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Driving strategic planning within your organization

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Strategic planning season is fast approaching, as many organizations review and update the plan in advance of starting annual budgeting.  It is a great time to realign the board of directors, management team and the overall direction of the organization. There are a variety of methods and software solutions that can be used to facilitate the planning session, but there are a few keys to the process:

Confirm the mission and vision statement for the organization

Do they still make sense? Where are we now? Are we still headed in the right direction?  Where are we going? If they don’t align, is it because we’ve started to head in the wrong direction or has the business evolved and we need to update the statements?

Determine the goals, objectives and tasks

How are we going to achieve the mission of the organization?  If our goal is the be “The best XYZ”, how are we defining the “best”?  And what can we reasonably, with a bit of a stretch, achieve in the planning horizon? Include goals beyond just financial or strictly “numerical” goals.  Although they can be more difficult to measure, think outside the box to the drivers of your business: financial, technology, people, and customers.

  • Goals:   Typically two-three years in term and should be in support of the overall mission of the organization.  Goals are often determined by a combination of the executive management team and the board of directors.  Many organizations utilize “SMART” goals.
    • Specific - State exactly what you want to accomplish (who, what, where, why)
    • Measurable - How will you demonstrate and evaluate the extent to which the goal has been achieved?
    • Attainable - Stretch and challenging goals within ability to achieve outcome.
    • Relevant - How does the goal tie into your key responsibilities?
    • Timely - Set one or more target dates, the “by when” to guide your goal to successful and timely completion.
  • Objectives: In support of goals generally 12 – 18 months in duration.  Primary objectives can be determined during the planning session to help the planning teams start their process.  Throughout the planning horizon additional objectives will be added as needed.
  • Tasks: The “to do” items, generally three to six months in duration.  Often these are determined outside of the planning session, by the managers and their teams.

Ongoing monitoring

Once the plan has been established and approved, the real work begins. Completing the task items, assignments, monitoring and reporting process to assure that you are meeting the organization’s goals.   

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