How To Set Your Organization Up for Success
You’ve probably been cautioned at one time or another about “putting the cart before the horse.” While I’m a huge proponent of the value of strategic planning, I believe that adage is applicable to those organizations that dive right into the process — skipping the extremely worthwhile planning that comes first.
To ensure your strategic planning efforts go as smoothly as possible, and provide the results you desire, take these seven pre-planning steps:
- Establish/revisit the basics of your organization. This includes knowing your mission, who your stakeholders are, how your organization serves its target audience and whether it’s doing an adequate job, as well as identifying any other key questions that should be answered before and during the planning process.
- Secure your leadership team’s active and visible commitment. It’s extremely important to take the time to educate your leadership team on what you hope to accomplish by strategic planning — to ensure they understand and approve of the process before you get started. Failing to do so could result in it derailing.
- Gather the right people for the planning team. Who’s involved in the strategic planning process will vary based on your organization and its goals, but you can usually start with the leaders of key functional areas or departments of your organization. If your organization is a nonprofit or an association, your planning team must include your entire board of directors. Other participants should be selected based on their ability to positively contribute to the process and/or their areas of specialization.
- Consider the planning model you’ll use. You need to determine which planning model will serve you best: conventional strategic planning, issues-based strategic planning, organic strategic planning, real-time strategic planning, alignment model of strategic planning or inspirational model of strategic planning.
- Establish timelines. Your initial decision with respect to time will be how far out your strategic plan will cover — three years, five years or even more. Then you must establish a timeline for the planning process itself, which can be as short as four or five weeks if you’ve done it before, or as long as six months if you’re a first-timer.
- Consider who will facilitate. Will your planning facilitator be an in-house employee or an external planning consultant? Take into consideration that the important duty of facilitation needs to be handled by someone with relevant experience and expertise in facilitation. Cutting corners here can negatively affect the success of your planning process — and thus your strategic plan.
- Think about how your plan will be implemented and enforced. Yes, this should be done even before your strategic plan exists. There’s no reason to put a lot of work into developing your plan unless you’ve determined how it will be rolled out and how you’ll monitor compliance with it.
If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of strategic planning, be sure to reach out to us. For information on our strategic planning services, let us know how we can help. Feel free to schedule a call with me here.