It is International Strategic Planning month, and time for organizations to develop their strategic plans for the year. Although it can seem cumbersome, strategic plans are vital to ensuring your organization meets its goals and objectives. It also aids your team in knowing where to properly manage time and resources and effectively reach your targeted audiences.
By answering the following questions, you will position your organization to soar this fiscal year.
International Strategic Planning Month… Here are TOP elements you need in your plan to soar next fiscal year.
1. Why does your organization need a strategic plan?
The first step in developing an annual strategic plan is to know why you want and need one. Consider the needs of your organization and the needs of your stakeholders. Perhaps your organization has never thought to put a strategic plan together in general. You might just be starting and need a new direction. Or maybe you had a tough year like many municipalities, foundations, and other organizations have had due to COVID-19.
The World Health Organization (WHO) created its Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan 2021 (SPRP2021) in follow-up to the organization’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic in 2020. These strategic actions focused on the new challenges, for example, to lessen the risks related to new variants—such as the safe, equitable, and effective delivery of diagnostics and vaccines.
The benefits of using a strategic plan include:
- Paints a picture to stakeholders on progress within the organization
- Promotes mission-driven values within the organization
- Shows your organization is guided by success
- Invites staff to be future-focused
- Furthers the organization’s mission
2. What are your goals?
After understanding the purpose behind your organization’s strategic plan, the next step is to determine your goals. Goals and objectives should be specific and detailed. Decide what you want each department to develop and achieve, and your organization’s holistic goals and objectives based on the needs of your stakeholders.
– What if you can’t determine strategic goals and objectives?
Conducting a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (S.W.O.T.) analysis can help you get there. This should be done at least once per year.
A S.W.O.T. analysis is done in order to help your organization formulate objectives.
Take the time to brainstorm internally to determine:
- Strengths (internal) – What your organization does well.
- Weaknesses (internal) – Where your organization can improve.
- Opportunities (external) – What market trends could positively impact your organization.
- Threats (external) – Which external factors (competitors, pandemic, etc.) could have a negative impact on your organization?
In addition to an internal S.W.O.T analysis, interviews, surveys, questionnaires, focus groups, and town hall meetings are other forms of stakeholder research and examples of how your organization could better understand the needs of your stakeholders, which in turn helps to determine the goals and objectives of the organization.
3. What is your organization’s plans for the future?
It’s important to know why you’re creating a strategic plan for your organization so you can know where your organization is heading into the future. Consider the premises of your organization in order to determine the best future course of action.
– What are the internal and external premises of your organization?
Internal premises come from the organization itself. It is the beliefs, behaviors, and values of the executives and employees of the organization. Examples of internal premises include the forecasts, policies, and programs of the organization, competence of management, organizational capabilities, and other resources of the organization in the form of practices and, in some cases, profits.
External premises come from outside of the organization. It comprises of the cultural, economic, political, social, and technological environment and cannot be controlled by the organization. Examples of external premises include government policies and the rate of growth in the population and economy.
Crafting premises based on internal and external factors will ensure your organization’s strategic plan is feasible and sustainable. In addition to internal and external premises, feedback from downstream and upstream stakeholders should also be taken into account.
– What are downstream and upstream stakeholders?
Downstream stakeholders are the target audience. They’re those the organization seeks to influence and reach. It includes the general public, residents, visitors, media, advocacy influencers, and potential partners.
Upstream stakeholders develop the product to bring to the target audience. They are the other audience members that do not necessarily have to be influenced based on the information itself. Rather, their influence is in the dissemination of information and actively promoting the organization and its offerings.
4. How can your strategic plan aid in organizational sustainability?
Knowing the internal and external premises and the kind of stakeholders your organization has is not the only way to forecast the future. Researching other ways in which your organization could achieve its goals is another avenue.
Aside from the S.W.O.T. analysis and knowing the feedback from your stakeholders, a community needs assessment or environmental scan can help your municipality or organization obtain information from the environment.
A community needs assessment provides municipalities and organizations with a picture of the local policy, systems, and environmental change strategies currently in place. The assessment seeks to understand the needs of the community by gathering accurate information. It can help municipalities and organizations to identify areas for improvement in its services to their communities.
An environmental scan includes the ongoing tracking of trends and occurrences in an organization’s internal and external environment. Currently and in the future, these internal and external trends determine its success.
5. Which plan will your organization choose?
Once you’ve gathered all of the data you can to support your goals, it’s time to decide which plan or which model your organization will choose to implement. There are dozens of plans and models to choose from, portrayed in this article from ClearPoint Strategy, which features 16 of the most popular ones. In our last article, PivotPath introduced you to the PESO model for developing an effective communications and visibility plan. So how will you know which is best for your organization?
Before setting yourself up for confusion, consider these questions:
– Is it expensive?
Your organization will want to pay the least amount of money possible for whichever strategic plan or model you choose.
– Do the pros outweigh the cons?
Make sure your organization chooses the strategic plan or model that has more positive potential outcomes than negative ones.
– Is it fixed?
Finally, you’ll want a strategic plan or model that isn’t rigid or fixed but adaptable should things change with your objectives during the planning process.
– What will be your supporting plans?
After the initial strategic plan is in place, it’s important to determine a secondary, supporting plan to meet your goals. Some organizations can do this in their annual report that happens once per year, while the strategic planning timeline can take place anywhere from every one to five years.
Never made an annual report? No worries! PivotPath can help you to create your best annual report yet.
The benefits of using an annual report include:
- Strengthens the relationship with the strategic plan by crafting newer strategies that further the strategic plan’s goals.
- Supports the mission of the organization in daily practice.
- Gives staff a clear course on their responsibilities to the plan and their department.
6. Are you listening?
The most important takeaway from creating your strategic plan is to make sure you’re listening and connecting with your stakeholders. Strategic planning and the background research involved may take anywhere from six to nine months. But it ensures that your organization will know what its stakeholders want and need, which will aid your organization in achieving its goals and objectives.
PivotPath has experience in B2G marketing and communications. We can help you implement your most successful strategic plan yet. Contact us for a FREE strategy session.