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Useful Questions to Inform Strategic Planning

By Norbert Schwartz

The chairman of a board on which I serve recently asked me to offer a few suggestions on strategic issues that might be discussed by the board during its executive session. As this is an issue that comes up often for family businesses, these questions are summarized here to help you think through the core points that your family’s business needs to be addressing on a regular basis:

  1. What are the company’s greatest opportunities and challenges given the current projected political and economic climate?
  2. How do our core competencies stack up to what will be required of the company to meet those challenges and opportunities?
  3. What are the top three strategic imperatives for the company and how are operating decisions influenced by these imperatives?
  4. What are the current five most important measurable goals for management?
  5. How are these strategies and goals referenced in the job descriptions and accountabilities of executive management?
  6. Do we have the right CEO to take us into the future?
  7. How well is senior management’s compensation linked to company performance?
  8. What can be done to improve communication, teamwork and decision-making within the management team?
  9. What will ownership look like when the company is fully transitioned to the next generation?
  10. What are current owner expectations for the company and how might they differ from those of the next generation?



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