Chiefs of staff possess a strong work ethic, exceptional analytical and problem-solving skills, and high emotional intelligence – traits essential for effective strategic planning. Here’s how these professionals contribute to business development.
- What strategic planning involves
- How it can benefit your business
- Why chiefs of staff are good strategic planners
- How chiefs of staff contribute to strategy
Chiefs of Staff play an increasingly crucial role in decision making within organizations. They channel a company’s culture, values, and engagement and lead the organization in setting, tracking, and achieving its objectives. They enable organizations to double down on the value of leadership by using the right strategy and tools to achieve goals set by the CEO.
For context of how a Chief of Staff impacts strategic planning, let’s first look at what strategic planning entails and its importance in business development.
What is strategic planning?
Strategic planning is developing a defined, data-driven business strategy to achieve short-term and long-term goals and objectives. At its core, strategic planning is all about prioritizing mission-critical objectives and efficiently allocating resources to achieve them while ensuring organizational and stakeholder goals remain aligned.
It’s an ongoing process that requires businesses to continuously evaluate and respond to new opportunities and threats as they arise. Strategic planning can set your business in the right direction and make you more competitive when executed effectively.
Why strategic planning is essential for business development
There are three key roles strategic planning plays in business development. These include:
1. Eliminating cognitive bias when making decisions
Biases and flaws in reasoning can be detrimental to your business goals. It is often tempting to favor an idea or course of action when it’s recent or fresh in your mind, seems to be the most obvious decision, or evokes a sense of familiarity. Other times, you may subconsciously favor data that supports your idea without considering the validity of opposing viewpoints.
Strategic planning draws your attention to cognitive bias and helps. It helps you evaluate different viewpoints and ideas (based on data, projections, or case studies) to make the best decisions for your business development agenda. This approach may require significant investments in time and effort, but the results are worth it – your organization will become stronger, more efficient, and more competitive.
2. Helping your organization move in unison through a single, forward-focused vision
Getting shareholders and employees on board with your company’s goals is incredibly challenging if they don’t know their goals, why they exist, and how to achieve them. These scenarios can have serious trickle-down effects and create division within your company, with some teams pursuing goals that counteract the organization’s goals. Strategic planning unites your company and its stakeholders through a shared vision, providing clarity on your organization’s strategy so that they can align it with personal and team goals.
3. Enabling you to track progress and optimize business performance easily
Strategic planning can help you measure progress toward achieving mission-critical objectives through a top-down approach to monitoring KPIs. It enables you to identify KPIs at the organizational level, then extend them to business units, departments, teams, and individuals to optimize your business’s overall performance.
Having a Chief of Staff to help with strategic planning can significantly maximize these benefits. Below, we explore what makes these professionals good strategic planners and how they can contribute to your organization’s strategy.
What makes chiefs of staff good strategic planners?
Chiefs of staff possess a strong work ethic and exceptional problem solving skills, bringing valuable insights for business growth to organizations. They are also highly analytical, which helps them assess different strategies based on data and discover the best ways to streamline processes and workflows.
In addition, these professionals have very high emotional intelligence, enabling them to examine ideas based on merit rather than how they feel about them. It also means you can count on them to keep their head in the game and make rational decisions even under intense pressure. Traits like empathy are also valuable for a Chief of Staff, adding to their overall emotional intelligence.
Their acute social awareness allows them to understand the desires and motivations of stakeholders on a very deep level. As a result, they can accurately perceive how stakeholders react to different strategies and develop receptive solutions to maximize organizational efficiency.
How chiefs of staff contribute to strategy
At the most basic level, the chiefs of staff oversee the strategic planning process. This involves scheduling all relevant meetings, collaborating with other leaders and subject matter experts to gain useful business development insights ahead of time, and documenting these outputs.
With all the essential information, chiefs of staff use OKRs to build an implementation strategy and align organizational goals from top to bottom. To ensure everything goes according to plan, chiefs of staff can meet with the CEO and leadership team weekly, monthly, or quarterly to review the progress of critical initiatives and KPIs and measure them against strategic goals throughout the cycle.
Chiefs of staff also ensure that there’s no ambiguity in pursuit of the organization’s mission by providing a unified view of top priorities that employees can reference at any time. This includes establishing a single source of truth such as a slack channel or a standing Notion doc where information about company goals flows to keep all employees updated about the organization’s direction and how their work fits into it.
Get expert help with strategic planning from our fractional chiefs of staff
Chiefly consultants can help your organization be more productive, efficient, and growth-ready. Our fractional chiefs of staff help CEOs with daily tasks, strategic planning, and other special projects. With years of experience running their own businesses, our agile chiefs of staff can help you build an effective strategy, continuously look for areas of improvement, and pivot when needed to grow your business effectively. Schedule a free consultation with Chiefly consultants to learn how we may be of service.