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How Do I Improve My Strategic Planning Skills?

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  • Written By: D. Nelson
  • Edited By: M. C. Hughes
  • Last Modified Date: 07 November 2016
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People use strategic planning when they want to make sure that they are aware of all risks and opportunities before moving to the next step. If executives are designing a business plan, for instance, they might engage in strategic planning to determine which issues and opportunities are most important, in which areas they are most volatile, and how potentially negative occurrences might damage their initiative or their organization. For many high level managers and executives, strategic planning is an essential process that helps to ensure long term growth and sustainability. To improve your strategic planning skills, it might be a good idea to hire outside help. For many professionals, the answer is to contract third party consultants or analysts who can observe current planning procedures and make suggestions for change.

Another great tip for improving strategic planning skills is to consider who is involved in these processes and in what capacity. In most cases, it is not necessary to involve all managers or department leads in this kind of process. Instead, consider inviting only those top level professionals who are involved in big picture decision making. You might also want to assign some people to review committees to evaluate the success of strategic planning processes.

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Many professionals who improve their strategic planning skills find that it also is incredibly helpful to separate this process from other business planning. Instead of considering strategic planning while also making project plans, for example, it is a good idea to reserve a certain amount of time to discuss strategic matters with participating members. Make sure that strategic planning gets its own slot in a schedule where participants can dedicate their concentration to it.

When it comes to improving strategic planning skills, it also is essential to make sure that you do not lose momentum. Busy professionals who are concerned with matters at hand might find it a little too easy to put off strategic planning meetings in favor of budgeting and other short term issues. It is important to stick to strategic planning schedules. Try to schedule meetings no more than two or three weeks apart from one another.

Professionals who have great strategic planning skills understand that it is important to have specific issues that should be addressed. In other words, sitting down with your colleagues to discuss issues is not effective if there is not an agenda that dictates which issues should be covered. Without direction, planning can become scattered. It is important to deal with one issue at a time and to understand that strategic planning is a process that may not yield immediate results.

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fify
Post 3

@stoneMason-- I see what you mean. I am trying to work on this as well.

First of all, if you are working, then I suggest learning as much as possible about the company or business, its performance and the issues it is facing. Then, try to exercise your skills by trying to predict how the company may be doing three months from now, six months from now, etc. Look at the problems and see if they will worsen or try to figure out if new issues will arise. Then, try to find solutions. Try to look at the problem from different angles and different points of view.

For example, consider what the problem means for the shareholders in the company, and then the customers and then the employers. Try to see the issues from their perspectives. Then think about solutions that can cover all these points.

stoneMason
Post 2

@burcinc-- Yes, but how do I develop these?

It almost sounds like one cannot know if he or she has these skills until given the opportunity or chance to do it. But for someone without too much prior experience, it's daunting.

burcinc
Post 1

Strategic planning is basically a combination of analysis, theorizing and conceptualization. Analysts look at data and come to a conclusion about them. Then they develop possible scenarios and plan their strategy for each scenario.

This actually requires quite a few skills. Being able to see the big picture but also being able to concentrate on the individual parts as required is important. Logic and reasoning are essential, so as to come to reasonable and accurate conclusions from the data. And making a plan to overcome problems and reach an end goal are also important.

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