What's the difference between a Strategic Plan vs. an Operational Plan? Both are plans but are they the same? If not, what’s the difference? Do you need both? Why do we need both?
1. Time Period
2. Goal Focus
3. Plan Generation
Understanding Strategic Planning vs. Operational Planning doesn’t mean you get to CHOOSE between them!
To be a strategy-focused company, you need a Strategic Plan and departmental level Operational Plans. If you’re sighing, groaning and thinking, “Oh great! One more thing I have to start doing….....” hang on!
WHO should be involved in Strategic Planning?If you are a Start-Up....
If you are a Founder of a Start-Up with a Vision and Mission but have no clue on how to achieve your vision and what to do to implement the idea and break it down into a day to day operational objectives, assemble your potential team of Founders and have conversations with each other to get to know one another.
If the team gets excited, sees possibilities and wants to be involved in the Vision to create this business and impact the world, next you have to set the frequency of interactions over a period of 3 to 6 months to develop the idea, list down hypothesis, do market research, conduct SWOT, PEST and VUCA analysis and then develop your ideal organisational structure, list down each role and responsibilities and implement your proof of concept.
If you are a Small-Medium Enterprise...
If you are the Managing Director and/or CEO of your SME and have a few Directors or Senior Managers in your company, you should already have the business going for a few years. You know WHAT you stand for, WHY you exist, WHO are you serving, WHAT your business challenges are (based on the day to day fire-fighting) WHO your competitors are, WHAT are the changes in the market, HOW are the market changing, is your business models obsolete, WHAT innovation can you develop, etc.
With a running Leadership & Management team, identify the Directors and Senior Managers to form this Strategic Planning Committee.
Meet them at least once every 2 weeks to develop a conversation around Strategy. Read books about strategy, strategic planning and share ideas during the meetings. Once the team have an idea what Strategic Planning is about, develop a framework, schedule and project plan to keep you committed to developing the Strategic Plan.
If you need professional support to facilitate your Strategic Planning and engage someone to facilitate you through the process, please take note:
- Strategic Planning is a journey. It takes a minimum of 5 to 8 full days to get the team immersed and engaged to create the framework and plans. The process is messy and there could be storming sessions. Stay objective!
- It takes another 8 to 12 hours weekly over a period of 1-month for leaders to review, discuss and enhance the plan and finally, present it to their Managers for them to develop the Operational Plan.
- With the Managers support, an Operational Plan shall be drafted, discussed and reviewed over a period of 1-month, taking at least 12 to 16 hours per week. Throughout the process, the Managers shall also be detailed in their plans using the S.M.A.R.T. model (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound) to communicate their Operational Plans.
- After the departmental level Operational Plans are developed and submitted by the Managers to the Leaders, the Leadership team shall review and challenge the plan until there is alignment between the Leaders and Managers. This process takes another 8 to 12 hours per week for a period of 4 to 6 weeks.
If you are a start-up or a growing Small-Medium Enterprise and need support to facilitate and/or develop your strategic plans, contact me now!