Do You Need A Strategic Plan? Yes…Yes You Do!
As has been stated in previous Patton McDowell & Associates blog entries this month, strategic planning helps identify where an organization wants to be in the future and what steps it will take to get there.
A strategic plan should not be done in small pieces during a normal staff meeting. Many organizations find it productive to do strategic planning in a retreat setting, getting key staff and board members away from the office and their hectic lives for one day to put thought into the future direction of the organization. The exercise is not an annual event, but one that should take place every two or three years to ensure the previous plan is still valid.
While we’ve defined what strategic planning is, today’s focus is on defining why organizations need a strategic plan.
- There is a major change occurring within your organization or community.
Today, with the economy changing on what seems to be a daily basis, the structure of organizations is changing rapidly as well. An organization must implement a plan that aligns appropriately with the mission and vision of the organization.
- The organization is unveiling a new process or product.
If the new process or product is large enough to have a dramatic impact to the organization, an organization should produce a plan that will prepare them for the changes about to take place.
- A plan can create a unified mission or vision for the organization.
When an organization needs help to have a unified voice, a strategic plan should allow everyone the ability to provide input into the future of the organization. The strategic plan should navigate those involved, such as staff and board members, to implement the plan correctly and effectively.
- The plan should allow the organization to move forward.
Organizations that are stuck, need plans that allow for forward motion and a sense of accomplishment by all players. The plan will provide benchmarks and goals in order to determine success. The plan should also stimulate change and allow for future planning.
Once the organization has completed the planning process, it’s important that the plan not sit on a shelf or in a desk drawer. The members of the organization should review the plan regularly to ensure its success and that everyone understands their role within the plan.