Strategic Planning Part I: Defining Strategic Vision and Setting Strategic Goals
By Jibility Co-Founder Chuen Seet
Before creating a strategic roadmap, it’s necessary for business leaders and strategy consultants to conduct strategic planning. Strategic planning is the process by which an organization defines its direction and organizes strategic goals, resources, and objectives to get the company moving towards the fulfillment of its strategic vision.
However, before deciding what the business needs to accomplish, how the business will go about accomplishing those things, or when the strategic plan will be implemented, business leaders have to answer a very important question: Why? Why is this strategic plan being implemented? Why is this important to the business?
By defining their strategic vision and setting strategic goals, business leaders and strategy consultants are able to show why the company is implementing a strategic plan. Knowing the why gives weight to strategic initiatives and helps mobilize the entire organization towards the realization of those goals.
What is a Strategic Vision?
A strategic vision, or strategic vision statement, is a brief document that defines where the organization aspires to be and what it wants to accomplish in the mid- to long-term future. Strategic visions are forward looking statements that outline the direction a company is heading.
As opposed to mission statements, which are often all-encompassing, lofty, and a little vague, a strategic vision statement is specific, tangible, and grounded in reality. While a mission statement might represent an ideal that a company strives for throughout its lifetime, a strategic vision provides a realizable state or measurable outcome for the company to achieve over a predefined period of time. This time period might range from 3 to 6 months for smaller initiatives to 3 to 10 years for more ambitious, long-term initiatives.
Criteria for Successful Strategic Vision Statement
In order to be successful, your strategic vision should inspire buy-in from every level of your organization. It should align every department within your organization or member of your team in working towards the desired outcome. In order to do so, a strategic vision statement should be:
- Future Focused: A strategic vision statement should describe a future state that members of your organization can strive towards.
- Clear and Specific: A strategic vision statement should supply a specific direction, so that every member of your organization has a clear idea of what success looks like.
- Collaborative: In order to unite the different departments of your business, it’s important to conduct strategic planning sessions to seek feedback and agreement from key stakeholders throughout your organization so that their goals and interests are represented.
- Realistically Attainable: While it’s important to be ambitious enough to inspire your organization, people are more motivated to work towards goals that are realistically achievable.
- Measurable: A strategic vision should be specific, tangible, and attainable, with measurements in place to define success.
- Relevant: A strategic vision should be relevant to your company’s mission and feel important to members of your organization.
- Memorable: While strategic planning might require a lengthier internal document that outlines your strategic vision and analyzes the current state of your company, externally your strategic vision statement should be short, pithy, easy to communicate, and easy to remember.
Setting Strategic Goals
When it comes to strategic planning, creating your strategic vision is just the first step. Next, it’s important to break your strategic vision out into a list of strategic goals that outline the desired outcomes that need to be achieved in order to actualize that vision.
For instance, if your strategic vision was, To be the most recognizable and profitable furniture retail chain in the southeast, there would be a series of strategic goals that would need to be achieved along the path of realizing that vision.
Examples of Strategic Goals for a Strategic Vision
In the early stages of strategic planning, you should focus on setting broad, big-picture goals. Right now, you probably lack the necessary information and structure to determine how you will accomplish these goals and on what timeline. So for the hypothetical example above, a list of strategic goals might look like the following:
- Increase retail sales and market penetration.
- Reduce supply chain costs.
- Formalize 3 new partnerships with up-and-coming furniture manufacturers.
- Grow following on social media platforms.
Notice how each of these strategic goals contributes towards the overall realization of the strategic vision. Achieving each of these goals would have a measurable impact on improving brand recognition as well as profitability. Later in the strategic planning process, you’ll be able to translate these strategic goals into objectives, by making them SMART: Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant, and Timebound. But for now, it’s important not to get too hung up on specifics.
Later on, you’ll be able to use strategic roadmapping tools in order to assess capabilities, conduct cost-benefit analysis, prioritize objectives, and organize objectives a time horizon to create a roadmap.
Stay Tuned to Learn More About More About Strategic Planning
Now that you have a strategic vision statement and a list of strategic goals, you’re equipped to answer why it’s important for your organization to implement a strategy plan. However, defining a strategic vision and setting strategic goals are just the first two steps in a nine-step process leading up to building a business roadmap. Over the coming weeks, we’ll be exploring each of the following strategic planning stages more in-depth:
- Strategic Planning Part II: Outlining Strategic Objectives and Measurements
- Strategic Planning Part III: Understanding Business Challenges and Business Objectives
- Strategic Planning Part IV: Linking Business Actions to Capabilities
- Strategic Planning Part V: Organizing Business Initiatives and Building a Roadmap
Free Tool for Strategic Prioritization
Jibility gives you a fast and consistent means of exposing the traceability of each initiative back to the strategic objectives. This means pet projects that sound great but don’t truly align can be identified and discarded early.
Jibility is a dynamic tool, whereby it’s easy to apply changes and see the impact on budget instantly — either within the initial workshop, or when a strategic pivot needs to happen out of the blue.