Strategic Planning - A Pragmatic Approach
"Failing to plan is planning to fail."
- Alan Lakein
In it's simplest form, strategic planning is a process for determining the following:
- "As Is" –Where are you?
- "To Be" –Where do you want to go?
- The "G.A.P." – How do you get there?
G.A.P. is our analogy for the distance between where you are and where you want to be. It is also our acronym for the Group Action Plan (or Strategic Plan) you will build and execute to achieve your vision, together. We describe the undertaking as a journey.
And, "no matter how long the journey, it is completed one step at a time".
Catch Your Limit's senior consultants work with organizations to not only facilitate the development of mission, vision, values and strategic plans, but to build guiding teams that can help make a strategic plan more than a document that gets filed away and brushed off when it's time to do the planning process all over again. And, we happen to love it ... it's a core way in which we help organizations to "catch their limit."
Long term initiatives, particularly strategic planning, represent a significant amount of resources (personnel, time, support, etc.) and require leadership/decision makers to be involved all along the way in order to achieve success.
Our approach to strategic planning emphasizes the importance of organizations being customer (or member) driven. We work with the leadership and boards to hone their "listening" skills and we provide opportunities for customers (internal and external) to share input.
It is critical that leadership be involved in:
- assessing market information
- engaging in the planning process
- committing to the strategic plan & needed resources
- holding the team accountable for the process
- making the agreed on vision a reality
What type of strategic planning process is right for you?
Well, that all depends.
In some cases, a leader may request "strategic planning" and may be referring to a one day visioning session to gather ideas on possible approaches for growth and moving their organizations forward.
In other cases, an organization may be facing several critical issues such as major changes in the environments in which they operate or they may be dealing with continual lack of commitment and accountability which results in stagnation.
Our consultants work with you to identify:
- what strategic planning approach is right for you
- how much time should be allotted (One day? One year?)
- the input that will need to be gathered ahead of time
- who should be recruited to participate in the process
- ways to address the challenges you face
How do we ensure/monitor the implementation of strategic plans?
"Fishing is easy. It's the catching that proves difficult."
- Old Fisherman
First and foremost, it is extremely important that leaders in organizations have a strong understanding and appreciation of the basic principles of successful change initiatives. Change takes time. And, often, when we work with leaders to implement strategic plans, we find that organizations are smack dab in the middle of (or they may need to be launching) a change initiative in order to achieve success.
- For example, one of the most common situations we encounter is a lack of accountability. Each year an organization has conducted a strategic planning process, but no one has clarified roles and responsibilities or held the team accountable for using the strategies outlined in the document as their guide for moving forward, making decisions and getting results.
- Another situation may be that the elements of the strategic plan are going to require a significant change in mindset of the team in order to accomplish the objectives. In that case, there needs to be an agreed upon approach for getting buy-in and commitment in order to move forward in a unified way. We have extensive experience in cultural change initiatives.
Below are some of the ways in which we work with the leadership (CEOs, Senior Leadership Teams, Boards, etc.) during strategic plan implementation:
- Authorize and commit to the strategic plan document
- Develop/update performance goals for CEO
- Allocate the resources necessary to implement the plan
- Create work plans for Board and Committees that are in alignment with the strategic plan
- Develop/update policies and procedures of board and staff to guide activities toward implementing the strategies and action plans from strategic planning.
- Develop/update job descriptions, performance evaluations, committee action plans and staff action plans to be in alignment with the performance expectations necessary to implement strategies from the strategic plan.
- Create staff status reports to CEO (bi-weekly or monthly) that focus on the day-to-day tasks required to work toward the accomplishment of the strategic plan
- Structure staff meetings (monthly or quarterly) to focus on strategic plan progress
- Develop CEO report at each board meeting to focus on strategic plan progress
- Outline guidelines for making adjustments/changes to the strategic plan