The CEO of a retail company with over 200 employees approached the North Star Facilitators to undertake a strategic planning workshop in which he wanted to comprise the five members of the senior management team.
Our first problem to him was 'Why a strategic plan now'? He gave us some reasons.
• The company had undergone a substantial rise in sales.
• They had recently hired some new senior managers.
• The company had acquired an existing business and the two business cultures were quite distinct from one other.
• They had plans to grow substantially in the next 5-years.
Due to all such factors, the CEO thought a strategic plan would help them get focused on goals and “get everyone on the same page”. He as well mentioned in passing that the company, despite being in business for many decades, had never done a strategic plan. They had business plans and financial plans however not a strategic plan.
Why a Strategic Plan?
Most of the executives are familiar with business planning. A business plan is usually written each year and includes things like a marketing plan, cash flow projections, a mission statement and target markets you are pursuing. They are all about getting the business going and keeping it going. Often they are required by the loaning agencies to get seed capital.
Strategic plans are higher level plans which are completed every three to five years. They include future visioning, identifying key external and internal challenges, setting priority directions for the next 2-3 years and developing one year implementation plans. Strategic plans accommodate or initiate big changes in your organization. They are as well much useful for start-up situations in that they help focus the founding members on a shared picture of the future and how they agree they will get there. They compliment business plans however neither is a substitute for the other.
This company was a good candidate for strategic planning since of their recent substantial changes, the new team members and the desire to initiate radical new growth. We asked if other staff members might fruitfully contribute to the sessions. Altogether, we determined that staff members responsible for IT must as well join the sessions, as technology development was a critical element to their future growth. We arranged initially for a day and a half to do the foundational pieces of strategic planning (that is, vision, blocks to vision and strategic directions). The group decided after such sessions that they would benefit from having North Star also assist them with implementation planning in the other half-day session to develop detailed one year accomplishments and action plans for each strategic direction.
The Strategic Planning Sessions:
We start with a review of the company’s past in relationship to their industry. We then had them think about where they wanted to be in the next five years that is, “the future.” Once the group had agreed on 5-7 key future outcomes, they had a thoughtful and honest conversation about what was going to get in their way in achieving any part of this vision.
The next step was to define actions which would help them move towards every aspect of their vision while simultaneously dealing with their obstacles. Once the group had defined such actions, they were able to organize them into 2 to 4 broad strategic directions that would show every leader in the company where they required to put their energy and focus. Participants were then able to analyze the company’s ability to move forward on any of such strategic directions defining success indicators and one year accomplishments for each main strategic direction.
As they had identified their desired outcomes, the actions required to accomplish them and overcome potential obstacles, they were able to quickly make action plans which laid out the who, what, when, and how much of every major project they were going to take on. Getting all this down on paper was really exciting and motivating to the group and they looked forward to their next meeting to assess their progress.
Maintaining the Strategic Plan:
A good strategic plan is a powerful motivator for change and regular progress updates are crucial to maintain that momentum. The next steps then are to regularly check in on progress and changing circumstances with the support of an outside neutral facilitator. This ensured that group members didn't become complacent, it made them accountable to each other, and enabled them to quickly change directions when external circumstances changed.
In addition, North Star was hired to help the sales teams understand, affirm and add their own thinking to the corporate plan. The sales teams created strategic plans for each of their outlet stores which complement the overall corporate plan and make sure everyone has ownership and motivation for building the company from “good to great”.
Usually, North Star continues to help organizations stay on track by coming back for a half day every six months or year to review progress and help them untangle any snags in the process as they move along.
Source : http://www.northstarfacilitators.com/projectsclients/case-study-strategic-planning/
Choose a real life company. This could be an organization from any industry. No two students must choose the same company. This could be the organization you are working in or a past organization or an organization where you have access to managers, as the task needs interaction with a real-life company.
Suppose you are a Senior Manager in the organization have completed 3 years tenure in the company. You are a participant in the Strategic Planning workshop and are being interviewed by North Star Facilitators. At the start of your assignment, do share the organization’s primary line of business, number of employees, business turnover, area of operation and the environment (geographical/political/economic and so on) in which the organization operates.
a) Describe the significance of external factors affecting the organization.
b) Analyze the requirements and expectation of stakeholders of the organization.
c) Analyze the main changes taking place in the external environment that will affect the strategy of the company.
The Senior Management Team has formulated the strategic plan after the strategic planning workshop. This is now one year since the Strategic Planning workshop and the selected company has successfully grown showing a good profitable trend (third in the country) and is nowadays the second largest in the country.
d) Analyze the current Business Plan using appropriate tools. Review the position of the organization in the current market. (That is, evaluate the competitive strengths and weaknesses of the organizations current business strategies and review the position of the organization in the current competitive market)
The company is now aggressively working towards being the biggest retail chain in the country and as well being first in profitability. At the same time the company is exploring making an entry in the overseas market. The company wishes to begin small by making in-roads in a neighbouring country.
a) Use modelling tools to develop strategy options for the organization.
b) Develop a comparative understanding of strengths and weaknesses of the organization with other organizations in the market.
c) Make options to form the basis of the future organisation strategy.
d) Propose an appropriate structure for a strategy plan which ensures suitable participation from all stakeholders of an organization.
e) Develop criteria for the reviewing potential options for a strategy plan.
f) Construct an agreed strategy plan which coprises resource implications.
g) Compare core organizational values (ethical, cultural, environmental, social and business) with the current business objectives of an organization.
h) Develop suitable vision and mission statements for an organization.
i) The case study describes the factors which impact a Strategic Plan and will form the basis of your evaluation of a real life organization. This requires discussion with a Manager in the real life organization you have selected. Subsequent to your discussions, produce agreed future objectives for an organization. This stage needs sharing of the name and designation of the manager with whom you have had an interaction from the real life organization
j) Develop measures for evaluating the strategic plan.
k) Develop a schedule for implementing a strategy plan in an organization.
l) Make suitable dissemination process to gain commitment from stakeholders in an organization.
m) Design monitoring and evaluation systems for the implementation of a strategy plan in an organisation.