Back to Blog
Blog Post by Deb Dietz
Strategic Planning Checklist - The First Step: Analysis
This is the time of year when companies are working feverishly to complete their 2016 strategic plans and operating budgets.
In case you’re among those that need to jump start the process, or get ‘unstuck’, following these steps can get you where you need to go. Analysis is the critical first step in the planning process. Invest your time here before jumping into the following steps which include Plan Formulation, Action Planning, Execution, and Continuous Improvement. Those checklist steps will follow in subsequent blog posts.
In the Analysis step, your objectives are to gather, analyze, and summarize information. You focus on information relating to the organization’s value proposition, internal factors and external forces likely to impact your short and long-term success. Important questions to ask include:
Here is a checklist of possible information / data sets you should consider gathering and analyzing. The data sets will depend on your industry, your profession, or the area in which your organization specializes:
The type of information to collect for your strategic planning sessions depends on the information your team needs to draw conclusions and to make decisions. Invest the appropriate amount of time to decide on, gather and analyze these data sets. You may find that you need to gather additional information; that the above list is not sufficient. If so, consider engaging all levels of employees, via an employee survey. This effort does two things:
For those of you who are already well on the way to developing your 2016 plan and operating budget, I encourage you to take a step back and pause, reflecting on the checklist above. If you find that you have not fully reviewed the internal factors and external forces facing your organization, stop and do it now, before you move forward into the Plan Formulation process. Your diligence in the planning effort will position you well in attaining your vision and accomplishing your mission.