Strategic Planning in a Capricious World: Part 2 – Assessment

Posted on: January 29, 2024

As we discussed in Part 1,  it’s a normal reaction to question the benefit of planning when the world is so seemingly chaotic. However, we also concluded that planning is still the smart thing to do. Despite unforeseen events, having a plan is quite necessary. It keeps you working towards your goals, even if you might need to choose a different path to get there.

Before we start setting those goals though, it’s time to reflect and assess where your business is today. Where did you start? What’s happened in the past few years? What progress did you make on last year’s objectives?

The tried-and-true SWOT analysis is also a good tactic to start thinking about the relationship between the present and the future. Where are your Strengths? Weaknesses? Opportunities and Threats?

This step, and strategic planning as a whole, is not meant to be a solitary activity. Get your management team involved. Get some line staff involved. Perspective is important, and everyone has a different view. Hear them all and look for the commonalities.

You’ll also want to look at all the data you can get your hands on; what you’ve collected yourself, your website analytics, industry info, and forecasts. Consider:

  • Any changes in customer demographics
  • Social trends
  • World events
  • New technology
  • Supply chain issues
  • Staffing challenges
  • Politics re: policy and legislation
  • Sustainability

Research at this point is going to be very helpful because the next step is a big one.

Remember what we said about clarity? Well, this is the time to make everything about your business and your company very, very, clear. Review your mission, vision, and purpose. Do those words still reflect who you are and who you want to be? Does everyone interpret those words in the same way? How are those impactful statements reflected in your policies, work descriptions, management structure, and operations?

This last part of your assessment may be the most difficult. You need to be prepared to hear things you don’t want to hear, and to take action you never thought you’d have to take – examining your organizational culture. Every workplace has its secrets, and they can be your undoing. It’s often best to have a neutral third party come in to make inquiries and present their findings anonymously. Employees who have concerns may also be afraid to share them for fear of reprisal. Don’t shy away from any rumors you’ve heard or exit interviews that seem too awful to be true. Check them out and do what it takes to provide a healthy and productive work environment. 

Now that you have your assessment, the input of others, and the benefit of research, it’s time to set your goals. Stay tuned!

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