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Strategic Planning – Step Two

This entry is part 7 of 14 in the series Strategic Planning [1]

Step Two involves Looking at Now. What is happening at your firm right now?

You need to review the following areas at a minimum.

Team and Talent – The makeup of the group you are working with will impact your ability to reach a goal.

Do they have the training needed? Teams need to be prepared and equipped to do their jobs.  Training is how you equip them.

Are they excited about change for the better? If you team of firm embraces change you may be able to plan for quicker transitions.  If they are slow to move, then a longer lead time will be needed for larger changes.

Are they easily disheartened? Discouragement is contagious.  Resilience is also.  Strong teams will be more resilient in the face of hardship.

Do they have the skills they need to advance? Back to training and their existing talent mix…  Talents shared by many will frame the way you approach your planning.  If you have a strongly talented team and a good blend of talents, your plan can be bolder.

Do they follow the standards? They need to be inclined to unified processes.  This will impact your process of solidifying the plan goals.  If your team is use to structured environments, then they will tend toward looking to solidify processes sooner.  If they are creative, they will tend toward allowing the creative approaches to continue.  Creative teams may go beyond the scope of your plan – which may not be a bad thing.

Do they share what they have learned? Sharing environments are better at spreading lessons learned and instituting new methods firm wide.  Those that do not share will contain successes to smaller areas.

Can they be counted on? Dependability is key in planning who does what.  Take into account those that can get the job done.

Resources and Budget -The availability to tools, budget and people will frame the scope of your planning.

Do you have the needed access to management and are they behind your efforts? Without access to the highest level of management that you can interact with,the smaller the scope will be of the plans you make.  If you have the ear of the president of the firm, you can expand the scope firm wide.  If you only have access to your immediate supervisor, your scope will be smaller.

Do you know people in the industry that can give you insight? If you can reach out to others in your industry they can help you gauge your targets an the reasonable expectations of reaching them (or surpassing other firms – which is the real goal)

Can you create communication methods to expand your impact? If there are ways of getting your message out and you can tap into them – that is great.  If not – can you create methods of sharing your plan.  Newsletters, emails, Intranets, internal blogs, whatever.  You need a PR pipeline.

Can you get approvals on purchases? Knowing the flexibility of the budget is critical.  If you can add line items it will help.  If you can funnel other funds from one place to another, then that might work also.

Is the company profitability going up or down? Be sensitive to the state of the company profitability. Find out the facts.  Plans that include saving money are still strategic.

Is there a line item for CAD software that may need to be purchased? If your plan is going to depend on purchasing, make sure you can make the buys.

The Product of this Step:

You will create a short list of possible and probable areas of opportunity.  It will include constraints and resources, key people and tools and other important items from your review.  It should be written down.

My next post will cover a suggested method of getting through this step.

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