Strategic Planning in 10 Steps: From Strategic Vision to Roadmap
By Jibility Co-Founder Chuen Seet
Strategic planning is the process by which an organization defines its direction and organizes strategic goals, resources, and objectives to get the company moving in-sync towards the fulfillment of its strategic vision. The end result of strategic planning is a strategic roadmap – an easily shared visual document that prioritizes business initiatives across a time horizon according to capabilities, benefits, and costs.
The 10 Steps of Strategic Planning
Strategic planning is a process. While a strategic roadmap is an important conduit between planning and execution, generating an effective roadmap requires business leaders and consultants to analyze various facets of their business, making sure that they’re taking all necessary considerations into account.
At Jibility, we break strategic planning down into ten steps:
- Define strategic vision. First, company leaders define where the organization aspires to be and what it wants to accomplish in the mid- to long-term future.
- Set strategic goals. Next, the company sets broad, big-picture goals it will need to accomplish in order to realize its strategic vision.
- Outline strategic objectives. The company takes these goals and fleshes them out into more clearly defined, quantifiable objectives.
- Create strategic measurements. Then, the company decides on the KPIs (key performance indicators) and strategic measures it will use to monitor its progress towards accomplishing its objectives.
- Identify business challenges. Next, the company identifies potential problems (and opportunities for growth) it will face in implementing its strategic plan.
- Structure business objectives. The company then defines short-term, solution-focused outcomes it will need to realize in order to overcome these challenges.
- Assess business capabilities. During this phase of strategic planning, the company maps out the business capabilities that will be required to accomplish each business objective, deciding what changes in capabilities it will need to invest in in order to be successful.
- Determine business actions. Next, the company creates business actions to drive the necessary changes to its capabilities.
- Formulate business initiatives. The company groups these actions into logical packages of work for execution and then prioritizes them in order of importance based on cost, benefit, and ease of implementation.
- Generate a strategic roadmap. Finally, company leaders organize these initiatives on a time horizon in order to generate a strategic roadmap. At this point, strategic planning is complete, and the company is equipped to begin implementing its strategic plan!
Later in this article, we’ll be describing each of these phases in more depth, as well as linking to extremely detailed explanations and examples.
How Long Should Strategic Planning Take?
For most organizations, strategic planning will require multiple strategic planning sessions over the course of two to three months. However, this process may be significantly shorter for smaller organizations or for creating less ambitious strategic plans. Additionally, strategic planning software such as Jibility can help organizations streamline and expedite the strategic planning process with drag-and-drop interfaces, prebuilt content libraries, and tools for organization, prioritization, and collaboration.
For some organizations, it may be helpful to bring in outside consultants who have extensive experience in order to help expedite the strategic planning process. Strategic planning consultants can help businesses avoid potential pitfalls, increase bandwidth, and ensure the success of their strategic planning process.
Strategic Planning Overview: A Summary of Each Step
In this section, we’ll be providing a high-level overview of each stage of the strategic planning process – from defining your strategic vision to generating your business roadmap. For more in-depth information about each step, as well as examples, make sure to click the linked articles at the bottom of each section!
Step 1: Defining Your Strategic Vision
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?
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.
When writing your strategic vision, you should focus on creating a vision that is:
- Future focused
- Clear and specific
- Realistically attainable
Doing so will help generate buy-in and ensure that every department within your organization of your team is aligned in working towards the desired outcomes.
Step 2: Setting Strategic Goals
Next, create a list of strategic goals that outline the desired outcomes that need to be achieved in order to actualize your vision. Remember, you’re still in the very early stages of strategic planning, so it’s important not to get too caught up on specifics!
Strategic goals should be broad and big picture, focusing on what needs to be accomplished versus determining how and when these goals will be accomplished. Throughout the strategic planning process, you will gain more information and have the opportunity to make these goals more granular and specific, but for now it’s important to define the general direction your company should be moving in.
Step 3: Outlining Strategic Objectives
Next, it’s time to break down each strategic goal into specific, quantifiable objectives. A useful framework for translating strategic goals into strategic objectives is to make them SMART: Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant, and Timebound:
- Specific: A strategic objective should outline exactly what you want your organization to achieve.
- Measurable: Strategic objectives should be quantifiable with ways to measure success.
- Actionable: There should be specific actions that can be created to achieve a strategic objective.
- Relevant: Strategic objectives should be realistically attainable and make a meaningful impact on your overall success and the realization of your vision.
- Timebound: Strategic objectives should include realistic deadlines based on your best projections at this stage of the strategic planning process.
So, for example, if your strategic goal was to Increase retail sales and penetration, your corresponding strategic objective might be to Open new retail locations in Atlanta, Charlotte, and Nashville by Q3 2025. Notice how we took a broad strategic goal and translated it into a strategic objective that’s specific, measurable, actionable, relevant, and timebound.
Step 4: Creating Strategic Measurements
Since strategic objectives are quantifiable, it’s important to have strategic measurements in place so that you can effectively measure your progress. Creating KPIs, or key performance indicators, in advance helps to inform your strategic decisions, justify your budget, and make sure you’re on the right track as you begin implementing your strategic plan.
You should have multiple strategic measurements in place for each objective to ensure that you’re on track and are able to prove success.
Step 5: Identifying Business Challenges
Business challenges are the problems (and opportunities for growth!) you’ll face in implementing your strategic plan. Identifying these challenges helps you determine what specifically your business needs to accomplish in order to achieve its strategic vision, helping you avoid potential pitfalls.
Each strategic objective you defined earlier has its own series of corresponding business challenges you need to be prepared to overcome. Remember, the more specific and circumspect you are in defining your business challenges, the more equipped you’ll be to plan effective solutions!
At this stage of the strategic planning process, you have enough structure in place that you can begin using strategic roadmap tools like Jibility to organize, streamline, and automate large chunks of your strategic planning process.
Step 6: Structuring Business Objectives
Business objectives are a list of goal-based outcomes that a company creates in order to specifically address and overcome their business challenges. If business challenges define what problems you need to overcome in order to accomplish your strategic vision, business objectives define what business outcomes need to be accomplished to effectively resolve each problem.
You should create corresponding business objectives for each business challenge you identified earlier, following a Problem-Solution format:
Step 7: Assessing Business Capabilities
Does your business currently have the capabilities it needs to successfully accomplish its objectives?
Business capabilities are the tangible and intangible building blocks of your business that allow it to do what it does. Made up of people, processes, and physical aspects, your business capabilities define what your business has the ability to realistically accomplish.
List out all of the business capabilities that will be required to accomplish each objective, assessing the level of change that will be required in order to achieve success.
Step 8: Determining Business Actions
Chances are, as you assess your business capabilities, you will realize that you will need to make changes to your current capabilities in order to successfully deliver to each objective. Business actions are small, tangible steps that can be undertaken to drive changes to your capabilities (or create new capabilities that may be required).
Take the time to list the people, processes, and physical tools you will need to invest in order to ensure you have the full business capabilities you need to accomplish your objectives.
Step 9: Formulating Business Initiatives
Now, it’s time to group your business actions into logical packages of work for execution. These packages of work are known as business initiatives, which are ready to be assigned and carried out by a team or a department.
Once business initiatives have been created, it’s important to prioritize them according to ROI, Cost-Benefit, as well as whether or not they can be realistically achieved. Doing so will help you decide how to sequence them most efficiently, taking any dependencies into account.
Step 10: Generating a Strategic Roadmap
Finally, it’s time to sequence these business initiatives on a time-horizon to generate a visual document known as a strategic roadmap. Strategic roadmap software such as Jibility takes all of the work you’ve done during the previous stages of strategic planning to generate a roadmap.
Now, the strategic planning is complete, and your strategic plan is ready for implementation! Strategic roadmaps are a valuable bridge between planning and execution, mapping out all key outcomes that must be delivered, as well as all dependencies, to ensure that your organization is able to move in-sync towards the fulfillment of your strategic vision.
Jibility includes multiple export options to share your strategic roadmap to throughout your organization, including PDF, Image, Excel, or PowerPoint. Additionally, Jibility includes multiple views of your roadmap with different levels of granularity – for instance, your C-level business may require extremely comprehensive, detailed views, while team leaders may only need a high-level overview.
Free Tool for Strategic Planning
Undertaking the strategic planning can seem like a daunting prospect for many business organizations. However, it doesn’t have to be. Jibility includes a host of tools to help streamline the strategic planning process and help business leaders generate a strategic roadmap.
From laying out challenges to setting objectives, assessing capabilities, determining actions, and formulating initiatives, Jibility helps business leaders conduct their strategic planning with more efficiency, organization, and thoroughness at each stage.