Strategic planning is the process of defining strategy. It encompasses various cycles of internal and external assessment intended to inform decisions around the building of capabilities and adapting to change to maintain relevance to those who are served by the organization. Strategy is anchored by Vision, Mission, and Values and articulated in both long and short-term objectives that are measurable, trackable, and reportable. While strategic planning is a discreet process, at its best, it encompasses and leverages knowledge flow from across the organization, and in particular, risk management.
Purpose, Growth & Evolution Foundation
Before we delve into the generic details of strategic planning, it is important to understand some fundamental truths about organizations – regardless of size, complexity, industry, or type these fundamentals apply and they provide a critical link to the integration of strategy and risk that will be discussed in a later chapter.
First, you must have and pursue a higher purpose defined by vision, values, and contribution.
Second, you must be intentional about the growth of the organization and its people.
Third, you must continually adapt and evolve to meet the needs and wants of those served.
Fourth, purpose, growth, and evolution are inherently connected and must exist in a state of equilibrium.
Purpose is at the very heart of strategy design and operational excellence. An organization’s purpose defines where we came from, where we want to go and why others should care. Purpose is more than just a future measure of success in monetary terms, it must speak to the contribution the organization seeks to make both to the people who serve within it and those it seeks to serve.
Growth is not just about revenue, but includes deepening cores, expanding capabilities, and measurable impact on vision. How, what, and when we need to grow is dictated largely by market needs/wants and industry evolution. As we maintain focus externally, growth also requires intentionality with growing internal human resources and capabilities.
Evolution is about perpetuating the organization so that we can continue pursuing purpose and fulfilling vision. This requires continual navigation to see how well our strategy is working and to spot changes in the external environment so that we can adapt accordingly, all the while staying in alignment with purpose.
Vital Juncture is how we thread the needle through purpose, growth, and evolution to reveal top priorities in how we deploy resources to execute strategy. It establishes the context needed to maintain equilibrium and links it all together in a symbiotic. Vitju is the catalyst for aligning the organization, creating the focus and intent required for performance excellence and long-term organizational success.
By using the purpose, growth, and evolution foundation as cornerstones to design strategy, and then using vitju as the mechanism to reveal critical risks, we more clearly prioritize time, energy, and resources. This is the place where ERM operates within strategy. These concepts are addressed to provide a deeper understanding of the strategic planning process and where ERM can inform that process.
Planning Process Basics
The strategic planning process itself encompasses various cycles of internal and external assessment. When done on a regular basis, these assessment cycles do not are ingrained into the organization's culture and regular operational and reporting processes, and therefore do not take a significant lift to update and refine when the time comes to update the plan. Unfortunately, that is not how many organizations operate, and therefore strategic planning is there an event that happens every so many years and requires a major expenditure of time and resources.
The planning process itself includes a review of vision and mission to ensure continued relevance, in internal capabilities assessment as well as an external industry and market assessment, all of which feeds decision-making around the prioritization of ongoing strategic goals and operational initiatives. This is where the process diverges even more based on the unique characterization of the organization, incorporating any number of tools and techniques 2 provide the best business intelligence and risk profiling available to poor decision-makers. This is where erm was intended to provide its greatest value and is where a knowledgeable risk practitioner can potentially get a seat at the table by providing relevant information to the process.
Vision, Mission & Values Review
The process of reviewing vision mission and values does not generally happen every year. However, when there are significant changes in the organization or shifts in industry, market, or environment this exercise maybe takes it on. In a typical review, the question asked with vision mission and values is whether they are still relevant to the organization itself as well as those that the organization seeks to serve. Well-crafted vision and mission statements should stand the test of time although strategies, goals, and tactics will obviously be in constant motion to adapt to changes in the internal and external environment.
Capability assessments are really where we focus on the internal operations of the organization. Big vision and broad strategic goals we'll go nowhere without a firm understanding and realistic expectations as to what the organization itself is capable of accomplishing. This kind of assessment really flows throughout every function and division of an entity but can be summed up in terms of people, systems, resources, and tools. What we are ultimately looking to achieve here is to understand opportunities to be maximized and weaknesses to be addressed, as well as recognize gaps and leverage strengths in performance. There are many tools to accomplish this, and the most productive work is done when the right tools are chosen and adapted to the needs of the organization. The most common assessment tool used in strategic planning is the SWOT but there are many more that can assist such as workforce planning assessments and value chain analysis. as we will discuss in further detail in the training on SWOT, the proper selection and use of these tools is one place that a risk practitioner can add significant value to the process.
Industry & Market Assessment
Industry and market assessments are the external component of this process. This component looks at where the industry is changing, where consumers are evolving, and how the organization's performance is meeting expectations. There are many tools again 2 capture this type of information, such as performance reviews, consumer surveys, market research, competitor assessment, and so on. what is important to understand about this piece is that the growth of an organization's internal capabilities, end of the organization itself, is dictated largely by the needs and wants of the market it serves and the industry it operates in. Much of this information does not bubble up from the operational perspective, rather it comes in through the expertise of the organization’s senior leaders - however understanding the larger picture is what allows risk practitioners through the ERM process to reveal potential gaps between operational reality and market expectations.