Written by Wisdom Counselors
When having discussions on strategic planning with both potential and existing clients, I get the same basic responses. Can we just quickly do this and get it over? Let’s map out 10 years so we won’t have to revisit this topic again. Can I hire someone to do that for me because it takes too much time and I don’t have the time to commit to this project? My favorite is the turned in paperwork that illustrates little to no thought. You know where a person finds other documents and copy and paste information from all over the place. Unfortunately, the end result is a document that consists of a lot of information and not enough on a true plan specifically for that organization. Well, upper level administrators, help is on the way. The purpose of this article is to provide content of a template to make your life easier.
When I researched the word – strategy – it means to compose a plan, method, or series of maneuvers or stratagems for obtaining a specific goal or result. In other words, create a plan for your organization that not only will ensure your existence through the turbulences of life, but also one that will include a legacy. This is why this document is so vital. Without it, your organizational structure will collapse and your business will fail. To avoid a possible failed vision, here are some practical steps that will guide you through the process where the content of your document will be simple to understand and easy to apply.
A strategic plan is typically composed every 3 to 5 years. Personally, I recommend this time frame as opposed to the 10 year plan because the inevitable happens – life. As with any plan, there are sometimes unforeseen obstacles that arises that maybe out of your control so it is wise to consider those obstacles as you are planning. Also, revisit your plan every quarter to see if you are on track and need to make necessary changes.
When conducting a strategic planning meeting, the first course of action should be to conduct a SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats) analysis. The purpose of this process is to get a clear picture of your organization from all angles. The categories are as follows:
Category 1: Primary Goal Areas
Within this section, visualize the organization and identify all departments and/or areas that make up the organization.
Category 2: Establish Goals for the Identified Areas
Within this section, review all departments within the organization and specify where you would like them to be in 3 to 5 years. Some questions you may want to discuss are:
1) Are we satisfied with all programs as is or what can be done differently?
2) Do we need to add a new program to fulfill the overall vision/mission?
3) How do we envision this department or area functioning in the future?
Category 3: Break down Your Goals
Within this section, take the established 3 to 5 years goals and begin to break them down to yearly goals. Focus on the targeted areas. Some questions you may want to discuss are:
1) What actions do we need to take annually to ensure we meet the 3 to 5 year goals?
2) How do we envision this department or area functioning by the end of the year?
Category 4: Identify Your Strengths
Within this section, discuss your successes or wins in this department or area. In other words, discuss what worked and still works effectively.
Category 5: Identify Your Weaknesses
Within this section discuss your obstacles and challenges or what didn’t work in this department or area -- layout all errors and mistakes.
Category 6: Identify Your Opportunities and Threats
Within this section, discuss areas where you can grow or the best actions to take to address your obstacles or barriers. Some questions you can discuss are:
1) Who is our competition and what makes us different? What is our niche in the market?
2) How can we market our niche where we are galvanizing our target population?
3) What resources or partnerships do we need to establish or already have to push our brand?