Strategic Planning

The best strategic planning processes focus on insight, preparedness, and agility—not bureaucracy. BCG helps companies adopt this approach to create lasting value across the entire organization.

Most organizations see their strategic planning approaches as too rigid and reactive; many believe in the common misconception that the purpose of strategic planning is creating annual budgets and five-year plans. Such approaches can work in stable and relatively predictable industries, but stability is less and less the norm.

We help clients not only develop winning corporate and business strategies, but also design, build, and operate world-class strategic planning processes that yield sharp insights and drive results.

Our Approach to Strategic Planning

The most effective approaches emulate four strategic planning best practices and deliver strategies with four essential characteristics.

  • Explore strategy at multiple time horizons. The long, medium, and short term need to be addressed individually. Each demands different goals, stakeholders, and rhythms—and none should be ignored.
  • Reinvent and stimulate and strategic dialogue regularly. It’s easy for a strategic planning process to fall prey to the law of diminishing returns. With too much repetition, the exercise can become stale. Leading practitioners inject inspiration and drive results by focusing on a changing set of strategic questions—and by redesigning processes that no longer fit the pace of the strategic environment.
  • Engage the broad organization and beyond. Going outside the central strategy team to business leads, board members, agile teams, customers, and even suppliers can help avoid groupthink, boost preparedness and responsiveness, and lead to better strategy execution.
  • Invest in execution and monitoring. Clear communication is essential, but so is an action-oriented mindset supported by the right capital allocation, organization, and metrics. Priority strategic initiatives need to be protected from the day-to-day and tracked on a shared performance dashboard.

Strategic Planning in an Agile Environment

Organizations are embracing agile ways of working, which accelerate results by giving teams significant autonomy. But autonomy without alignment can lead to chaos. If strategy alignment is hard in traditional settings, rapid strategic planning and continuous strategy re-alignment in fast-changing markets is even harder. BCG’s Scan, Orient, Decide, Act approach can help ensure teams are rowing in the same direction and provide critical feedback on weak signals that may suggest the strategy needs to be rethought.





Explore Featured Solutions and Resources

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The Strategy Palette

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BCG Strategy Enablement Center

The Center helps clients implement strategic planning best practices.

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BCG Center for Growth and Innovation Analytics

The Center helps clients find tomorrow’s best opportunities by mining vast, unstructured data sets for insight.

Our Insights on Strategic Planning

Our Strategic Planning Experts