Preparation Steps to Get the Most Out of the Strategic Planning Process
A solid strategic plan can provide a road map for the organization’s future. But without the right input and preparation, you can end up with just another expensive binder of good ideas gathering dust on the shelf. To get the most out of the strategic planning process and position yourself to develop a plan worth implementing, you have to set the intention and prepare for the process.
Step 1: Setting the Context for Planning
Think of the parameters under which you and your team will be undertaking the strategic plan for your organization and determine what success will look like. Identify specific issues you will need to address during planning, and gain agreement on any non-negotiable aspects that need to be identified before the planning begins.
→ How well are we achieving our vision? Could we have a greater impact? Is the vision still relevant?
→ Are we living up to our mission? Is the mission still relevant?
→ Are our operations financially viable, stable?
→ Are we committed to look objectively and gather the needed information – organizational strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats; effectiveness of current programs; current and future community needs; competitor and potential collaborator information?
→ Most importantly – are we willing to question the status quo, ask hard questions, face difficult questions, and support organizational change that may arise from the planning process?
Step 2: Designing the Process
Take the time to create a process that will engage the right stakeholders over the right amount of time to ensure a quality outcome. Look at your previous experience with strategic planning and determine the parameters you need to put into place that will make this process uniquely suited to your own organization’s needs.
→ Who will have input into the plan and who will be decision makers?
→ Do we have the right mix of individuals involved – strategic thinkers, action takers, big-picture thinkers, detail-oriented thinkers?
→ Do we have enough organizational resources committed for successful completion of the planning process – staff time, leadership and board time, funds for research or consultants?
→ Will we use an existing committee or a strategic planning committee for coordination and planning assistance?
→ Who will lead the process?
→ Who will be the primary writer of the plan?
→ Do we have the capability to undertake the plan on our own or should we bring in a consultant?
Step 3: Develop a Resource Gathering Plan
Identify how you will gather information from both internal and external stakeholders to utilize in the planning process.
→ What external and internal information is needed to inform the planning process?
→ What resources already exist and which will we need to develop?
→ Are there gaps in data that must be researched?
→ What are the key drivers for institutional success?
→ Are there any high-impact decisions that will be made in the near future by an external funder or governing body that will impact planning?
→ Should we bring in a panel of topic experts to address our planning team?
Sage & Summit Consulting has an elegant 3 step process to facilitating a Strategic Plan. The planning process is simple, practical, and powerful.
Thanks to an oversupply of management consultants and scholars, strategy has become too complex. Jargon in books and business journals create the impression that only specialists are to engage in strategic planning. On the other hand, for many it is a notional process that is done from time to time to satisfy funding agencies. Either way, it creates a beautiful document that gather dust until next time.
Sage & Summit strategic planning process is user friendly, driven by the organization, and built to implement. A strong strategy benefits organizations in more ways than mere direction:
– creates an opportunity to foster an engaged, accountable workforce;
– create a space for a outcomes driven organizational design;
– engages stakeholders and
– improves credibility and sustainability;
– saves money;
– supports a positive leadership culture.