Strategic Planning Review: Why is this process critical now?


This “deviation of direction” can be temporary or permanent, everything will depend on the effects that the unforeseen event will generate in the medium and long term. However, when it comes to management, faced with situations of this type, an urgent review of strategic planning is necessary.

In moments of turbulence triggered by external factors (such as the coronavirus outbreak, which affected the economy worldwide), in relation to which it is not possible to act directly, all businesses end up being, in some way, impacted.

Taking action quickly ensures that the consequences are not so negative or that the situation does not worsen to the point of compromising the company.

A lot is said about crisis management and, really, knowing how to manage adverse circumstances quickly, taking the necessary measures, is a great differential for a manager. Among these actions, the strategic planning review deserves special attention.

So in this article we’re going to talk specifically about how to do this so that things don’t get out of hand and the negative consequences are minimized.

Follow along and understand why the strategic planning review is so important!

What is strategic planning?

The concept of strategic planning refers to the development of a process for creating and executing a strategy, with best practices aimed at achieving pre-established objectives.

It is a plan in which specific tactics are foreseen that must be executed so that the desired ends (related, of course, directly with the success of the business) are achieved.

Good strategic planning includes: the assessment of the scenario, the definition of goals, decision making, mobilizations and the effective actions that must be carried out.

To start preparing this plan, the manager must ask some questions: “where is my company?”, “where do we want to go?”, “how can we get there?” chart the course to follow.

Why it has become critical for companies

It is worth noting that strategic planning has become such an important management tool for organizations of different sectors and sizes. The word “strategy” refers to “military operations” and the way in which, in other times, commanders coordinated their actions to defeat enemies.

The same logic started to be applied to the market, given the growth of competitiveness, with the objective of achieving success in business.

In this sense, its importance is to serve as a guide for the movements that will be performed in a given period. In addition, the action plan also avoids the company’s main focus and ensures that efforts will generate results.

How important is the strategic planning review?

First, it is imperative to remember that strategic planning review, regardless of external circumstances, must be done regularly.

Its frequency, however, tends to vary and depends a lot on the company’s pace, and may be quarterly, semiannual or annual.

Doing this exercise at a certain frequency is necessary for several reasons.

Strategic planning review helps ensure, for example, that it isn’t lying around in a drawer. Periodically revisiting it also reminds and reaffirms the stipulated values ​​and priorities to those involved in the project. This allows everyone to be aligned (new and old employees) with the corporation’s mission and objectives.

In addition, reviewing the plan is also essential to make, if necessary, possible updates. Often, to make some adjustments to the route, it is necessary to make adjustments and review some planning points.

These changes can be, for example, related to difficulties in accomplishing some task that in theory had been thought of in a certain way, but that, in practice, did not work. This also avoids repeating mistakes in the future and serves to “teach some lessons”.

Another crucial point of the strategic planning review is the possibility that leaders have, through it, to assess and measure progress towards the established scope.

And in times of crisis?

As you may have noticed, reviewing strategic planning is almost as important as designing it. And, in addition to being done regularly, it is also necessary in times of crisis.

Evidently, exceptional situations of force majeure, such as a pandemic that affects the way of life and the economy of several countries, impact organizations to a greater or lesser extent.

Consequently, they need to review their strategies and goals, change the way they work and, in some cases, even rethink their business model.

In scenarios like this, managers need to stop for reflection and focus on strategic planning review.

If, on the one hand, this instrument serves to define the guidelines for action and must be followed so that the goals are achieved, on the other hand, it is necessary to know how to make it more flexible in the face of unforeseen events. And that must mean acting to fit the new scenario.

In addition to, through adjustments, getting the business back on track, revising plans and updating them as needed, it also helps keep employees engaged in difficult times.

How to do an effective strategic planning review

As we have seen, the starting point of strategic planning is the analysis of the scenario in which the company finds itself. Likewise, its review must also begin with a new recognition of the situation in which it is inserted.

From there, it is possible to identify new needs and essential changes to be made. Maybe it’s time to invest in new market research, for example, to understand the reactions that the context is causing in customer behavior.

Strategic planning review may also require changes to the strategies that define how the path to goals will be traveled. The imposition of remote work, for example, requires adaptation in the strategic aspect.

In the case of a sales team, it is likely that new sales tactics will have to be formulated and used. It may be time to adopt new tools and processes and deploy Inside Sales across the enterprise.

It is also essential to redo a survey to assess the availability of resources – which will possibly be reduced in a crisis scenario. Therefore, the update will also require a new budget for the area.

Redefining deadlines and goals

If necessary, when reviewing the strategic planning, the manager will still have to redefine the goals – adapting them to the current framework and current possibilities. In addition, you will probably have to propose new deadlines for carrying out the action plan.

One of the biggest challenges in this part of the process is trying to keep the projections so that there are no surprises in the future – such as big losses in the results achieved.

At this point, it is still essential to revisit basic points of strategic planning, such as the mission, values ​​and relevance of the business to the market. As well as in its elaboration, these items should guide its update in a new reality.

Tools assist in strategic planning review

Currently, there are a series of tools indicated to facilitate the structuring of strategic planning and which serve, in the same way, to assist in its review.

The SWOT analysis is a methodology that is often widely used in organizations. It makes it possible to assess factors in the internal and external environments that can positively or negatively impact the business.

On the other hand, the Balanced Scorecard (BSC) is a method aimed at strategic management and the definition and implementation of indicators for monitoring performance.

In fact, in this strategic planning review process, it is a fundamental role of the manager to closely monitor the progress of his team and the execution of the plan. For this, he can count on platforms that help to structure the plan and monitor the results.

In the commercial area, CRM systems manage the relationship with the customer and prove to be very useful when recording interactions and showing indicators such as conversion rate, effectiveness of campaigns and performance by salesperson.

Regardless of the tools used to review the action plan, the manager must keep in mind that, starting from the recognition of the current environment, he needs to make a projection for the future and define how the team should move towards it.