The importance of strategic planning
Strategy aims to describe what it takes to get an organisation from where it is to where it wants to be. Every business organisation in every sector – including the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry – needs to undertake some level of strategic planning to progress.
A strategic plan is a systematic process that forms the scope and direction of an organisation over a long period. It also helps build agreement and commitments among its key stakeholders.
A strategic plan should:
- Produce decisions and actions that shape the organisation
- Examine and reflect an organisation’s values, status, internal and external environment, and vision
- Define how resources will be used for the given timelines
The strategic plan
A good strategic plan guides an organisation with its decision making. It reduces uncertainty about the organisation’s future by allowing organisations to be more proactive, enabling them to utilise opportunities and take action to reduce any effects from potential threats. It can also be used as a shared agreement with other parties on how to handle future planning about change.
A strategic plan aims to:
- Facilitate an organisation to achieve specific goals and objectives
- Help an organisation to capitalise on its strengths while minimising its weaknesses, take advantage of opportunities and defend against threats
- Stimulate future-oriented thinking based on a shared sense of mission
- Increase efficiency by accommodating collaboration between members of an organisation to work towards a common goal
- Allow the organisation to think about choices imposed by limited finance
- Evaluate its achievability of specific goals
Developing a strategy
To write a strategic plan that allows its business to grow, an organisation needs to ask itself the following questions:
Where are we now? To know what you need to do to move the business forward, you need to know the position you are starting from. This step requires an organisation to do some strategic and market analysis, assessing the sector the organisation works within and its direct competitors.
Where do we want to get to? This step requires an organisation to formulate its strategic direction. This builds on any strategic and marketing analysis they have performed and might include mapping and analysing trends that could have an impact on the organisation’s performance.
How will we get there? This is about making choices. For instance, which parts of the business to invest in, what might not be worth pursuing any longer? It also means taking a look at current obstacles and thinking about what obstacles might get in the way further down the line. How will the organisation deal with these?
How will we know we have arrived where we want to be? This stage is about evaluation. What are the organisation’s goals and what would achieving these goals look like?
Reflect on the strategy of the organisation you currently work for or an organisation you are familiar with. How does their strategy demonstrate:
- Where the organisation is at the moment?
- Where the organisation wants to get to?
- How the organisation plans to get there?
- How the organisation will know that it has achieved its objectives?
How has the organisation dealt with any obstacles on the way to achieving its strategic objectives?
Share your findings with other learners and comment on at least one other post.
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