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Strategic Planning

Strategic planning is the process by which an organization envisions its future and develops the necessary procedures and operations to achieve that future. The basic steps of the strategic planning process include information gathering and analysis, identification of critical issues facing the organization, development of a strategic vision, mission review and revision, and the development of strategic goals and strategies.

Simply put, strategic planning determines where an organization is going over the next year or more, how it's going to get there and how it'll know if it got there or not.

Advantage Consulting Services provides trainings and workshops, as well as facilitation for strategic planning retreats.

If you have any questions about strategic planning, or if you would like more information about additional resources or the services we provide, please contact us by sending an email stating your questions or your specific request for information.

Benefits of Strategic Planning

Strategic planning will serve a variety of purposes in your organization, including to:

  1. Clearly define the purpose of the organization and to establish realistic goals and objectives consistent with that mission in a defined time frame within the organization’s capacity for implementation.

  2. Communicate those goals and objectives to the organization’s constituents.

  3. Develop a sense of ownership of the plan.

  4. Ensure the most effective use is made of the organization’s resources by focusing the resources on the key priorities.

  5. Provide a base from which progress can be measured and establish a mechanism for informed change when needed.

  6. Bring together of everyone’s best and most reasoned efforts have important value in building a consensus about where an organization is going.

  7. Provides clearer focus of organization, producing more efficiency and effectiveness.

  8. Bridges staff and board of directors.

  9. Builds strong teams in the board and the staff.

  10. Provides the glue that keeps the board together.

  11. Produces great satisfaction among planners around a common vision.

  12. Increases productivity from increased efficiency and effectiveness.

  13. Solves major problems.

Why should an organization do strategic planning?

The primary motive for organizations to do strategic planning is to learn and to make decisions about the future of the organization based on that learning. There are many specific reasons for an organization to initiate a strategic planning process, including the following:

  • To give the organization better control over external forces
  • To serve as a tool for decision making and resource allocation
  • To bring everyone together in the organization so that they are on the same wavelength
  • To raise board members’ awareness of current issues and operations
  • To reawaken and motivate key people within the organization
  • To position the agency for a merger or joint venture
  • To create a document suitable for fundraising and public relations
  • To increase morale within an organization and develop a sense of trust and cohesion
  • To set the stage for the organization to make a "quantum leap" to a new level of program development or functioning
  • To relate organizational capacity to community need

What are the respective roles of board and staff in the strategic planning process?

Strategic planning is a partnership between board and staff. Both groups participate equally in the planning process and provide important insights and information. In addition to helping develop the plan, the board of directors provides final approval for the plan and holds itself and staff accountable for the expected results. 

Creating A Vision

When you begin the process of strategic planning, visioning comes first. When visioning the change, ask yourself, "What is our preferred future?" and be sure to:

  • Draw on the beliefs, mission, and environment of the organization.
  • Describe what you want to see in the future. Be positive and inspiring.
  • Be open to dramatic changes in your organization.

Key Components for Your Vision

Your vision must be encompassed by your beliefs. 

  • Your beliefs must meet your organizational goals as well as community goals. 
  • Your beliefs are a visible declaration of your expected outcomes.
  • Your beliefs must be precise and practical.
  • Your beliefs will guide the actions of all involved.
  • Your beliefs are a key component of strategic planning.

Benefits of Visioning

The process and outcomes of visioning may seem vague and superfluous. The long-term benefits are substantial, however. Visioning:

  • Breaks you out of boundary thinking. 
  • Identifies direction and purpose.
  • Alerts stakeholders to needed change.
  • Promotes interest and commitment. 
  • Encourages openness to unique and creative solutions.
  • Encourages and builds confidence.
  • Builds loyalty through involvement (ownership).
  • Results in efficiency and productivity.

Need help developing a strategic plan?

Advantage Consulting Services provides trainings and workshops, as well as facilitation for strategic planning retreats. Contact us for more information.



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