The most important endeavor a business leadership team can undertake is the Strategic planning of the organization. This is not a static endeavor, it is a dynamic one, although the main philosophy and direction will remain the same. Strategic planning takes all the resources of the organization and directs them to one major goal. This major goal is supported by underlying goals which help the organization remain profitable and competitive. The goal is outlined in the mission and vision statements of the organization. A goal may be: to be the leader in a specific field, it may be to influence the lives of the impoverished, it may be to redefine how an industry operates. Whatever the main objective is within the organization it must be accepted by the whole organization.
The more expansive and forward looking a mission and vision statement is the greater the organization will be in managing change, keeping employees motivated, and of course the success or failure of the organization. Most companies do not take the time nor have the ability to create goals which will guide them into the economic future. If these goals are created they are not expansive enough. They also may rely on financial goals too heavily. A true strategic planning goal is above the financial aspect, it sees the marketplace as one where an organization can improve the lives of the employees and the customers which it serves. If the organization has a strategic goal of integrity, the financial rewards will follow.
In changing marketplaces, and environments, a true, honest, sympathetic, purposeful strategic plan will weather any economic or financial storm. It is the rudder which keeps the boat on the main course of operations. So many companies are tied to the ebb and flow of economies around the world. If an organization is founded in idealist goals, which respect the needs of the global community, the organization will never fail, nor collapse but it will remain in the community as a visionary light from which others will follow.
Strategic planning seeks to find that visionary goal, and the underlying goals which make the main goal achievable. It is difficult to set goals unless the leadership team is equipped to see beyond the superficial. For example, a company may sell televisions. On the surface there are the costs of the material of the equipment, the operational cost in building it, the marketing cost, the research and development budget. These are not strategic planning goals though. The strategic goal looks deeper into who is buying the product and for what reason. A television is no longer a television, but a vehicle to share information, for recreation, for enjoyment. When the focus is on the utility a television provides for the customer, the costs take on a whole new meaning.
The method of selling a good at the highest price, while producing at the lowest cost is ignoring the purpose of why the company exists strategically. True, a company may remain profitable, but the working environment, the morality and goals are non-existent and superficial. When the goal is to solely make a profit, there is no compassion, no ideology, and therefore one has surrendered the organization to a purposeless existence.