Strategic Planning

The plan outline looks like this:

  • Defined values
  • Identify Stakeholders and Partners
  • Document the Vision
  • Document the Mission
  • Analysis (SWOT, Resources, Etc.)
  • Operations (policies, processes, and procedures)
  • The Plan (Security, Business, Marketing, and IT plans).
  • Execution (measurements)
  • Operations Improvements

The values of each of the individuals in your workplace, along with their experience, and upbringing meld together to form your corporate culture. The values of your senior leaders are significant in the development of your culture. These leaders have a lot of power in your organization to set the course and environment, and they have selected the staff for your workplace. Effective organizations identify and develop a clear, concise, and shared meaning of values/beliefs, priorities, and direction so that everyone understands and can contribute. Once defined, values impact every aspect of your organization. You must support and nurture this impact, or identifying values will have been a wasted exercise. People will feel fooled and misled unless they see evidence of being true to the values.

Now that we covered values let’s look at strategic planning. To get started on your plan, identify the stakeholders and partners to help you establish the business. With the values and stakeholders identified, your first task will be to develop the vision for the business. A vision is a statement about what your organization wants to become. It should resonate with all organization members and help them feel proud, excited, and part of something much bigger than themselves. A vision should stretch the organization’s capabilities and image of itself. It gives shape and direction to the organization’s future. Visions range in length from a couple of words to several pages. I recommend shorter vision statements because people will tend to remember their shorter organizational vision.

Now expand your team and develop the mission for this business. Mission or Purpose is a detailed description of what an organization does. It should describe the business the organization is in. It is a definition of “why” the organization exists currently. Each member of an organization should be able to verbally express this mission. Make it easy to remember. Keep it simple and specific. The mission is often referred to in marketing.

With your business defined, consider two analyses: a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) and resources (funding, skills, experience, material, etc.).  With this complete, you have enough information to focus on operations. How can you take advantage of opportunities and strengths? What additional resources will you need?

As we move into our strategic planning discussion, we will discuss each area of the planning process and our experiences.