How can I improve my company's strategic planning process?

If you are a CEO or CFO, this is the question that will be asked most often by your board of directors and shareholders. If you are not yet in a leadership position and hope to get there someday, it may also be the one that haunts you most. After all, if your company's strategic plan is flawed—and it almost always is—it can make or break your career.

Most companies will go through their strategic planning exercise every year, as they seek to define their future and chart out a course for success.

Of course, what makes these exercises so difficult (and important) is that they must take into account every aspect of an organization: 

  • Its products and services (Business Mix)
  • Its customers, competitive landscape and markets (External Factors)
  • Its employees
  • Its finances
  • Its technology infrastructure (If a tech firm)
  • How it allocates resources across different functions within the organization.

The list goes on and on! And then there's also each company's unique culture—its values, attitudes about risk taking, organizational structure, goals for growth…

All these things must be considered when creating a strategic plan because no two companies are alike.

Back to question of, "How can I improve my company's strategic planning process to be successful?"

At MDK - Startup & Small Businesses Consulting, here are three tips we offer to our founders, based on decades of experience, helping clients do just this successfully:

  1. Be prepared ahead of time - Strategic Planning should be done every year.
  2. Have clear objectives - In form or OKR or 3–5 Strategic Initiatives
  3. Don't become complacent - Don’t make this a table top exercise.
Beyond above, it's also critical to define assumptions and what the firm will not do. If you are a startup or a small business, who wants to successfully do strategic planning, please connect with us at