Monday, March 12, 2012

Guest blogger Marta Siberio on Strategic Planning: Is it for you?


My 20+ years of helping organizations through strategic planning have shown me that undertaking a strategic planning process can be very helpful if an organization is clear about what it expects from the process. The strategic planning process itself is fairly straightforward.

Every planning process has five stages. Briefly, they are:
1.     Assessment: ask major stakeholders inside and outside the organization about its unique strengths and impact, and identify any major challenges and future opportunities. Speak to experts in the fields that the organization works in and explore new possibilities. Review data about the organization’s operations and services. Synthesize all of this and present the common themes and suggested strategic issues.
2.     Dialogue and Discernment: hold discussions among the decision-makers about the assessment.  Explore and challenge assumptions.  Consider what-if scenarios.
3.     Mission, Vision, Values Refresh: ground the new strategy in a clear mission and values statement and a new vision about the change that is sought.
4.     Select Strategic Priorities: develop shared criteria to select priorities that will shape the strategy, and choose the top 3 to 5. Articulate a clear rationale for pursing each priority.
5.     Develop Goals and Objectives: figure out your destination for each priority area; make sure it is aspirational and within reach. Now define the specific actions needed to get there.

What’s in it for you?
Strategic planning offers organizations some very significant potential benefits:
§  organizational focus: the collective vision crafted in the strategic planning process gives everyone a shared focus; the alignment of resources to achieve that vision also leads to greater effectiveness.
§  staff motivation: a planning process that engages staff in identifying opportunities and contributing to the selection of priorities increases staff motivation – which only improves as staff see the plan carried out.
§  enhanced positioning: organizations that complete thoughtful strategic planning processes increase their stature in the minds of funders and supporters.
§  board engagement: strategic planning is an excellent opportunity to motivate Board members and offers the chance to promote emerging leaders on your Board and cultivate potential members by including them in the Strategic Planning Committee.

Guest blogger Marta Siberio is the president of Marta Siberio Consulting, which has provided organizational development and strategic planning services since 1993. Not every organization is ready for strategic planning. Marta’s next post will identify certain criteria to consider as you decide.

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