Strategic Planning is About Decision Making

31.01.20 01:29 PM By Kelly Schaefbauer

Do the Best With What You Have.

Every organization has limited resources (some more so than others). These include: cash, staff, knowledge/skill, time, space, technology, etc. So, what is the best use of those limited resource to move your organization forward.


I believe the three primary elements of an operations are structure, iteration, and oversight. My simple explanation of iteration is “to do the best with what you have to expand what you… then repeat”.


So, what is “what you have”. I regularly suggest to business owners to “take an inventory” of your organization, so you know “what you have”…what are your assets.

Once you know “what you have “, you can then decide how to “do the best with them”…this is strategic planning. The process of deciding includes evaluating the inventory you just took and determine what’s the most limiting factor to expand the organization. This limiting factor is often referred to as a bottleneck or constraint.


This bottleneck or constraint could be a bad process, an untrained person, a poor policy, etc. We often use data analytics to assist us in determining the most limiting factors. When in doubt, I ask “what is the task that everyone hates to do”. Often, that’s the bottleneck.


At the end of the day decision making in an organization needs to maximize the impact of the limited resources at each stage (iteration) of growth. I’ve heard the analogy of knowing which levers to pull and when.


If you’d like to learn more about bottlenecks and The Theory of Constraints, I’d recommend you read The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement, by Eliyahu M. Goldratt. I also found a few good YouTube videos on the topic: https://youtu.be/5HStf-XbsSo