The Foundations of Basic Strategic Planning

By Alan Lowe on August 8, 2011

Last time we talked about the types of models a company could use to conduct a Strategic Planning session. Today, let’s take a quick look at the Basic Strategic Planning model. Conceptually, there are 7 questions which all CEOs must address.

At its core, Strategic Planning seeks to answer the fundamental questions all businesses face:

  1. What business are we in?
  2. Who are our customers?
  3. Why does our company exist? (mission)
  4. Where are we headed? (vision)
  5. What do we need to accomplish? (goals)
  6. How will we get there? (strategies)
  7. Who will go with us? (people)

Clearly articulating the answers to these questions is critical to creating the future you desire for yourself and your organization. Take the time to get this right. Find the words that enable you to paint an exciting future with a compelling mission that is meaningful to your customers and to your employees.

Ultimately, the value of Strategic Planning is in the thinking that takes place not in the plans that are created. Plans will change. Get the facts……….talk to your customers, to your vendors and to any industry experts that you can find.

  • What trends are they observing?
  • What is the competition doing?
  • Are your markets expanding or contracting?
  • Challenge your assumptions- what has changed?
  • What about your core values? Are they clearly communicated and understood?
  • Do you have the right people, the right processes, and the right focus?
  • How will technology impact your ability to produce and compete for more business?

These are just some of the questions you should be asking. At the end of the day, it is your people and your culture that really make the difference.

“Getting the right people in the right jobs is a lot more important than strategy”   Jack Welch

“Culture has strategy for breakfast”     Peter Drucker

Next time, we will talk about Goal Based planning. Setting the right goals and measuring the right things helps your people focus on the customer’s needs and provides the information needed to make better decisions.



As CEO and President of The Lowe Group, Alan helps Business Owners and Executives grow their companies and reach their Long Term Goals. He has extensive experience in Strategic Planning, Financial Management, Executive Coaching and Leadership Development. During his career he served at the C-Level for companies in four different industries. His strong analytical skills, strategic thinking and practical approach to business helped the owners grow their companies and position themselves for a successful exit. Additionally, Alan also served as a Chair for Vistage International for 12 years. During this time he coached dozens of CEOs and Business Owners in a variety of different industries to improve their Return on Investment, get clarity around their Strategic Intentions, and improve their leadership skills.

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  1. […] The Basic Strategic Planning is often used by organizations that are smaller and have not done strategic planning […]