Once your group, organization or business is clear on its mission , who they serve and the core values that guide the way we do things around here, the next set of process questions in strategic planning relate to scanning the present and anticipated future operating context.
What is changing in our external context?
The examination of the external environment is essential to understanding the complexities, uncertainties and possibilities for change. Your business or organization does not exist in a vacuum. Everyone involved in setting new strategic directions needs to develop a big picture view of significant factors and trends with the potential likely to influence your future success. Typical scan categories include the political environment, economic climate, social, technology along with sector/industry/discipline-specific arenas.
What is changing for our customers/stakeholders?
(Drucker’s question #3 is: What does the customer value?) Your future goals must anticipate and respond to the changing needs and realities of your key customers and stakeholders. Your strategic plan must not only ensure your organization delivers on their current expectations of value; it must anticipate or create what their future needs are likely to be. Insights are gained through research, focus groups or other discovery and learning conversations.
What are strategic innovation possibilities?
Whether for-profit or social-non-profit, your organization’s strategic plan must consider emerging best practices, leading-edge innovations, key drivers, core competencies and changing rules for success.
The Strategic Facilitator: Aligning Around Vision and Strategy.