The basics of strategic and operational planning

- July 2019

By Parbery Consulting

If your business doesn’t already examine their strategies and operational planning, now might be a good time to start. Evaluating these internal processes can establish a source of truth in an otherwise noisy work environment, and can significantly improve your business’ achievability, creativity, flexibility and alignment.

If you’re not sure where to begin when tightening up your strategic and operational alignment, start by drafting up a spreadsheet via framework principles, objectives and deliverables, then conduct a gap analysis. From there you will be able to see where your attention needs to go next!

For example, if a key principle of your organisation is effective communications, which aligns to the objective: employee engagement, and the business hasn’t yet provided internal activities and artefacts to engage relevant stakeholders and gather feedback, then perhaps there’s a valuable opportunity here.

Another way to get the ball rolling on this is to download a free mind-map app for lateral brainstorming. There are plenty of apps out there designed to help you explore and identify ideas. The best part about this approach is that it can be applied to just about all elements of your business, whether it be business development, marketing, events, or even in-flight project assessment.

Without well-planned, executed and evaluated activities, there is little to prevent a business from bleeding cash and missing valuable opportunities. This is where the importance of strategy comes in. If you don’t currently have a strategy – get busy creating one. It’s the best way to consistently get the full potential out of your business’ number 1 resource: it’s staff.

Once you’ve defined the appropriate strategy for aligning your business activities and objectives, don’t stop there. It’s now time to implement these activities and triangulate your strategic efforts by engaging customers/ businesses to understand how you performed. This is where you are able to improve and refine your strategies for future functions.

Finally, strategic and operational planning aims to focus staff efforts and evaluate performance for adaptation and business growth. Better-performing businesses produce better-paid employees and improved opportunities for professional development. There are also several external benefits to streamlining your business’ processes, such as increased value output, growth of national GDP, and investment into innovation.

But the fact remains: if you don’t know the who, what, how, where, when and why of your business when it comes to internal/external activities, you’re at an immediate disadvantage.

Why? Because your competition does, and they will be using that information to improve on a daily basis.