The best strategic plan is a living, breathing process more than a document. It is constantly in use, never sitting on a shelf, and known by the people who developed it as “our plan” not “the consultant’s plan.” (Read more about why strategic planning is worth doing.)

I generally propose a 5-phase strategic planning process:

Phase 1: Strategic Planning Preparation

The way an organization prepares (planning to plan) determines how successful the process will be. Develop a framework for the full scope of work, the process and expected outcomes. Determine who is involved at what points in the process. Identify resources needed.

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Phase 2: Information Gathering and Analysis

A variety of tools are used to gather relevant internal and external data, feedback and information that will inform the plan.

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Phase 3: Vision, Mission, Values

This is the North Star and the foundation of any successful planning effort.

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Phase 4: Key Goals and Broad Strategies

Strategic planning is more about organizational intentions than about day-to-day tactics. What are the two or three key issues you need to focus on and the broad strategies that will achieve goals?

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Phase 5: Action Plans > Implementation and Communications

To ensure tactical follow-through, planning groups need to establish expectations, key success indicators, clear accountability, and big picture timetables. How the major decisions and direction are communicated through the rest of the organization is also critical.

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Phase 6: Evaluation and Monitoring

Every time I hear that a previous strategic planning process was a waste of time, it is because there was no identified process for ongoing evaluation and follow-through. The plans disappeared into the black hole of space. This doesn’t happen on my watch.

Thinking of a strategic planning process or retreat? Call 508-274-8760 or send me an email so we can talk more about your needs.