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Reinventing Strategic Planning for a Dynamic Environment

  • ID: 42768
  • Report
  • January 1997
  • 75 pages
  • American Productivity & Quality Center, APQC
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In today’s complex business environment, the ability to identify new opportunities and rapidly expand into untapped markets is becoming a necessary condition for success. The leaders of some major organizations have even been heard to question the value of a strategic “vision” in a business world that will certainly change before the vision statement’s ink is dry. However, leading-edge companies are moving away from efficiency-oriented change strategies, such as re-engineering and downsizing, toward strategies focused on growth and innovation. New strategic methods that direct, rather than dictate, the organizations’ plans are becoming more and more common. The new direction in strategic planning is to use decision-making tools that work with a multidimensional view of the organization rather than traditional linear problem-solving techniques. And while the “set-in-stone” strategic vision statements may no longer apply, a strategic vision is still the fundamental building block for a continual process of strategic development.

This study was a natural follow-up to the groundbreaking 1995 consortium benchmarking study on strategic planning, which shed light on interesting developments, such as the reshaping of the process and the new approaches that some companies are taking to an age-old process. The study team and Subject Matter Expert John Camillus were joined by a group of 19 sponsor companies for the follow-up study, which took a more in-depth look at the ways that companies are reinventing strategic planning. At the Reinventing Strategic Planning organizing meeting, the sponsors determined that they wanted to
investigate the development of strategic plans to assist in the following functions:

- organizational transformation,
- recognizing and evaluating new business opportunities,
- resolving uncertainty,
- linking strategic planning and resource allocation, and
- creating measures to evaluate the success of the strategic planning process.

The study identified and explored best practices in each of the focus areas.


Benchmarking is the process of identifying, understanding, and adapting outstanding practices from organizations anywhere in the world to help another organization improve its performance. Companies participating in benchmarking activities report breakthrough improvements in directly and indirectly improving cost control, quality, cycle time, and profits. The American Productivity & Quality Center conducted this benchmarking study of innovative practices in strategic planning using its benchmarking model, as described below.

Phase 1: Planning
Phase 2: Collecting
Phase 3: Analyzing and Reporting
Phase 4: Adapting


The study revealed a range of findings regarding the practice of strategic planning. The key findings related to strategic planning activities in the partner companies are categorized in two main areas: content-related and process-related findings.

Section 1: Content-Related Key Findings
Section 2: Process-Related Key Findings
Section 3: Sponsor and Partner Differences
Section 4: Sponsor and Partner Similarities
Section 5: Tools and Techniques
Section 6: Summary Matrix
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- Sponsor and Partner Companies

A complete listing of the sponsor companies in this study, as well as the best-practice (“partner”) companies that were benchmarked for their innovation and
advancement in strategic planning.

- Executive Summary

A bird’s-eye view of the study, presenting the methodology used and the key findings discovered throughout the course of the study. These findings are explored in detail in following sections.

- Key Findings

An in-depth look at the 11 content- and process-related key findings, supported by organizational examples. Additional sections of findings explore the differences and similarities between partner and sponsor companies,
based on quantitative data, and the tools and techniques used in strategic planning. A summary matrix in the last key findings section recaps the findings in chart format.

- Partner Company Profiles

Background information on the partner companies, as well as their innovative strategic planning practices.

Note: Product cover images may vary from those shown
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Note: Product cover images may vary from those shown