Having both led strategic planning process and coached the process, there are three things that are essential to have plans that translate into improved results, particularly in professional service companies:
1) Be clear on the organizational goals. Sounds simple, but most companies don't do this. A strategy is designed to achieve a goal. If the goal is not clear, in war or in business, the likelihood of success is low.
2) Broad participation and data gathering, including staff input, management input, financial analysis and customer input. The broad participation increases the quality of the resulting strategy as well as the subsequent buy in, which drives improved results
3) Have a planning process that pays for itself. By using a customer interview script that provides customer input and increases repeat and referral business, it’s easy to devote the required time to planning.
I can provide details, timelines, sample surveys, customer interview script, etc. I hope this helps.
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