Elements of the Strategic Planning Process

Where are we going? Where have we been? What is the vision? What are the elements that make up the strategic plan? Create a concise & clear statement of purpose.

What is the existing situation and present vision? What future plan is attainable? What vision is desirable? This is the phase in which historical documents, a completed SWOT analysis and individual interviews are conducted to create a baseline of information for the Visioning process. What are the present, emerging and future issues?

This is the part of the planning process that determines the overall direction of the strategic plan. To think strategically means to look at where does the organization need to be? Where is the organization now? What are the keys to moving the organization ahead? What is keeping the vision from occurring? What changes are realistic? What changes are needed for the plan to occur in the long term?

These objectives will move the organization and it’s members closer to its mission and overall vision. They should be measurable and verifiable. Long range objectives should be feasible, flexible and consistent with all parts of the strategic planning and visioning process.

Identify specific results, accountability for performance goals, resources (budget, staff, volunteers) needed, timetables and feedback mechanisms for each long range objective. This planning element forms a natural link between the strategic plan and the operations plan.

Methods and Strategies for the Integrated Planning Process:

Surveys, workgroups, discussions, interviews and compiling the data. Identify the historical and existing resources and documentation that has already been done. Identify the organization strengths and weaknesses plus the organization opportunities and threats. What are the emerging issues? What are the sacred cows that the organization is dealing with?

What are critical issues? What is the supporting data (internal/external) on this issue? Can the root causes of organization strengths and weaknesses be identified? How can obstacles to the organization vision be overcome? How can organization strengths be leveraged? Who are the key people and organizations needed to achieve and support the strategic plan?

Using surveys, discussion groups, interviews and/or focus groups to identify organizational goals and objectives. Applying techniques for prioritization of the goals and objectives. Using baseline data for creating the vision and identifying necessary steps.

The coach/facilitator assists in the strategic planning process by providing a neutral person to facilitate meetings, counseling individuals and the group, assisting in the concepts, techniques and methods of strategic planning.

The majority opinion may be based on a variety of factors that may be more political in nature and less than adequate in terms of strategic planning. The minority opinion may be the most insightful in the long run. Corporate and volunteer America has many successes that can be traced to comprehensive planning that includes various points of view. We must be careful as there have been failures that can be traced to a herd instinct (group think) approach.

This steering committee may consist of the stakeholders, funding organizations and/or the executive committee, plus the coach/facilitator and necessary support staff. The duties of the Steering Committee include working with the professional consultant or facilitator for the development of the vision, identification of critical issues, strategies for planning &implementation, articulation of the long terms objectives and creation of the executive summary.

The final element of the Strategic Planning process is to pull together all the research, input, strategies and vision into a completed documents. An executive summary can be used to communicate to stakeholders. This document should be reviewed on a regular basis (annual or bi-annual) to ensure that is current, timely and appropriate for the organization.

Outline by: Jasper Welch, Four Corners Management Services, Durango, CO
Text Resource > The Executive Guide to Strategic Planning - Below, Morrisey, Acomb 1987 Jossey/Bass

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