6 Strategic Planning Models & Frameworks To Set Yourself Up For Success

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Strategic planning is essential for any business or organization that aims to achieve its goals and objectives. It involves analyzing the organization’s current state, defining its vision and mission, setting objectives and goals, and developing strategies to achieve them. The models and frameworks in strategic planning provide a structured approach to strategic planning, helping organizations to identify their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to develop effective strategies to achieve their goals.

There are several strategic planning models and frameworks that organizations can use to set themselves up for success. Dr. Lizette Warner, TedX speaker, scientist, and author of Power, Poise, and Presence: A New Approach to Authentic Leadership, shares her favorite strategic planning models and frameworks that set teams up for success.

Why use strategic planning?

“A strategic planning framework is the lynchpin of how companies accomplish their long-term goals,” says Dr. Warner. “While project planning is the downstream result of your strategic planning framework and strategic mapping is the precursor to your strategic planning framework, your strategic planning model is sandwiched between your strategic mappings, such as your vision, mission, and stated goals, and your project planning, how you scope and manage individual projects.”

Without a strategic planning model, Dr. Warner says, the plan, scope, and definition of their projects will suffer – especially for larger companies that have more employees and care less about stakeholder buy-in.

“The problem most larger companies face is being disconnected from the ground-level teams,” Dr. Warner says. “Strategic plans made in the boardrooms face ridicule from the people in the field or on the ground level because, with large organizations, the executives are less aware of the distinct capabilities and advantages their teams have over them.”

“For strategic planning to work well, plans should take into consideration your strategic issues that need to be addressed, market data, customer insights, employee input, and your distinct advantages and disadvantages.”

Types of strategic planning models

Teams tend to use a few popular strategic planning models as they’re working towards goals. Here are a few.

1. SWOT analysis

SWOT analysis is one of the most popular strategic planning models organizations use worldwide. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. The model involves analyzing the internal and external factors that affect the organization and identifying its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. The strengths and weaknesses are internal factors, while opportunities and threats are external factors. Teams can then identify their competitive advantages, areas that need improvement, potential opportunities, and threats that may impede their success.

2. PESTLE analysis

PESTLE analysis is another popular strategic planning model companies use to assess the external factors that impact their operations. PESTLE stands for Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal, and Environmental factors. These factors assist teams in identifying trends, anticipating changes, and developing strategies that can respond to the external environment effectively.

“My favorite strategic planning framework is the SWOT or PESTLE analysis because it boils down and uncovers distinct advantages and disadvantages,” Dr. Warner says. “Either of these can be good check-in tools to identify conditions that have emerged or changed from initial conditions.”

“Additionally, SWOT analysis can be particularly good because you can make it more personal or even pivot it to encompass DEI factors. So, for example, you could use the SWOT analysis with a diversity, equity, inclusion lens – what are our diversity strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats?”

3. Balanced scorecard

The balanced scorecard is a strategic planning framework that helps organizations to align their objectives and goals with their vision and mission. The framework involves developing a set of key performance indicators (KPIs) that are linked to the organization’s strategic objectives and goals.

The balanced scorecard is beneficial because it provides a comprehensive view of the organization’s performance, allowing management to monitor progress toward achieving its goals. By measuring performance against established KPIs, organizations can identify areas that need improvement and adjust their strategies to achieve their business goals.

4. Scenario planning

Scenario planning is a strategic planning model that helps organizations to anticipate and prepare for multiple possible futures. The model involves creating several scenarios based on different assumptions and analyzing the potential impact of each scenario on the organization’s operations. Then, teams check in consistently to reorganize their scenario plans.

Scenario planning develops strategies that can respond to multiple possible futures rather than relying on a single forecast. By anticipating multiple scenarios, teams can be better prepared to navigate unexpected events, mitigate risks, avoid mistakes and take advantage of opportunities.

“My favorite method is this periodic check-in to uncover changes that have arisen, market conditions which have swayed, customer feedback that has emerged, or anything signaling changes to the strategic planning framework has occurred,” Dr. Warner says. “Not enough organizations check-in on the strategic planning in favor of checking in on the project planning, but strategic planning also needs to be revisited instead of being a once a year or once a decade exercise.”

5. Blue Ocean strategy

The Blue Ocean strategy is a strategic planning framework that helps organizations to create uncontested market space by making the competition irrelevant. The framework involves identifying the factors the industry traditionally competes for and developing strategies that create new market space by offering customers something new and different.

The Blue Ocean strategy allows companies to differentiate themselves from their competitors, creating new and previously untapped markets. Organizations can increase their overall revenue and profits by creating new markets while reducing their competition with this framework.

6. Five Forces Analysis

Five Forces Analysis, developed by American academic and author Michael Porter, is a strategic planning model that helps organizations assess the competitive forces within their industry. The model examines five key forces:

  • Threat of new entrants — Determines the ease or difficulty for new competitors to enter the market.
  • Bargaining power of suppliers — Assesses the influence suppliers have on pricing and terms.
  • Bargaining power of buyers — Examines customers’ influence on pricing and demand.
  • Threat of substitute products or services — Evaluates the potential impact of alternative offerings on the market.
  • Intensity of competitive rivalry — Analyzes the competition level among existing industry players.

By understanding these forces, organizations can identify potential threats and opportunities, adjust their competitive strategies, and make informed decisions about entering or staying in a particular market.

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