Call (952)-960-6688

Strategic Planning Process

“A strategic plan without an Execution Plan is not a plan at all.”

Past CEO of Dayton Hudson Kenneth Macke often emphasized this important principle to Yale Dolginow when they worked together years ago. To be successful, a company’s strategic plan needs to be more than just critical analysis. The plan needs to outline a detailed plan of action, or the EXECUTION process. Learn why the Élanstrategic two-step strategic planning process can help companies analyze the present, and create an action plan for the future.

Step 1 – Strategic Business Planning

The developmental process of any organization begins with a strategic plan, which is key to a successful organization. In the strategic process, members of the organization come together for the purpose of developing a plan of action from the “bottom up” for the new forthcoming period. The plan is thought out carefully, translating how the organization will move forward to accomplish their mission and vision and reflect their core values. The strategic planning process is not a one-person project; it should include representation of the entire senior management group – the decision makers.


The strategic plan should reflect historical results, current status, and influences affecting the business, whether it be external competition, external business climate/economy, internal factors, or external governmental influences. A strategic plan is dynamic and needs constant review, with more focused attention on a quarterly basis and on an annual review-update. A strategic plan explains how the organization will accomplish changing their direction to meet their goals, take advantage of their strengths and opportunities, solve their weaknesses, and block out the threats that are on the horizon.

Élanstrategic has worked with companies who came in with a plan developed three years in the past. These companies had not updated their strategic plan and did not understand their current financial predicament. They had not taken into consideration the external and internal changes which had either become a hindrance or had possibly presented them an opportunity strategically to move to the next level.

A strategic plan is crucial to the success of an organization. Going through the process of defining and developing a working strategy not only educates team members, but also inspires dedication and passion from the entire staff. Élanstrategic excels at leading that process.

Step 2 – Execution

Many firms have a plan—a business plan which has been prepared for their banker, stakeholder, and their staff. Some are professionally developed due to the request of these entities, and they are beautifully bound and placed on the executive director’s or CEO’s bookshelf. They sit there so the leader can have something to point to and tell the community how proud they are that THEY HAVE A STRATEGIC PLAN.

Some, however, would say they have “half a loaf.” Others, like Kenneth Macke, past CEO Dayton Hudson, would say “A strategic plan without an Execution Plan is not a plan at all.”

The strategic plan needs to be the basis for a detailed plan of action, or the EXECUTION process.

The execution plan is what the organization’s leader uses as the basis for his/her work or to-do list on a daily and weekly basis. The execution plan translates the strategic plan into a workable process to accomplish the projected goals of the organization. Each step of the process is set out in a sequential order, which is strategically logical, to tackle and accomplish the projects required to deliver each completed goal for the organization. Some execution plans are simplistic while others are very complex. An organization which has a strategic plan and has moved through the process to develop an execution plan is on the way to accomplishing the goals set out in their strategic planning process.

Example: Élanstrategic led the development of a strategy to close a division of a company. The senior management group, under the guidance of Yale Dolginow, developed the strategic plan to close the division, and set an execution plan which encompassed 430 tasks. Each task had a starting date and projected completion date with an assignment to a member of the group. By following their execution plan, this organization has now accomplished the implementation of their strategic plan.