Strategic Planning, Surveys and Execution. How to Connect?

Surveying customers and employees is an essential component of strategic planning and executing a plan.

Our firm specializes in facilitates our clients’ development of strategic frameworks. These provide a multi-year roadmap to success.

Strategic Framework Model
Strategic Framework Model

Strategic Planning Surveys

Within the Strategic Framework are Pillars of Success – or core areas of focus. We can establish the Pillars of Success relatively easily based on our understanding of the business model. But the next two levels of detail – Strategic Objectives and Measures require empirical data to inform our decisions about levels of priority, urgency, and timing of actions. This data should originate from surveys of our customers and our staff.

Surveys can be implemented in advance of a strategic planning session. But we often conduct a two-session planning process and the implementation of the survey between these sessions aids in creating the right questions and then providing the data to finalize the Strategic Framework.

We like Survey Monkey. It is an excellent resource for creating and implementing surveys. We try to keep surveys short. They always have three components:

  1. An overall satisfaction rating
  2. Specific graded responses on topics that are relevant to the audience (customers or employees)
  3. Narrative responses that identify what we are doing well, what we need to stop doing, and what we need to start doing.

It’s the second category of questions that is crucial.

We want to capture responses about the level of satisfaction they are experiencing on a range of issues. The structure of the questions looks like this:

How satisfied are you with the following?

Items for RatingVery SatisfiedSatisfiedOnly Somewhat SatisfiedNot Satisfied
Item #1
Item #2
Item #3
Item #4

We also want to capture responses about the level of importance they attach to those same issues.
The structure of the questions looks like this:

How do you rate the importance of the following?

Items for RatingVery ImportantImportantOnly Somewhat ImportantNot Important
Item #1
Item #2
Item #3
Item #4

With this data you can plot on a matrix the results for each question. We can then visually recognize the implications:

Strategy Planning Survey Results Matrix
Strategy Planning Survey Results Matrix

The Strategy Planning Survey Results Matrix Illustrates three types of situations:

  1. First, areas where we reportedly are doing well (high satisfaction and high importance). For these, we need to maintain a high level of performance.
  2. Second, areas where we reportedly are not there yet in the eyes of our customers or employees (low satisfaction but high importance). For these, we need to make it a priority on improving our performance.
  3. Third, areas where reportedly there is little sense of importance (low or high satisfaction with low importance). For these, we must question whether we should be putting any focus and resources on these activities.

Strategic Planning Execution

Based on these results we can calibrate our Strategic Objectives and Measures within the Strategic Plan. We can decide to implement priority improvement projects. We can decide to abandon activities and processes that have no strategic importance.

Once the Strategic Plan is launched the survey can be repeated every two years. The results will enable mid-course corrections. They should also create moments to celebrate performance improvement victories.

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One Reply to “Strategic Planning, Surveys and Execution. How to Connect?”

  1. I think this is among the most important information for me about strategic planning process. And i am glad reading your article. But wanna remark on few general things, The site style is wonderful, the articles is really nice : D. Good job, cheers

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