The Strategic Planning Checklist

Our Ultimate Guide to Strategic Planning

Part A: Strategy Check List

1. Analysis of Existing Situation – Organisational Philosophy & Mission & Value

  • Does it reflect what you stand for?
  • Do your people understand its true meaning?
  • Does it make it clear as to how you have to compete and against whom?
  • Is it simply written? Is it clear and unambiguous?  Is it believable and realistic?
  • Does it motivate people? Does it attract pride or cynicism?
  • Does it give us some indication of what we should be doing and how we should be doing it?
  • Do all the constituent parts fit and hang together?
  • “Identity Pyramid” – do you have clarity around all the issues?

2. Internal Appraisal of Company

  • SWOT analysis – revisit previous analysis & ensure it is complete & current
  • Distinguish between endowments and core competencies
  • Assess and audit core capabilities.
  • Gauge fit between external environment and core capabilities
  • Identify fit between customer requirements and core capabilities

Having identified what you perceive to be your competences ask yourself the following questions:

  • Will this give us any source of long term sustainable competitive advantage? Clarify the how? (ie. how relevant is it to the needs of our customers (actual and potential)).
  • Do customers (broadly) agree with our findings (ie. the market place)?
  • Can competitors (present/future) emulate or do better? Do they share our perception?
  • How was this list of core competences arrived at (eg. Training, innovation etc)?
  • Any weaknesses/shortfall still? If so, what further investments will be required?
  • Is there any impact on the strategic balance sheet (ie. Intangible and human assets)?
  • Can it be levered, onto other applications and/or markets?
  • What happens next?

3. Competitive Analysis

  • What is the current process for this task?
  • The Positioning Statement (competitive positioning) – refer below
  • Scan present competitive position but focus also on future competition.
  • Do you really know your competitors strategy?
  • Understand changing face of competition
  • Who could be a future competitor?
  • Is your strategy and your competitors becoming more alike or more divergent?
  • What is the most radical thing that your competitor(s) could do?

4.Value Proposition

  • Consider or revisit the current Unique Sales Proposition within your Marketing plan & ensure it is complete and up-to-date.
  • Do you know why your customers buy from you and not you competitor(s)?
  • Have you asked them?
  • How can you improve customer experience?

5. Environmental & Industry Analysis

  • Consider legal, social, political, economic, technological, markets, labour position, society, pressure groups, and any other environmental issue.
  • Assess potential impact of any change(s) and consider timing implications.
  • Conduct intensive industry analysis.
  • What is the long-term viability of the industry as a whole?
  • What could change the industry dynamics?
  • What is the nature of current industry changes i.e. radical, creative, intermediate or progressive?
  • What could be the impact on your strategy and source of competitive advantage of such changes?
  • Five years or so from now how will the industry leaders look and act?

Part B: Strategy Selection


1. Identify Strategic Alternatives

  • All options to be examined – growth, acquisitions, alliances, JV’s, innovation.
  • Upside and downside risks identified

2. Strategy Evaluation & Selection

  • Clear choice to be made
  • How will we compete?
  • Evaluate impact of each option
  • Will it give unique competitive advantage?
  • Can it last? Can it be sustained?
  • Will it differentiate us from our competitors?
  • Can it be converted easily into a set of business objectives / KPI’s?
  • How will competitors react?
  • Easy to implement?
  • Contingencies in place?
  • What about the next wave?
  • Is it consistent with customer requirements and industry changes?
  • Will it create shareholder value?
  • Is it financially viable?

Part C: Strategy Implementation


1. Matching Strategy & Organisational Structure 

  • Do we have the necessary resources?
  • Is there a logical fit?
  • Is current structure adequate? Assess extent of change. Do not ignore culture effect.
  • What about the organisation’s values?
  • Is strategy personalised enough? Assess flexibility and robustness.

2. Allocation of Resources & Responsibilities

  • Planning, Plans, budgets, controls, appraisals etc….. all to be consistent with strategy
  • Strategy well translated into clear objectives
  • Priorities and constraints identified
  • Time horizons clearly laid out
  • Management information systems to dovetail strategic choice


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