Strategic planning, like vacation planning, could be creative and fun. But, then, it could be serious and downright difficult. For those of us who have experiences of planning a vacation together with our family members or friends may note that it could be exciting and eye-popping. And, at times, it could be difficult to manage when so many ideas popped up and so much choice is available.
Vacation planning requires all of us to ask three questions: Why do we need a vacation? Where is our ideal vacation spot? And, how do we get to where we need to be? Similarly, in strategic planning, we ask ourselves at least the following questions:
- Why do we need a strategy or strategies for our organization?
- Where do we need to be in 3-5 years?
- How do we get there?
Let us give more thoughts to the questions of “why”, “where” and “how”:
By giving some thoughts on the reasons why we are reflecting on our old strategy(ies) and old ways of doing things at this juncture, we are indeed saying that there might be areas in which we or our organizations may improve or that the circumstances now are different from the past. Whatever they are, we are in the position of pondering of our organizational possibilities for the future.
In asking this question, we are forced to make a decision on the future state of ourselves and our organizations. Obviously, there are options, and we have to talk about their pros and cons and why one option is better than others. In answering this question, we are finding a spot that we all want to go or at least, we are comfortable with it (after, of course, lengthy and often heated debates among ourselves).
After we are clear about “why” we are doing this and “where” we are going, we now have to figure out “how” to get there. There are many ways to reach our destination, and what we need to do is to decide on a few workable ones. The decision on these “strategies” is based on a consideration of many factors including our capabilities and resources as well as external opportunities and constraints.
Overall, these three questions of “why”, “where” and “how” are helpful guides in strategic planning as well as vacation planning. At the end of the day, if they are well thought through, discussed, and came to a consensus among ourselves, we are on our way to have a good vacation or a useful strategic plan.
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