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If you have not started already, it is a great time to ask yourself and your organization innovative strategic planning questions to identify your best opportunities and prepare for implementation next year. Maybe it is because the new year is approaching quickly that conference presenters the past week prompted twenty innovative strategic planning questions – either directly or by me turning a statement into a creative question to answer.

Photo by; MMchen | Source: photocase.com

Presenters offering these strategic planning questions included Fast Company co-founder, Bill Taylor at the FastKC luncheon and several presenters at the marcus evans B2B Summit in Colorado Springs, including authors Mitch Joel, Joe Pulizzi, and business leaders Atul Vohra (Solera Holdings, Inc.), Michael P. Guillory (Texas Instruments), and Curt Porritt (Master Control Inc.) I spoke on Taking the NO Out of Business InNOvation at the marcus evans B2B Summit.

As you get ready for implementation next year, make sure you are considering these innovative strategic planning questions to boost next year’s results!

Strategy & Purpose Questions

  • In this age of disruption for businesses and markets, what do we stand for and strongly advocate as an organization that makes us special? (Bill Taylor)
  • Are we asking enough “why” questions, since they tie to our business plan? If we are not asking enough of them, why is that? (Mitch Joel)
  • What are we the “most of” in our field? (Bill Taylor)
  • Don’t ask, “What keeps us up at night?” Ask, “What gets us up in the morning?” (Bill Taylor)

Strategic Marketing Questions

  • What are we doing to reboot our marketing for the new realities of customers buying in dramatically different ways? (Mitch Joel)
  • What are our plans to introduce more sense-based cues into our product or service? (Bill Taylor – Umpqua Bank features local music in its branch offices)
  • How are we going to start our own media channels (by creating content) instead of renting them (through buying advertising)? (Joe Pulizzi)
  • Once we’ve created content, what are 10 ways we can re-imagine and package it in new ways? (Joe Pulizzi)
  • Are we putting lead forms and next steps options into all of the content our organization creates and shares? (Joe Pulizzi)
  • What metrics and strategic thinking exercises are we using to stay away from “marketing by what happened last” (i.e., you just had a good trade show so there’s a push to do more of those)? (Curtis Porritt)

Customer and Market Questions

  • What are we trying to do for our customers? (Atul Vohra)
  • When it comes to customers, how is our organization shifting from a “how many” to “who” focus? (Mitch Joel)
  • How will the growing BRIC and BOP markets fit in our market plans the next 3 years? (Atul Vohra)
  • If someone doesn’t interpret what we wrote as expected, what’s to say they’re wrong? What can we learn from the misinterpretation? (Interactive Session comment)

Learning Organization Questions

Marketing Metrics Questions

  • How many meaningless numbers are part of our marketing metrics? (Michael Guillory)
  • How many people are searching for our brand name or URL – spelled correctly? (Curtis Porritt)
  • If we’re using in-person events in our marketing plans, who were the new people and companies we met this year, and how are we turning them into customers? (Michael Guillory)

Number 20 – My New Favorite Strategic Planning Question

  • To identify potential value for a client in a B2B market, ask clients, “What do you never want to do again?” Then provide the means for them to never have to do what they don’t want to do again. (Unnamed B2B Summit participant)

Are You Ready for What’s Ahead?

If you’d like assistance in getting your annual planning for next year done faster than ever, call us at 816-509-5320 or email info@brainzooming.com. Our Brainzooming name means what it says: we’ll stretch your brains to consider new opportunities and quickly zoom them into a plan that’s ready for next year when next year starts! We’d love to help you hit next year zooming!   – Mike Brown

 

If you’re struggling with determining ROI and evaluating its impacts, download “6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track” today!  This innovative article provides a concise, strategic view of the numbers and stories that matter in shaping, implementing, and evaluating your strategy. You’ll learn lessons about when to address measurement strategy, identifying overlooked ROI opportunities, and creating an innovative 6-metric dashboard. Download Your Free Copy of “6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track!”

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Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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17 Responses to “20 Innovative Strategic Planning Questions to Prepare for Next Year”

  1. Joe Pulizzi says:

    Excellent Mike…great round up of questions.  Good thinking piece heading into 2012.

  2. This is a great post, Mike. So many important questions that need to be asked. I am a huge fan of the ones about meaningless marketing metrics and owned media spaces versus rented ones.

    I think there is an even bigger point this post highlights — The fact that we need to be asking questions about how we do business as part of our 2012 planning process. So many people/companies just jump right into the ideas. To be strategic, we have to dig a bit deeper than that.

  3. Devan Perine says:

    Really loving this one: “Don’t ask, “What keeps us up at night?” Ask, “What gets us up in the morning?” (Bill Taylor)

    I think a lot of business owners lose track of why they started their businesses in the first place – and when planning for the future, they don’t take that into consideration. We wrote a little bit about strategic planning and that whole concept, and would love to get your thoughts on it: http://www.enmast.com/2012/04/02/doing-what-you-love/

    Really great questions here, Mike. Thanks so much for sharing!

  4. sanchezjb says:

    Mike, very much enjoyed reading your post.

    There is a very strong emphasis on “we” in these questions.  That’s not necessarily bad but these questions should also have an external focus.  A couple of additional questions that I would add:

    * What do our customers need that we are not providing and how can we provide that?

    * What has the potential to change our customers’ needs?

    * How are our competitors winning?

    * How are our competitors losing?

    Great leaders may not have the right answers but they know how to get to the right answers by asking the right questions.

    • Mike Brown says:

      Good point on the “we” focus, and nice additions to the list. The questions are worded with “we” since as planning questions, I’d want a reader/client to be taking control of their strategy vs. thinking there are factors they can’t do anything about.

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