Strategic Planning Foundation Keynotes

My keynotes from LinkedIn Learning

Strategic Planning Foundations: by Mike Figliuolo


Why have a strategic plan?



★Risks and opportunities


Chap 1: Before you begin planning


Principles of strategic planning

★Set a clear direction and stay in your lane

★Say no to distractions

★Making sure you diversify your bets


Avoiding major strat plan risks

Warning signs if strat plan is flawed

★Initiative Proliferation

★Thinking too small

★Thinking too big

★Random initiative generator


Strat plan process (Overview)

★Vision, Mission, Goals of company & Core competencies

★Defining strategic filters

★Tools – 2 by 2 matrix (Growth rate, profitability)

★Initiatives prioritization & resources

★Check for diversity of portfolio

★Execute the plan


Strat plan process (Tactical) – balance process between individual and team

★Pre-work (individual)

★Vision mission principles (team)

★Evaluate initiatives (individual)

★Prioritization (team)

★Deep analysis (individual)

★Final planning & resource allocation (team)


Strat plan contents

★Core competencies

★Prioritized initiative list

★Implementation and sequencing planning


Chap 2: Defining the strategic environment


Assessing the market (Threats & Opportunities)

The 5 forces that shape industry competition

★Rivalry among competitors

★Threat of new entry

★Threat of substitution

★Buyer power

★Supplier power


Conducting a SWOT Analysis

Strengths – typical within own organization (e.g. Brands, supply chain, sales force, plan safety, recruiting IT, financials)

Weaknesses – typical within own organization (e.g. Expense reporting, IT desktop support, digital marketing, intern program, integration)

Opportunities – internal or external market (e.g. social media growth, competitor bankruptcy, 3rd party sales, couponing product at retail)

Threats - internal or external market (e.g. customer pricing, talent poaching, weather, acquisition, economy)


★Extracting insights from a SWOT analysis

★Eliminate things that aren’t going to be major strategic themes

★Synthesize the major themes


Chap 3: Setting your strategic direction


Defining the direction

★4 Elements

★Articulating vision, mission, guiding principles and goals (SMART) (aggressive, but pragmatic)


Creating a mission statement (why the organization exist/purpose) – tips

★Clear and brief


★Defines your industry

★Rallies employees


Defining the organizational vision (provide a clear picture of where you want to be as an organization in 3 to 5 years)

★States value proposition

★Ambitious and realistic

★Excites employees

★Market differentiation



Refining the mission and vision statement

★Recruit stakeholders for brainstorming

★Pass out to everyone what exists today - Current mission and vision, SWOT analysis and Porter’s 5 forces

★Get teams to generate ideas/focus group - Refining the statement – clarify and eliminate buzzwords, remove redundant words, reduce to one or two sentences, share and get feedback)

★Capture all the ideas, step back, look for synthesis and common themes, and hammer it out into a clear, crisp, compelling vision and mission statement


Guiding principles (behavior) and goals (SMART)

★What’s the vision

★What goals help you to get there


Chap 4: Determine How You’ll Compete


Core competencies (something your organisation is great at) – identify two primary core competencies, what our best strengths, and can form the type of opportunities that you’re going to pursue


★Product quality

★Innovation ability

★Supply chain efficiency

★Brand strength

★Technology infrastructure


★Focusing on core competencies – plot on the grid (high low)

★What initiatives should you pursue

★Example potential initiatives – new markets, products or services, capabilities to build)


Chap 5: Evaluating and Prioritising Opportunities


Understanding strategic filters (common set of criteria that everyone across the organization uses to evaluate decisions and planning)

Then understand how much risks they’re going to have you take on (5 things to look at as you evaluate risk (low/high) – capabilities, channels, cost structure/infrastructure, customers, competitors)


Creating strategic filters

★Get the right people in the room (different stakeholders)

★Take a look back at the organisation mission, vision, guiding principles, goals and core competencies)

★Generate qualitative and quantitative filters (6-12 filters), determine hard and soft filters


Applying strategic filters

Homework – evaluate initiatives with strategic filters (hard filters – pass or no pass, soft filters – low, medium or high initiatives score) and document the rationale


Comparing and prioritizing initiatives

★Needed input – completed scores of initiatives against strategic filters

★Calibration process

★Then prioritise


Conducting deep analysis of high priority ideas

★Assign template to individuals for further analysis. Fill out multiple aspects of the initiatives.

★Initiative analysis components – initiative description, value proposition, target customer, point of differentiation, owner, opportunity type, detailed financial analysis – net present value, return on investment, internal rate of return and executive considerations – teams, campaigns, core operations, technology, risks)

★Identify milestones

★Identify resources needed


Initiative prioritization (Initiative, Cost, Resources): Drawing the Line

★List the initiatives based on highest priority to lowest priority (driven by strategic and financial goals) – which give highest financial return

★What resources required

★Go through an exercise – Draw the Line (top priorities are properly resourced) “Finite pool of resources that I can use” – sort from highest to lowest


Chap 6: Assessing your Initiative Portfolio


Applying the 2x2 matrix (Low-High Profit) & (Low-High Growth)

★Take the initiatives, think about the objectives that are most important to the business, plot the initiatives, and that should help confirm what is your priority list is


Creating multiple diversification views

★Look at the portfolio and create multiple looks through 2x2 matrix and see where the highest priority initiatives showing up on that matrix

★If unbalanced, spend some time rebalancing that list of initiatives


Assessing initiatives over time (so you can see how small initiatives today contribute in the future)

★Look beyond this year’s financial impact

★The smaller initiatives may play a bigger role in the future

★Able to prioritize ad allocate resources for that initiative portfolio to achieve overall vision


Chap 7: Organising for Success


Planning resources

★Common mistake – Strategy by default (a plan determined by existing resources and structures)

★Right way to allocate resources – state your strategy, describe your strategic filters, determine the best organizational structure to purse your initiatives)

★Then identify your human resource needs to fill the boxes on that correct organization chart (swap talent, move people from one team to another, hiring gaps that need to fill)

★Align big corporate goals all the way down to individual goals



★Every single initiative – have a very clear initiative owner (hold accountable for delivering results on that project)

★Need appropriate reporting and metrics for tracking

★Able to balance initiatives across portfolio and get the results that you’re promising back to the organization


The ongoing prioritization process

★Put in place ongoing evaluation process (people generating new ideas, definition and positioning, strategic filters, deep analysis, prioritisation, launch, monitor, and iterate as needed-document and reprioritizes any fixes)

★Define an owner for the process (new ideas, run prioritization meeting (quarterly)


Running the strategic planning process

★Announce planning process

★Identify resources needed (project charter)

★Initial group meeting

★Individual initiative evaluation

★Initial group prioritization

★Individual deep analysis

★Group resource planning

★Ongoing execution


Chap 8: Conclusion


Strategic planning pitfalls

★Clear direction

★Saying no

★Failure to prioritize

★Lacking diversification

★Starving the kids (all resources going to the one big core business that generates most profits all great new ideas are never getting funded)

★Not revising strategic plan on regular basis (at least once a year)


Next steps

★Assemble team and dedicate resources to the planning effort

★Conduct planning efforts and then assign resources to run this process going forward

★Set regular strategy reviews, check at least quarterly to make sure strategy is on track and no major shifts in the market

★Conduct this process every year (market move too fast)


Strategic planning is a critical element of success. If you do it well, you can thrive, not just survive.


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