Strategic Planner Skills (With Definition and Examples)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 25 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Strategic planners are responsible for creating strategies to facilitate processes within an organisation. They're responsible for various duties, including research, project management and portfolio creation. Learning about a career as a strategic planner may help you decide if this is the right path for you. In this article, we define what a strategic planner is, discover key strategic planner skills, explain how to improve these skills and discuss how to highlight these skills on your resume.

What is a strategic planner?

Strategic planners are educated individuals who help in creating business strategies for companies. They're typically experts in the industry they work in and are ready to make viable recommendations to assist companies in reaching their goals. Strategic planners know a company well enough to create and present business strategies to the organisation's leadership team and stakeholders successfully. Some of the most common duties of a strategic planner include:

  • analysing an organisation's goals and objectives

  • identifying any areas that need improvement within the organisation

  • conducting market research and analysing industry and market trends

  • creating reports regarding strategies for review by senior management

  • making presentations about research and findings

Related: What are Strategic Plans? Definition, Method and Examples

Key strategic planner skills

There are numerous strategic planner skills that allow these professionals to operate in their roles successfully. Some of these skills include:

Analytical

Strategic planners examine a variety of data and use it to develop successful organisational strategic plans. Market analysis, data analysis and feasibility analysis are some kinds of analyses a strategic planner could conduct. Systematic and logical thinking and deductive and inductive reasoning are important analytical talents for strategic planners to have.

Related: Definition and Examples of Analytical Skills

Communication

As a strategic planner, communicating and collaborating with others is essential. They can successfully convey their findings and the plan they've devised to help a company achieve its goals. They're good listeners who can hear and grasp both the company's overall needs and the specific needs of its personnel. Negotiation, collaboration, persuasion, listening, presentation skills and constructive criticism are some of the communication skills strategic planners possess.

Critical thinking

Critical thinking refers to a person's capacity to assess information and reach a credible conclusion based on objective judgement. Strategic planners assess a variety of sources, including facts and data and derive judgments from them. Critical thinking skills also help them observe and analyse information.

Related: Master Your Strategic Thinking Skills in 8 Simple Steps

Problem-solving

Many organisations employ strategic planners to help a business overcome difficulties. If an organisation isn't making its revenue targets, a strategic planner can examine the problem and come up with a credible plan to accomplish those targets. They're able to interpret data efficiently and apply what they learn to develop feasible solutions.

Leadership

Many strategists hold positions of leadership. Those who aren't may still have excellent leadership abilities to assist peers and supervisors in achieving a common goal that supports the company's overall goals. Strategic planners in leadership positions are frequently in charge of a strategy team, encouraging and inspiring them to achieve their objectives. Directing, managing and delegating are good leadership skills to have.

Marketing

Strategic planners have a thorough understanding of the market in which they work. They conduct market research to identify growth ideas and solutions to a company's marketing problems. They can also assist in the development of marketing strategies by evaluating organisational growth strategies and identifying potential marketing issues that are preventing these strategies from succeeding.

Research

Strategic planners are competent researchers because a large part of their job entails conducting research and developing effective strategies based on the results. Research skills include a variety of other abilities, such as attention to detail, data gathering and data interpretation. Market and trend research are two types of study that strategic planners conduct.

Information technology

To consolidate data and findings, many strategic planners use various sorts of information technology. They may also work with an organisation's information technology department to develop ideas to improve its efficiency. Other information technology skills include troubleshooting, data analysis and the ability to use various computer systems.

Business development

Because much of strategic planning depends on helping an organisation improve its value through the expansion of markets and customers, business development is an important component. A strategic planner's ability to create effective strategies is vital. They assist a company to reach its goals through a comprehensive understanding of business development approaches.

How to improve strategic planner skills

When an employer is hiring, they usually consider a candidate's skills. Here are some tips on how to improve these skills and better your chances of getting short-listed:

1. Get in the habit of looking at the big picture

Before strategic planners make smart decisions and build effective strategies, they practise seeing the big picture. Take the time to thoroughly comprehend a situation from a big-picture perspective using the facts you've obtained. The better you understand a scenario, the more likely you are to predict hazards and devise solutions to mitigate them while assisting a company in achieving its objectives.

2. Enrol in a course or class

There are numerous strategic planning courses and classes on offer. Many of them are free and available to complete online. It's easy to participate in them in your spare time. For example, taking a course in leadership development may help you improve your leadership qualities.

3. Look for a mentor

Find someone you admire who has excellent strategic planning skills and lots of experience and ask them to be your mentor. A mentor can assist you in honing your strategic planner skills and providing the necessary feedback to keep you on track. When you have a mentor, it means you also have support and encouragement for growth.

Related: What Is a Mentor and How Can It Improve Your Career?

4. Ask the proper questions

To build a credible strategy that helps a company to achieve its goals and objectives, strategic planners practise asking the right questions. Asking questions may allow you to make better decisions on how to proceed. To improve your strategic thinking skills, spend time formulating questions for various situations.

Related: How to Improve Communication Skills (With Tips)

5. Improve your listening

Listening to what an organisation needs and using that information to develop effective plans are essential aspects of strategic planning. When chatting with another person, practise your listening skills by keeping an open mind. Remaining open to input from others and listening attentively may make your job easier.

Highlighting strategic planning skills on your resume

On your resume, you want to show how you've used your strategic planning skills instead of just stating it. Giving specific examples in your resume introduction and work experience section is much more effective than listing your skills in the skills section. When adding your past job duties, describe how you used these skills to achieve your set goals. Look at every job description you'd like to apply to and try to customise your resume for every application. Here are some examples of these skills in action:

Examples:

  • delivering sales reporting and sales performance statistics to senior management by working directly with sales teams in multiple international countries

  • producing ad-hoc management reports on a variety of topics, including pricing and inventory management and revenue by category and customer

  • assisting with the formulation and tracking of key performance metrics for the business plan

  • creating a methodology for evaluating new products or services and their strategic and financial implications

  • liaising with internal and cross-functional teams on capital management and budget planning priorities

  • providing ad-hoc analysis support to the group

  • managing the flow of data from external sources

  • assisting senior managers and partners with proposal writing, business development and administration

  • providing subject matter technical expertise to the delivery team in the areas of strategic planning, change management and business process improvement

  • processing reform, leadership development and assisting clients with implementing changes to existing management practices and procedures

  • supervising and evaluating the work of other employees

  • for the business segment, providing leadership and guidance in competitive analysis

  • supporting overall strategy planning towards the accomplishment of lab-wide goals and objectives by facilitating collaboration and alignment throughout the lab's scientific areas

  • broad understanding of key industry and market developments affecting the business section

  • preparing and managing strategic planning meetings (on- and off-site), which entailed directing participants through deliberative and decision-making processes on critical issues identified by senior leadership

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