09 August 2007


Even the most successful companies review their strategic direction.

The initial questions in the planning process can be answered in three stages.

Where are we now?
Where do we want to go?
How will we make it happen?


The Strategic planning process starts with a situational analysis of your external trading environment and internal operating performance and is designed to answer the question “where are we now?”

Performing the following analysis of your business greatly improves your ability to move forward with confidence:

Strategy Development
Defining Market Segment

When you have completed the Situational Analysis, your next step is to summarise the information into a SWOT analysis. There are no hard and fast rules for conducting a SWOT analysis. The principal benefits are that, in a concise format, you can identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to your organisation’s business.

Internal Strengths and Weaknesses

Strengths: “What strengths can you capitalise on as compared to your competitors?” Include issues such as: human resources, technology, financial resources, operational efficiencies or market leadership.

Weaknesses: “What can your competitors capitalise on as compared to your business?”

External Opportunities and Threats

Opportunities: “What untapped issues could you capitalise on in order to develop a stronger market position?” or “Where do the best opportunities exist?”

Threats: “What factors might threaten your ability to meet your strategic intent?” Include areas such as: government, economic, legislative, or competitive.

The results of an effective SWOT analysis will form the foundation for developing your firm’s strategic intent which will result in a set of strategic planning strategies which can be converted into action plans.


Strategic intent is a simple precise statement which envisions a desired leadership position and establishes the criteria your organisation will use to chart its future progress and answers the question “where do we want to go?” Strategic intent captures the essence of winning, is stable over time and provides consistency for short-term action while making sure there is room for flexibility and innovation on a team basis.

These statements are most effective when they are grounded in the past and project the past into the future. They become more essential and inspiring when they focus less on what you do and more on what you will do for your key clients.

The important question is not “how will next year be different from this year?” but “what must we do differently next year to get closer to our strategic intent?” Strategic intent provides consistency to short-term action, while leaving room for acting on new opportunities.

Using the information you have developed from your Situational Analysis, SWOT Analysis and Strategic Intent, you can now identify and prioritise the critical issues in your business, the problems to be overcome and other influences which need to be managed.


This is the stage at which decisions are taken about how to put your strategic plan into effect and answers the question “how will we make it happen?” Decisions on who, when, what and how must be taken to translate your critical issues into a set of action plans.

Key Performance Indicators - Measures of Success

These enable the monitoring of progress towards achieving your objectives. It is critical that they are established in consultation with those responsible for their achievement. Ensure that understanding and commitment to these initiatives is created at all levels.

Action Plan

What specific actions need to occur for each strategy to ensure that they are implemented?

How will you review progress on the implementation of the action plans?

What process of evaluation will you employ to measure and adjust the overall Strategic plan?


Who is responsible for implementing each action?

Have they the authority and resources to achieve results?

Current Status/Timeframe

What is the current status/timeframe for implementing each required action?

Monitoring and Adjusting

Effective strategy can be defined simply as a consistent pattern of decisions to support your Competitive Advantage! Although we are in a dynamic and volatile business for these reasons it is necessary to keep your plans sufficiently flexible to accommodate changes in the business and economic environments but not so flexible that the plan no longer has meaning.

The 3 stages of strategic planning are vital to understanding the health of your business. At the end of your strategic planning process the underlying questions effecting your business will be answered. In this way, you are able to effectively manage and grow your organization with confidence.

If you would like to discuss this topic further please feel free to contact us.


Michael Fingland
Managing Director

M +61 407 226 968
T +61 7 3229 5750
F +61 7 3229 5765 Level 5, 247 Adelaide Street
Brisbane QLD 4000

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