I am always amazed at the amount of time and angst people spend on strategic planning. I have been in planning sessions that takes days and even weeks. Why did these meetings take so long? In my opinion, there are a few of reasons:
• People do not really understand the vision and mission of the agency or wanted to advance their own interests despite the vision and mission
• People do not want to share their ideas until they are clear of what management wants to hear
• People try to combine strategy, performance, and evaluation in one plan, making it pages too long.
Planning for your company or agency is simple if you divide the planning into 3 separate sections:
• Strategic Plan
• Performance Plan
• Evaluation Plan
Preparing for strategic planning is similar to preparing for tax season. If you gather everything ahead of time, the planning process works very smoothly. Steps for creating a strategic plan include:
1. Commit to the planning – Many people resist strategic planning and though physically present are not mentally engaged in the process. Set a time that is conflict free for you and fully engage in creating the plan.
2. Understand the environment – Knowing what the company does, what it is committed to, what the leaders’ ideas are for the overall plan, and what the current challenges and opportunities are will assist you in your planning.
3. Articulate a vision – If there is not an existing vision for the company, create one. If there is an existing vision ensure you understand it well enough to articulate it in your own words.
4. Develop the strategies – Strategies are usually 3 to 5 years, sometimes they are tied to something. In the government, they are tied to the Presidential term. If there is a continuing cycle in your company, tie your strategic plan to that time frame. Strategies should be taken from the words in the vision statement and tied to the environmental influences you discovered in your research during Step Two.
5. Prepare an action plan – There are many models to use for creating action plans tied to long-term planning.
6. Implement the plan – Determine when and how to implement the plan.
7. Monitor the plan – Determine when and how to monitor the performance plan so that it tracks with the strategic plan.
Congratulations, you have completed your strategic plan.