There is a difference between strategic planning and business planning. Business planning is developing the plan of action to accomplish specific goals over time. Strategic planning is understanding how the environment will change and how to best capitalize on it. It is based on Core Principles of Purpose and Values.
Procter and Gamble has made a number of changes in their strategic planning process and as a result has developed global brands of more than a billion dollars each. They have harnessed resources and focused efforts. It hasn’t been easy and they have had a number of personnel and process changes.
Here are some of the learnings that they have had so that you can be successful in your efforts.
1. Not taking the time, energy or resources to secure the right factual information. Too often companies rely on bad or no information. Factual decisions are critical.
2. Being resistant to change and ignoring what your planning process reveals. Don’t toss out the good strategic planning work just because it doesn’t fit preconceived notions.
3. Being unrealistic about your ability to plan. This should be led by someone with the expertise to guide the team to make sound strategic choices. It also will take time and follow up effort. Create the time and give it the attention it requires. The payoffs in doing so are significant.
4. Not making sure that all major conflicts are clearly understood before you start to plan. Don’t just ignore them and hope that they can be settled later.
5. Copying and pasting from old plans. Strategic plans are “live” documents and are meant to take into account the changes in both the internal and external environment. The old plan is just that – the old plan.
Every Senior Executive and most Directors and Managers agree that having an effective strategic plan is critical to business success. We had that drilled into us at Procter & Gamble and the first basis for any recommendation was always the strategic fit. We recommend that you adopt that philosophy in your company, too.
· Get the right process and leader.
· Get the right team.
· Get the required factual information.
· Get the quality time set aside for the work.
Let us know how we might help. We have a simple process developed and used by a number of top Fortune 500 companies, including Procter & Gamble. And we have used that process effectively with many companies across a broad range of industries.
Founder and Managing Director of Moon & Stars Consulting
President Maver Management Group