Planning. It’s one of those things that is really easy to ignore—to shuffle to the side of our desks where it gets dusty.
There is no doubt that finding time to sit down and do planning – especially if it involves your team, board, and stakeholders (and it should) – is almost impossible. After all there is so much day-to-day stuff to do that is urgent and important.
And yet, planning is essential. It needs to be prioritized.
And reviewing the plan is essential too. Dust should NOT take up residence on your strategic plan or action plan. It is a tool that can help you achieve your organizational goals.
However, as I note in my blog post “3 Strategic Planning Challenges: A Consultant’s Perspective,” investing time and energy in your planning process is an essential ingredient to a solid, sustainable plan.
So how do we integrate strategic planning and its active use into our already busy schedules? What can we do as an organization to give life to our plan?
It depends on what you currently have (or don’t have).
If you have a current strategic plan that is gathering dust, start by pulling it out and dusting it off. The reality is if it’s completely outdated you need to may need to start from scratch.
If you have a strategic plan and it’s been written recently, is relevant, and yet isn’t actively being used as a tool for the team, then you need to find a way to engage your team in actively using it to drive their activities and their decision making.
In either case, you need to reviewwhat you have. Some questions you might ask yourself and your Board are:
How old is the plan? Is it still relevant?
Who was involved in creating it? Are they still on board or is a new team in place?
Are the vision, mission, and values still relevant? Or is an update needed?
Do the goals align with the current environment in which we work? What has changed since it was written?
Would the team buy into the plan (as it is) if we were to unroll it now? If not, why not?
As with any business decision, after doing this assessment, you will need to determine next steps – and these will be influenced by your organization’s budget, your desire to engage stakeholders, your timeline, as well as a multitude of other factors. However, you will need to consider the following in relation to revisingthe plan:
Are we starting from scratch or do we have foundation from which to start?
How do we want to go about updating the plan? Is an update needed?
Who do we want to engage in the update process – stakeholders, partners, staff, management, board? How will we use what we learn to shape our future?
How do we take the ideas and opportunities, translate them into goals and objectives, and then actualize them as activities?
Who will lead the strategic planning process? How will we find the right person to guide our organization through this process?
What do we need to have in order to commit revising the plan (time, energy, staff, finances, resources, space, etc.)? How will we access these?
Next, you need to put some serious thought into how you will revitalizethe plan and ensure that it is actively used as the tool it was meant to be.
How can we breathe life into the existing plan so that it becomes a tool for growth, rather than an obligatory process that really doesn’t drive results?
How can we best build excitement and energy around the value of the strategic plan as a tool to guide daily activities and decision making?
What processes and systems do we need to put in place to ensure that the plan is reviewed, evaluated, and adapted to reflect progress, changes, and new opportunities?
As you can imagine reviewing, revising, and revitalizing your strategic plan is a commitment both in terms of time, energy, volunteer and staff hours, and resources. It is something that you need to allocate time to. A strong working strategic plan provides clarity, direction, and actively engages your team in bringing it to life. Why wouldn’t you prioritize it?
Have questions about your strategic plan and how you can breathe life back into it or start from scratch? Drop us an email, give us a call, or book a complementary 30-minute Discover Call and we would be happy to strategize with you on how you can best achieve the results you want. We are here to help!