Strategic Planning in the Organization

In our work on strategy over many years, we have frequently observed that companies’ strategic planning processes tend to become bureaucratic and time-consuming routines, which fail to provide many valuable new strategic insights or directions. As a result, line managers are less than enthusiastic about participating in the planning process and strategic planners feel frustrated and ineffective. During this seminar Jo Whitehead will explore the reasons for this unsatisfactory state of affairs and help participants to think through ways in which it can be rectified.

This seminar will cover the following subjects:

  • The purpose of strategic planning: what should the plan be aimed to achieve?
  • What the strategic plan should cover: the ingredients of a good strategic plan
  • The design versus learning debate: should plans attempt to ‘design’ the future or instead create a context for learning and adaptation?
  • The different approaches needed for corporate and business unit strategic planning
  • The strategic planning process: what works well and poorly
  • The role of the strategic planning function: how planners can add value.


10.00 Welcome and introductions
10.20 Strategic plans: Purpose, content, approach
10.45 The design versus learning debate
11.15 Break
11.30 Group work: Sharing experiences on design versus learning
12.00 Conclusions about design versus learning
12.15 Corporate-level strategy and business unit strategy
12.45 Reflections on the morning
13.00 Lunch
14.00 The strategic planning process: what works well and poorly
14.45 Group work: sharing experiences on what works well and poorly
15.15 Conclusions about works well and poorly
15.30 Break
15.45 The role of the strategic planning function
16.30 Reflections on the day and residual issues
17.00 Close