Strategic planning is one of the most recognized means of clarifying strategy and creating a game plan for implementation - “getting everyone on the same page.” Business planning is a variation which focuses more on revenue streams and operational choices. Think Outside provides a full range of strategic planning and business planning services.
Strategic planning is a process—it requires the engagement of stakeholders (i.e. staff, leadership, customers) around three critical concepts:
- Organization Identity: Who are we as an organization (more specifically what is our core mission, beliefs, culture)?
- Environment: What is happening in your operating environment (competitors, industry, broad trends, community, etc.) currently and looking ahead? What are strategic issues facing your organization? What are your key capacities and strengths?
- Strategy, Goals, Objectives, Actions: What will you do? Why? How will you know you’ve succeeded?
Because planning is a process of engagement, our expertise in facilitation and group process, put us a step above other consultants.
The form that strategic planning takes (i.e. the number of meetings, who is in those meetings, how long it lasts, what the actual documentation looks like) are all customized to meet your needs. Typically comprehensive strategic planning will take a minimum of a few months from our initial engagement until we have drafted the final plan.
Think Outside staff have designed and completed dozens of comprehensive strategic planning processes and plans. We always begin our work with you with an in-depth conversation about your needs.
If you are a small business that needs to strategically examine its growth plans OR you need a game plan/a single, broadly supported document that guides the next steps of the organization OR you need a process to build consensus about what to do in the face of change, Give us a call or drop us an email; We’re happy to talk to you (free of charge) about what is happening in your business or organization and what kind of process might make sense for you.
In some cases, you may only be interested in addressing one or two aspects of strategic planning; we call these more limited engagements strategic thinking & scenario development. These may be one day retreats or visioning sessions.
Business planning is more explicitly focused on structure, operational considerations, market, competition, and sustainability. It relies on an understanding of market, implications of various business models and structures, and means of generating income. In the end the business plan can guide expansion plans, changes to production or services, opening of new markets, and suggest levels of operations necessary to break even, as well as the projections and plans to reach these levels.
The business planning process is usually shorter than strategic planning, more targeted and engages a smaller set of people.
Strategic Thinking & Scenario Development
Sometimes you just need a little help getting outside of your box, shaking up your thinking and then being strategic in your choices.
Think Outside can help. We can:
- Facilitate visioning and short planning sessions
- Develop specific scenarios with you to help push your thinking
- Facilitate interactive, experiential exercises using the outdoor or inspired by the outdoors (sometimes our best ideas come in the shower or on a walk or anytime you least expect it, with our understanding of how our brain works, we can use the outdoors to trigger new ideas to old problems)
To help break you out of your rut.
We can also help you create strategy criteria or a strategy frame that you can use to think more critically about your options.
Get out of your rut –combine creativity and strategic thinking with us. Drop us a call or drop us an email; We’re happy to talk to you (free of charge) about what is happening in your business or organization.
Scenario thinking techniques provide a frame for thinking about the future and, in a disciplined way, imagining provocative and plausible stories about possible futures. Scenarios are not predictions, they are possibilities and these techniques can help clarify your thinking about whether particular programs, services and products should continue and if so in what form. What are the range of good, strategic responses given a set a plausible futures.
These techniques can be used in combination with strategic planning, business planning or as provocative isolated exercises.