Strategic Planning: Do You Know What It Means to and for Your Industry

As a success coach for corporate professionals, one phrase I’ve heard a gazillion times is some version of strategic planning, ie, team strategy, corporate strategist, team goals, corporate objectives, team leader, etc.

Once you hear a phrase this many times in this many ways, it can lose its real meaning – IF you’re not focused on what it means specifically for your business. So today, that’s what we’ll discuss, ie, what strategic planning means to and for your industry.

Following are three key insights to help you stay “strategically focused” (pun fully intended).

I. Objectives: One way to really capture what strategic planning is for your particular sector is to look at your plan’s stated objectives. Ask yourself, “What are our goals and why?”

Once you understand what your objectives are, you can work your way back to central questions like, “How does what we do impact “x”? For example, does what your company do impact a specific group, a specific economy, a specific environment?

Your strategic plan is a living, breathing document of where your company wants to go and how it proposes to get there. But, it’s specific to something, someone, some group; knowing who or what that is is key to knowing what your strategy means to and for your industry.

II. Individuals: People carry out strategic plans; not machines, not robots, not technology. Ironically, human beings are the engine that drive all this other stuff.

What does this have to do with knowing what strategic planning is within a specific industry? Well, different companies/industries require different skill sets. One only has to understand the formal definition of what this professional does to see this.

What Is a Strategic Planner?

According to the article, Careers in Strategic Planning, on the site Careers-in-Business, what these professionals do is described in the following manner:

Strategic planners analyze and evaluate internal business plans. This involves financial forecasting, market analysis, competitive intelligence analysis, looking at M&A proposals and feasibility analysis. There is also substantial focus on vendor relations, logistics and supply chain issues and geographic expansion. There is a lot of common sense “gut feel” work here too.

As you can see, this is a broad skill set that involves hard and soft skills.

If you’re a team leader, are you hiring the right people for the job?

If you’re a corporate strategist, are you in the right field?

III. Emerging Trends: One way to stay ultra-focused on what strategizing means for your industry is to always keep your ears and eyes open for emerging trends. This is important for a number of reasons – especially from a leadership perspective, ie:

(a) It keeps you in tune with which way to steer the corporate ship;

(b) It allows you to take advantage of industry opportunities;

(c) It helps you to fine-tune company objectives; and

(d) It aids you in developing or expanding ‘strategic’ partnerships.

This last objective is particularly important because we live and work in a global economy now. You never know when – or from where – your next big alliance is going to arrive.

Realizing what’s strategic “in and for” your industry prepares you to meet these challenges and opportunities head on.

About the Author: Shari Strong is a corporate success coach and leadership development expert. Her program, Success in 4D! Define it, Decide It, Design It, Do, It!(TM), helps corporate professionals become more effective leaders by clarifying how to devise effective strategic plans, and a host of other leadership strategies. To contact Shari and/or receive a free copy of her first two ebooks, visit

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