Organization

Everything in an organization should be pointed in a common direction. People in the organization can’t have separate agendas. There is one agenda: the company’s success. Strategic planning helps people move beyond personal, philosophic, and tactical differences and align behind a single vision and mission.

To Get Better

For a company to achieve its potential, its people must be expert performers. They must know what they’re supposed to do and how they’re supposed to do it. Strategic planning helps a company discover gaps between the knowledge, skills and attitudes (KSA’s) its people have, and the KSA’s its people need.

To Create The Future

When the Steelers play the Eagles on a given Sunday, they don’t just hope for the best. Through careful planning they try to create the best possible outcome. Without strategic plans, businesses hope for the best. Sometimes that’s enough. Sometimes it’s not.

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