“So what is luck? Oh that’s easy. Luck happens when there is a confluence of good planning and opportunity.”
My approach to Strategic Planning is to introduce a process, which is as inclusive as possible involving all Constituencies and Stakeholders in a collaborative dialogue about the future of your organization. This approach is necessarily and consciously slow and methodical and in its early stages may feel a little like watching paint dry! But the long-term benefits are enormous. As the process gains traction, credibility and momentum, it speeds up as buy in across your organization grows. This means that when the Plan is announced it is recognized as the Plan everyone contributed to and is now deeply invested in. This will remove major obstacles for the immediate future and provide alignment throughout the organization. In the early stages of implementation these are very real advantages although there will still need to be regular checks and course corrections over the next few years.
The following is an outline of this process.
Stage 1 Data Gathering
This stage is a situational analysis on where the organization currently stands. We will evaluate both internal and external components, and determine how new strategies may impact their standing. This is also where we will establish core values for the strategy, along with a communications plan for all parties and ideas for the creation of the Strategic Planning Steering Committee.
Stage 2 Visioning
The Committee defines its vision for the strategy, identifying opportunities coming from the Situational Analysis.
Stage 3 Strategic Developments
The Committee brainstorms and agrees upon specific strategies for the project. Strategies move the organization from its current state as contained in the Situational Analysis to a new desired state as reflected in the Vision statement.
Stage 4 Alignment
We develop an alignment strategy to ensure the organization and its people are positioned for maximum success once the strategy is implemented.
Stage 5 Completion Dissemination and Implementation
Throughout the process, I will have codified the findings and ideas, but the deliverable at the end will be a written plan document with the situational analysis (outlining the mission and values), the vision for the project, strategies, operating realities, financial projections, and a set of chosen benchmarks for evaluation.
The plan will include a detailed and actionable implementation schedule. The completed final plan should be disseminated to the whole organization, all stakeholders and constituents through a carefully organized public announcement. This will be an opportunity to celebrate and thank and to create tremendous energy and enthusiasm for the future.
I have found in planning that being the sole consultant is helpful in establishing consistency, transparency, and thereby bonds of trust among the various constituencies and although I may bring in an expert or two for particular areas of work, I would be your Lead Consultant for the whole process.
“Without a vision of the most desirable future, it is of course impossible to plan for that future.”