Growth mapping vs. strategic planning

by Deb Knupp /

Traditional Strategic Planning is an important aspect of an organization’s preparation for the future. But at GrowthPlay we aim to help clients not just prepare but evolve in ways that will allow them to thrive in the future. To do that they must optimize their growth engine by asking a different set of questions than they might in traditional strategic planning. We call this process Growth Mapping because the objective is to map where you are today to where you want to be in the future, and identify the requirements, priorities, roles, and activities that will get you there—based on what matters most to you.

In Growth Mapping, we focus not so much on what you need to do, but who you want to be in the future. The business you are in is defined by what clients pay you to do today. Understanding not just who your clients are but also how and why they engage with you provides the foundation for making decisions about your core identity as an organization—as it stands now and how you would like it to change.

We think of this Growth Mapping process as “outside-in” rather than “inside-out.” No matter how detailed your strategic plan, if you’re creating goals in a vacuum (from the inside out), you may not be moving in the right direction. It’s only when organizations look from the outside in, from the needs of their clients to an assessment of how well they are meeting those needs, that they can articulate a vision for where they want to go and create a map they can follow to get there.

This means taking an honest look at where you are as an organization and, in many cases, acknowledging that you don’t have the answers to many important questions about your vision, your clients, and your current work and sales process. But the questions themselves are a starting point, and unlike sometimes rigid traditional strategic planning, Growth Mapping forecasts across a shorter term, and remains a living and flexible process that can respond to new information and new demands.

The most important thing is to begin.