Four Stages of Strategic Planning

Strategic planning can be an intimidating process for many organizational leaders. The reasons for this vary, but oftentimes it is due to a lack of clear understanding about what is involved in the strategic planning process.

In this post I will briefly identify the four phases of strategic planning, which should help you better understand the process and navigate it more effectively. Part of the intimidation with strategic planning is due to feeling overwhelmed with the whole process; therefore, I believe that breaking it down into stages makes it more manageable and understandable.

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Here are the Four Stages:

1) Formation: Developing the plan. This will require the most effort and coordination, as you will need to bring together a group of people with varying perspectives and ideas to develop and write the plan. Transparency, objectivity, open-mindedness, and unity are essential.

2) Communication: Sharing the plan. After the plan has been developed, it must be communicated clearly, convincingly, and consistently. This is the primary responsibility of the leader, but there must also be a coalition of people within the organization who can communicate the essentials of the plan with others.

3) Implementation: Doing the plan. This stage will require a high level of commitment and action on the part of everyone. Intentional leadership at all levels of the organization is the key to successful implementation.

4) Evaluation: Assessing the plan. You need to establish clear metrics for each of your goals in order to provide an objective measure of your progress. It is recommended that your plan be evaluated at regular six-month intervals and adjusted as needed.

Understanding each of these four stages is essential to creating and implementing an effective strategic plan. Instead of trying to think through and do everything at once, focus on delivering excellence, one stage at a time. Doing so will ensure that you do not cut any corners or settle for mediocrity.

In subsequent posts I will outline and breakdown the key steps that must be undertaken at each stage.

Four stages of strategic planning video:

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