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How To Create A High-Performing Strategic Plan A high-performing strategic plan is the roadmap for your business and will help guide you through all kinds of decisions you'll be making.

By Christopher Massimine Edited by Micah Zimmerman

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

A successful organization understands its strengths and weaknesses, sets clear goals and objectives and achieves them through action. A strategic plan helps leaders get their teams to focus on the right initiatives to yield the greatest results for their company.

You can't create a great strategy without first knowing where you want to go. Start by defining what success looks like for your organization — the outcomes determining whether or not your company has succeeded. These are known as "objectives." Objectives should be measurable and specific so they can be evaluated at the end of the year; for example: "I want my team to increase revenue by 20% this year" or "I want to improve customer satisfaction ratings from 85% to 92%."

Related: How to Fall in Love With Strategic Planning

A strategic plan is more than just a bunch of goals on paper. It's about how your business operates as a whole: how everything flows from one department to another and what happens when there are changes in the market or economy. The success or failure of every part depends on how the other parts perform, which makes this planning critical for any company.

When setting your organizational objectives, the first step is defining the problems that need solving. It may seem obvious, but this should be done before starting on a solution — otherwise, there's a risk of simply re-inventing the wheel or working on something that isn't relevant or useful to your business. It's important not just because it will help keep things clear in your mind but also because by understanding why certain things are happening (or not happening), there's less chance of wasting time pursuing solutions without knowing if they will work. This will save everyone time, hassle and money.

Set ambitious but realistic goals. It's important to set challenging goals for yourself and your employees if they will be effective at achieving them. However, many people put their expectations so high that they become demotivated when they fail or fall short of these goals. This can also lead them to make excuses for themselves instead of actually working smarter next time around. So instead of setting unrealistic expectations for yourself or others, try setting reasonable ones — then adjust based on how things go after some initial time has passed.

Don't worry about what other people think about your plans. Focus on getting results and achieving success with them. The key here is having confidence in yourself and understanding why certain things need to be done because no one else can tell us how best to accomplish those tasks except ourselves.

Related: 5 Actionable Strategic-Planning Tips To Boost Business Efficiency

When you have your goals, it's time to evaluate your company's existing capabilities. This is an important step to ensure you can deliver on strategic goals. You should start by defining what it means for your company to have a strength or weakness and then compare your company against competitors in the same space. By comparing yourself with other companies, you can identify gaps in capabilities and areas for improvement.

After completing this exercise, determine how much effort will be required from each department for them to achieve their respective targets during each phase of the plan.

Once you've created a plan that addresses the business challenges you face and what'll be necessary to over them, it's essential to communicate your plan to your stakeholders. The key here is communication. If you don't talk about your strategic plan and how it will make things better for everyone involved, then there's no way for them to be aware of what they're supposed to do or whether their role in the plan makes sense. In addition, if you don't explain how each person's role fits into the larger strategy and its goals, they may feel lost or confused about why they're doing what they do and how that fits into a bigger picture.

Communicating your strategic plan effectively involves two primary steps: making sure everyone understands their role in achieving those goals and making sure everyone understands how their roles fit together as part of an overall strategy (and not just as individual tasks). You should also review existing plans so that both new strategies can be integrated into older ones without creating redundancy or confusion among employees who may not understand where one set of instructions ends and another begins (and vice versa).

Metrics should be used to track progress. They need to be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely. They should be directly linked to objectives to measure performance against them on an ongoing basis. For example, a quality assurance department might define customer satisfaction as its primary metric. This means that the department would create a way of measuring customer satisfaction (e.g., surveys) and use this information when deciding how best to improve their services or products.

Monitoring performance is such a crucial aspect of strategic planning. This is because it allows you to see what is working and what isn't so that you can make changes accordingly. Monitor your strategic plan by setting up a process that will allow you to measure your progress against the goals outlined in your strategic plan. Monitor these metrics on a regular basis. You can then use this information to identify opportunities for improvement or highlight areas where there has been success. This way, if something doesn't go according to plan, there will be time for making adjustments before any major setbacks occur.

Every company needs a clear strategic plan of objectives, actions and metrics to monitor performance. This is not just the responsibility of senior management; it's everyone's responsibility. A strong strategic plan will help everyone in your organization understand their role in achieving your goals.

A strong strategic plan is essential to ensure that your company is moving forward in the right direction. It's also important for stakeholders and employees to understand how their work fits into this greater vision. By developing a plan that reflects your unique goals, you can ensure everyone stays on track during each step of the process—and ultimately yield success.

Related: 5 Actionable Strategic-Planning Tips To Boost Business Efficiency

Chris Massimine is the CEO of Imagine Tomorrow, a firm that shepherds and sources capital for creative works. Massimine is also a business development consultant, an international theatermaker and executive producer of the upcoming film "The Inventor."

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