5 Strategic Planning Models for Design Firms

The 5 Strategic Planning Models - Which is Right For Your Company?

Strategic planning can be very important to the success or failure of a company. However, there is no one model that can be used for every for every company. When choosing a strategic planning model, companies need to take into account which model fits best with what they are trying to accomplish, then modify if need be to better suite their specific needs. Here are the five strategic planning models, as well as what they are best used for.

Basic Strategic Planning
This basic process is often utilized by small companies who are simply too busy to engage in other kinds of strategic planning. It is also common with companies who have not engaged in this kind of planning previously. Basic strategic planning involves identifying a purpose, often referred to as a "mission statement," then identifying the goals that must be met in order to achieve this mission. Strategies are then put in place to achieve the goals, along with action plans that can be followed. The overall plan is monitored and updated as needed, until success is achieved.

Goal-Based Planning
Goal-based planning is often the second step a company takes after initially working with basic strategic planning. This kind of planning explores specific goals in a more in-depth fashion, and is often used to identify and prioritize some of the major goals within an organization. Strategies and action plans are then devised, and the necessary roles and responsibilities required for implementation are established. While similar in many ways to basic strategic planning, goal-based planning is generally more formalized and structured in its approach.

Alignment Model Planning
The alignment model is often by companies in order to fine-tune and adjust strategies that are already in place. It can be very useful for determining why certain strategies are not working for a company, and what should be done to remedy the situation. This method can be very effective when dealing with internal efficiency problems. The process involves outlining the overall mission, evaluating the programs that are already in place, the resources that are currently available, and the need for any additional support. The existing problems are identified, then adjustments are devised and incorporated into the strategic plan as needed.

Scenario Planning
Scenario planning can be very useful to determine "what-if" situations. This kind of planning is often utilized to evaluate the effect that external forces may have on an organization. For each possible scenario, strategies are developed which can be used to help a company respond to the potential changes.

Organic Planning
This style of planning is more ongoing in nature, as it focuses less on specific methods and more on "lessons learned." Using this planning method, an overall vision is determined, then there is an ongoing dialog about what processes may be necessary in order to achieve the vision. By its very nature, this style of planning often returns slower results, but it can also be quite effective when used properly.

By Eric Douglas
Photography by Adam Borkowski

Eric Douglas is Leading Resources, Inc. principal consultant with expertise in strategic planning, leadership development and change management. Eric has authored two books. The first is Straight Talk: Turning Communication Upside Down for Strategic Results. The book, a main selection of the Executive Book Club, offers a powerful approach to communication, decision making and leadership. His newest book is titled Leading at Light Speed. Eric, who has been recognized by the Institute of Management Consultants (IMC) for his work, serves on numerous boards of directors and devotes considerable time to charitable and community projects. He lives with his wife and family in Northern California. Eric Douglas can be contacted at efdouglas@leadingresources.com