Steps In The Strategic Planning Process:
Traditional vs. Dynamic Strategic Planning
"Traditional strategic planning" is a term for various forms of strategic
planning from the second half of the 20th Century. However, even before then and
certainly afterwards, we might say that there has been "common-sense strategic
planning." The steps in the common-sense strategic planning process were simply:
- Where are we now?
- Where do we want to go?
- How do we get there?
Although this 3-step approach seems perfectly logical, easy to understand and
remember, it can be misleading. And that is because many strategic planners
decided that, before any planning is done, we should gather lots of facts on
where we are now. In a large-scale strategic planning effort, this can leads to
tens of thousands of dollars being spent on gathering data - demographics,
economic trends, industry trends, sales and profits, etc. etc. - often by
outside experts who were only too glad to get paid big bucks to do this. The
typical result when all this is presented to the lay people (non-professional
planners) in the planning process is EGO (eyes glaze over). Behind the glazed
eyes are often confused minds that begin to wonder what's for dinner or when the
next break is.
In more recent years, a number of more creative strategic planning experts,
including lifestyle gurus like "7 Habits" author Stephen Covey, have advocated
that we "begin with the end in mind," or start with the purposes we are trying
to achieve. This gets people excited and involved far more effectively, and
avoids wasting thousands of dollars on data-gathering that no one is going to
read anyway. But before we discuss the new Dynamic Strategic Planning further,
let's take a closer look at:
Steps in the Traditional Strategic Planning Process
- Get ready - strategic planning takes a lot of time and energy, any
way you cut it. The top 2 or more executives must be actively involved, and
there are always many demands on their time. Inevitably some costs will be
involved - they need to be assessed up front. Decide who needs to be involved
- Develop a vision and mission - Vision and mission often get switched around,
but we believe the best approach is to consider the vision as "what we want to
be like in the future" and the mission as "what we must do to accomplish the
- Environmental scan - Analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the
internal organization environment, and the opportunities and threats of the
external marketplace environment. Gather relevant economic, demographic,
political, technological, geographic, legal and trend data. Analyze the data
and present it to the group.
- Gap analysis - Identify the gaps between the vision-mission
statements (what we hope to achieve) and the environmental scan (current
- Strategic planning - Develop strategies to close the gaps. This
includes specific goals with measurement, timing, and budget; strategies to
reach each goal; and who's going to be responsible for each goal and strategy.
Sometimes strategies and goals are further subdivided into objectives
(specific accomplishments planned for the next 12 months) and tactics
(specific plans to accomplish the objectives).
- Implementation - The strategic plan is implemented as planned, as
closely as possible. Objective forms of measurement track progress and
help people stay on course. Progress is periodically reviewed.
- Updating - Typically strategic plans are created through a major
effort every five years, and updated with a review process every 12 months or
Steps in the Dynamic Strategic Planning Process
Dynamic Strategic Planning
(DSP) differs from traditional strategic planning (TSP) in several important
ways. We don't want to give away all the details of our book, which we
encourage you to purchase as an ebook, paperback, or Kindle book. But here are the main steps in DSP:
- Involve people in such a way that their natural concerns and
energies are tapped.
- Identify the purposes, what you are trying to accomplish, then
develop visions in rough draft form.
- Determine the critical issues which must be managed effectively to
achieve the vision.
- Involve as many people as possible in reviewing these early planning
statements or drafts.
- Form teams of people to manage the critical issues.
- Coordinate the teams with a variety of methods (see the e-book for
- Celebrate accomplishments and reward achievements.
Actually Dynamic Strategic Planning involves 12 key steps, as the book
explains. Each one of them is vital to ensure the maximum gain and success of
the planning-implementation process. As you can see, Dynamic Strategic Planning
places more emphasis on the people dimension of planning, because their
commitment is key to successful implementation, whereas traditional strategic
planning places more emphasis on the mechanics of the process. To learn
more about the book and how you can obtain a copy quickly,
| Home | Chambers | Book | Steps | Corporate | Church | Author | Strategic Marketing Plan | Links |