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Strategic planning: Plan to fail without it.

Darren D. Walker

Many equate business planning to an exciting game of chess.

The idea of overtaking your opponent strategically and tactically is analogous to overtaking business competitors. The Art of War, written by leading Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu over 2,000 years ago, comes to mind.

His wise ideas still apply to the modern battlefield of the new digital economy, especially with a data-driven strategic approach.

In his book, Sun Tzu said, “Strategy without tactics is the slowest way to victory. Tactics without strategy are the noise before defeat."

Typically led by the CEO and other C-level players within an organization, strategic planning is the roadmap for cross-functional decision-making that impacts an organization's long-term goals.

If your strategic plan is the "what" - the initial thinking for achieving long-term goals, then your tactics are the "how" - how you will apply your strategy on a day-to-day basis.

But why is strategic planning so essential? A solid omnichannel marketing plan relies on strategic planning. Call me biased, but I believe a strategic plan should include an omnichannel element.

Now there is a strategic game changer. Mission, vision and value statements are invalid without a clearly defined purpose. Most employees would never be able to tell you what these were if asked.

An agile data-driven strategic plan should address the following:

1. What is your goal?

2. Starting internally with employees, how will you communicate your intent to achieve your goals before engaging with your various other audiences?

3. How do you influence organizational change?

4. What metrics do you use to measure your achievements?

5. How do you adjust things that may not be working?

What do you think?

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