What is Strategic Planning? | Aileron

Running an online search for “strategic planning resources” will yield countless ideas for your business. But how do you know which of those results will deliver for you? What strategic planning tools best serve your needs?

The answers to those questions depend on your specific situation. The “best” solution is the one that helps you create intentional, strategic movement forward toward your vision.

How to create a strategic plan

We believe strategic planning – the time you spend defining where you want the business to go and how you’ll choose to get there – is more about thinking strategically and less about creating a plan that looks like everyone else’s.

Strategic planning work looks at the big vision pieces of your business, but also helps clarify improvements for your current business model and the work you’re already doing.

We start with the end in mind: What specifically matters for your business? What do you want to be different a year from now? What are the pain points?

Then, as part of the strategic planning process at Aileron, we work with you to find what’s going to wobble or be unsteady as you start to grow toward that end goal. Together, we identify tangible actions to help you grow with confidence.

Framework for strategic planning

Given our customized, intentional approach to growing a business, you won’t find a list of strategic planning steps here. But we have learned some of the best practices to maximize any strategic planning process:

Start consciously

When you raise your level of consciousness about yourself, you make better decisions, have greater perspective, and improve your ability to problem solve – and all of those abilities make your strategic planning even more effective. Conscious leaders understand how to lead with vulnerability and grace, which empowers the rest of their teams to share ideas and embrace the work needed to move forward.

Identify short-term wins

Consider the long-term innovative parts of your business, but also the current conditions you face. What could be different? Is there an element you could tweak today that positions you to grow well later? Don’t overlook the power of a seemingly small win to help produce a big impact.

Examine intensive work and processes

What work is your team (or you) doing daily? Are there tasks that could be streamlined or automated to devote more time to other outcomes? Will those tasks change? Knowing what tasks require a lot of thinking power or hands-on time can help identify opportunities and challenges.

Revisit plans on your own schedule

Just like there is no single strategic planning framework, there is no ideal strategic planning schedule. Dedicated time to think, plan, or adjust the way forward needs to happen when your business is facing a change. Timing is completely situational based on what you, your team, and your business needs.

Be intentional

The one guaranteed aspect of strategic planning is that it won’t happen in a vacuum. You’ll still be faced with the daily challenges and work of your business, even when you’re trying to set aside time to think about the bigger picture. But being intentional about what you want to focus on and taking the dedicated time to work on your business – not just in it – sets you up to succeed no matter what your “plan” looks like.

What challenges have you found during your strategic planning process? Let us know in the comments below.

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