Now is the time...For strategic Planning
Mar 03, 2020
For many organizations on a Summer or Fall fiscal financial schedule, NOW is the time to think about your budgets and plans for next year.
Strategic planning might sound intimidating, yet the process is critical to business success. In fact, it’s quite fulfilling, fun and exciting. It increases morale and teamwork, too.
Strategic planning is a step-by-step process to set priorities, focus organizational energy, allocate resources, strengthen operations, and ensure that team members and other stakeholders are working toward common goals. Strategic planning creates a set of desired, clearly articulated outcomes that take advantage of opportunities and produce our most broadly desired results.
If you are thinking about doing strategic planning for your team or organization, here are our 10 Best Practices For Strategic Planning From The Culture Coaches to consider.
- Allow plenty of time: Strategic planning takes about two months and 2-4 full days off-site with key leaders of the organization.
- Use an outside consultant or facilitator: They will bring expert processes, tools, best practices and keep your team on track.
- Engage stakeholders: Senior leaders will drive the process and the plan, but you should find ways to get perspectives of employees, customers, vendors and other stakeholders. Inclusion means engagement down the road.
- Use an effective plan document format: There are many options on the web. The most important aspect of the format you choose is that it’s simple enough for the receptionist to understand yet detailed enough that those accountable have very clear direction and expectations. A final plan will have key goals and strategies along with tactics and actions to get there, deadlines by when it will be accomplished and the one person who is accountable for that goal or strategy.
- Gain clarity and alignment around your organizations mission, vision, values and current operation structure and business model: You’d be surprised at how many people aren’t clear on these essential foundational elements of culture and strategy. It’s also important to gain clarity and agreement on the strategic terms you will be using. For a glossary of common terms click here.
- Determine your operational “model”: These are foundational, practical areas of the business that keep your doors open each day. Most organizations will have pillars related to finances, sales, customers, employees, technology and product-services, among others. Pillars allow you to keep a big picture view of the spinning plates that need attention to keep the whirlwind of your day-to-day operations going.
- Ask these two questions: Where are we at risk? What are the opportunities? These two simple questions asked in context of your mission, your vision, your values and your operating pillars will generate lots of ideas for you to consider.
- Less is more: Too many goals that move the organization forward will die on the vine because most employees are involved in what we call “the whirlwind.” The whirlwind is the activities that keep people busy each day just to keep your doors open. If you didn’t have any goals would your people be busy? I’m sure the answer is yes. The right number of organizational goals in one 6 month-1 year period is about 1 to 3. It should only take about 30% of your time each week to work on goals that move your organization forward. The rest is the reality of running the machine you have created.
- Prioritize: The tough part of strategic planning is that we have to say “no” to good ideas. Who wants to do that? But as mentioned earlier, too many new goals will be drowned by the whirlwind. Pick one or two key goals or “rally cries” that matter right now for the entire organization. Employees are engaged and motivated when they can ALL rally around a key initiative or idea that is clear, concise and consistent. Most employees want and need that, and can handle those activities on top of their day-to-day whirlwind.
- Over communicate and integrate: Once a plan is set, there needs to be an exciting roll out of the plan to employees and key stakeholders. For the execution to work, the leadership team must use this plan on a weekly and monthly basis. The plan should be reviewed for modifications quarterly. The plan should also be used in other systems such as performance management and reward and recognition. Share how we are doing against the goals and how someone’s job can impact the outcome of the plan.
“Building a visionary company requires one percent vision and 99 percent alignment.” —Jim Collins and Jerry Porras, Built to Last
“The reason most people never reach their goals is that they don’t define them, or ever seriously consider them as believable or achievable. Winners can tell you where they are going, what they plan to do along the way, and who will be sharing the adventure with them.” —Denis Watley