STRATEGIC PLANNING: Some Dos and Don’ts to Consider When Charting a Course to a Successful Future
Many organizations today understand that with the challenges faced in today’s economy, it is essential that they take a hard look at who they are, what’s important to them, and how they are going to move forward successfully with smaller staffs, fewer resources. They know they need to make some changes, but the task seems daunting. A well-mapped out Strategic Planning engagement can be enormously productive in helping an organization adapt and move forward.
Considering a Strategic Planning meeting? The following are some insights into the process, which I hope you will find useful.
1. DO Engage in Regular Strategic Planning. The world is changing so fast that strategies for success that made sense even a year ago may no longer hold true. Re-visiting and clarifying the organization’s mission, values, goals, and strategies on a regular basis helps to create a strong framework that will allow the organization to be flexible and effective in dealing with change. (create a plan!)
2. DO Hire Professional Help. Without an outside coach or facilitator, most groups get sidetracked or bogged down, and waste a lot of time. An outside professional has the ability to stimulate the group to get out of their usual ways of doing things, seeing things, and interacting with each other. And they will push the group to stay focused and complete its agenda. (ask for help or find resources to help you)
3. DON’T Expect To Coast Through It. An effective Strategic Planning meeting takes commitment and hard work. It will likely include pre-work, and often some carefully chosen reading assignments. The meeting itself may span several hours — or days. And once all this is done, the real work begins: holding oneself and others accountable to move forward with the actions committed to. (be realistic with results and the amount of work…)
4. DO Expect That Sparks Will Fly. Tempers may flair, tears may be shed. Again, a skilled facilitator or coach will help the group navigate through the heated emotions and channel that passion into breakthrough creative thinking and action. (prepare for heated disagreements and focus on your goals)
5. DON’T Be Surprised When Resistance Appears. As much as people clamor for things to change, most of the time we hope that the results can be different butwithout us having to be different. An important step in the process of redefining strategy and goals may be gaining awareness of our own resistance to changing how we do things.
6. DO Notice How the Cream Rises to the Top. It becomes clear very quickly that there are those who just like to hear themselves talk — and those who are willing to take action. The structure and clarity of this kind of work empowers individual performers, which benefits the entire organization.
7. DO Include Everyone. While the leadership of an organization may be most involved in determining the Strategic Plan, for this plan to actually work all levels of the organization must be engaged and included. People support what they help to create.
8. DON’T Neglect to Celebrate. Planning and execution are hard work — especially if your goal is to take the organization down a new path. Take time out to celebrate your early wins! (Acknowledge your small accomplishments – they are important)
9. DO create goals that you can measure. How long will it take? What resources are needed? What is the desired outcome? What gets measured gets done. (Quantify)
10. DON’T Stop Now. Become a Culture of Constant Improvement. Strategic Planning allows us to respond actively to the question: How can we be better at what we do? As innovation is stimulated, the organization becomes more attractive to all its constituents — staff, members, clients, shareholders. (Kaizen)
Thank you, Christina!!!
Christina McEntee has worked with individuals and companies in the U.S., Europe, and the Far East. She has a background in leadership, sales management, and strategic planning, and has held the position of President and CEO, and VP of Sales of a NASDAQ-traded company. Today, Christina advises individual professionals as well as businesses and non-profit organizations on issues of strategy, sales, and individual performance.