Are you Ready for Strategic Planning?
The following list of questions will help organizations address the overarching question: Are you Ready for Strategic Planning? The questions are based on the key attributes associated with successful, sustained strategic planning and strategic action. Organizations need not ascribe to all of the factors underlying the questions, but the more they do, the more likely they will be agile and adaptive in the face of change, and better prepared to seize opportunities to drive growth through innovation.
- If it exists, the current strategic plan has been evaluated in detail to identify any strategies that should continue and to remind the team of the strategic history of the organization (this assumes that the strategic planning document is updated regularly—see item 2).
- The current strategic plan actively guides and informs major decisions, and is regularly updated to reflect changes in strategic intent or strategic execution capability of the organization.
- Strategic planning is driven by the desire to articulate and act on strategic intent in order to achieve a vision—not by the need for a plan imposed by an external entity or arbitrary requirement.
- The cost and time related to the planning process are secondary to the effectiveness of the outcome.
- The organization is aware that strategic planning is taking place and everyone understands the role they will be asked to play during the process.
- The organization is ready to structurally integrate strategic action into its ongoing management approach.
- There is clear ownership/leadership of the strategic planning process by either an executive or a committee with both responsibility and accountability for plan development, monitoring, and revision.
- Regardless of the organization’s structure, a committee of key stakeholders has been formed to create a broad representation of those who will be responsible and accountable for implementing the strategic plan.
- The community regularly exercises rational processes for decision making, conflict resolution and information sharing — and clear pathways for resolving problems exist.
- The senior executive already acts strategically or is prepared to do so, by consistently making decisions based on the documented strategic intent, vision, mission, and values of the organization.
- Teams responsible for strategic planning are functional, high-performing teams.
- The organization can afford to spend the necessary time, and commit the necessary focus, to actively engage in a planning process.
- The organization allocates sufficient time to strategic planning so that people involved feel like they can actively engage in the process. Participants see strategic planning as part of their responsibility, not as an extra or “when you get to it” activity.
- The organization has actively developed a strategic planning competency that includes all participants in the planning process, regardless of level or role.
- Organizational leadership has committed to providing support and leadership at critical points in the strategic planning process.
- Advocates of strategic planning have been identified within the organization, and they have been given time and budget to help nurture the strategic planning effort. They are responsible for coaching outside facilitators where necessary to ensure that workshops or other efforts are successful.
- Affordably priced external facilitators have been identified to help guide key portions of the strategic conversation.
- An effective space exists in which to hold regular meetings. Space for holding larger group meetings are accessible and convenient and can be configured to foster openness and creativity.
- Meeting times are protected to allow all participants to attend.
- The time-frame for the planning process is realistic given current organizational strategic planning competency and time allocations.
- Good data exists for all internal and external factors related to the strategic position of the organization (i.e., operating costs, program and product performance, budgets, internal capabilities, competitive position, etc.)
- The organization actively uses scenario planning in order to challenge assumptions, avoid surprises and inspire innovation.
- A scenario planning framework is regularly consulted to confirm that the organization’s strategic context remains directionally consistent. If not consistent, then the organization initiates a re-examination of its strategic plan based on emergent social, technological, environmental, economic or political factors.
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