Some think of strategic planning as a one time or every 3 years exercise. In my experience, it is most beneficial to think about it as a yearly cycle.
This time of year is when many organizations refresh strategic objectives and tune longer term plans. Finishing strategic planning efforts by October allows for those deliverables to feed into the annual planning cycle and prevents conflict between the two efforts. I like to think of strategic planning as an on-going process that is evaluated and refined every quarter, but also has a specific focus each quarter. A typical cycle is:
Q1 – Detail Department Plans (focus on Product Road-map and Sales Enablement)
Q2 – Talent Management (MBO’s, Talent evaluations, Comp review, Key resource needs)
Q3 – Strategic Planning (3-5 yr SWOT, Themes, Objectives, Metrics, Goals, Initiatives)
Q4 – Annual Operations Budget and Staffing
Using a strategic planning cycle ensures the strategy stays relevant and gets translated into execution more effectively.