The needs of customers and organizations (large and small) are changing at the speed of technology and increased diversity. More than ever, businesses need strategic thinkers.
Strategic planning is an essential skill for a number of jobs. While some people hold the specific job title of “strategic planner” (or “strategic planning associate” or “strategic planning manager”), there are other jobs that require strategic planning skills even though “strategic” may not be in the position’s title. Basically, management consultants, business developers, corporate developers, strategic cost analysts, and operations analysts all need strong strategic planning skills.
What Are Strategic Planning Skills?
Strategic planning is the process of setting a vision for a company and then realizing that vision through small, achievable goals. People who work in strategic planning help set goals, decide what actions need to be taken by employees, and help employees achieve those goals.
Of course, each job will require different skills and experiences, so make sure you read the job description carefully and focus on the required skills listed by the employer when writing cover letters and resumes, and participating in job interviews.
When you're job hunting, taking the time to match your strategic planning skills to the qualifications listed in the job posting can help you get hired.
Types of Strategic Planning Skills
People working in strategic planning need to be able to analyze and evaluate a company’s business plan. They have to be skilled in market analysis, feasibility analysis, and more. Only through an analytical eye can strategic planners decide what steps a company needs to take.
- Attention to Detail
- Calculating Costs for Implementation
- Critical Thinking
- Defining Mechanisms for Input
- Defining Purpose of the Strategic Planning Process
- Developing a Plan for Implementing Strategies
- Logical Thinking
- Inductive Reasoning
- Deductive Reasoning
- Systematic Thinking
A large part of a strategic planner’s job is communicating a business plan to employers and employees. They have to explain (by both speaking and writing) the steps employees need to take to achieve company goals.
Strategic planners need to be active listeners. They have to listen to the needs of the employers before devising a plan of action.
They also need to listen to the concerns and ideas of their peers and subordinates.
- Active Listening
- Facilitating Group Discussion
- Creating Mission/Vision Statements
- Handling Constructive Criticism
- Engaging Reluctant Members in Discussions
- People Skills
- Public Speaking
- MS PowerPoint
- Team Building
- Verbal Communication
- Written Communication
- Active Listening
Strategic planning involves frequent decision-making. Strategic planners must select a course of action to help a company achieve its goals without constant doubts and overthought. They need to be able to examine all of the information available to them and then confidently make a thoughtful decision.
- Assigning Leaders
- Building Consensus
- Establishing Measurable Objectives for Goals/Projects
- Creating and Enforcing Timelines
- Goal Oriented
A strategic planner has to lead subordinates, peers, and supervisors towards a common goal. This takes strong leadership skills. They must be able to inspire, motivate, and ensure all team members remain loyal to project goals.
- Establishing Incentives
- Recognizing the Contributions of Key Players
Often, strategic planners are there to solve a problem. Perhaps a company is not meeting its financial goals, or its processes are running inefficiently. A strategic planner analyzes data related to the problem and then offers a solution.
- Aligning Business Practices with Emerging Strategy
- Identifying Obstacles
- Problem Sensitivity
- Stress Tolerance
More Strategic Planning Skills
- Defining Milestones
- Project Management
- Human Resources
- Talent Management
- Process Management
- Ongoing Improvement
- SWOT Analysis
- Data Analysis
- Customer Segmentation
- Recognizing Industry Trends
- Mind Map Software
- Long-term Planning
- Risk Management
- Causal Relationships
How to Make Your Skills Stand Out
Add Relevant Skills to Your Resume: You can use these skill words in your resume by including these keywords in descriptions throughout your work history.
Highlight Skills in Your Cover Letter: In the body of your cover letter, try to mention one or two of these skills and give specific examples of how you have demonstrated those skills in the workplace.
Use Skill Words in Your Job Interview: Make sure you have at least one example of a time you demonstrated each of the top skills listed above.