Strategic plan, strategy document … do you have one that articulates a compelling, vital future? Does it focus on a critical few high impact goals or try to encompass too much – being all things to all people? Is it a living document used to set direction and priorities, or does it live on a shelf somewhere? Is it professionally produced yet never referred to?
In this rapidly changing world, the best organizations set strategic horizons for themselves, monitor progress regularly and refine or refocus based on shifts in the marketplace and operational environment. The days of long-range plans are over. Long range vision and aspirations, strategic directions and horizons… absolutely.
Transformation Strategies uses a participative approach. Involving key constituencies in thinking about the future and making hard decisions builds commitment during implementation. The process used has everything to do commitment and action. It’s about a high level of engagement that leads to enthusiastic adoption of new directions and a rigorous implementation process.
Sample Strategic Planning Engagements Include:
- National Veterans Organization – conducted a year-long process to chart the organization’s future in an environment of decreasing donor base and increasing needs. Solicited input from volunteer leadership and state staff directors in separate sessions at the national conference and facilitated a senior executive team in a strategic planning process and a subsequent annual business planning process to translate vision into goals and operating plans.
- International Professional Society – we were engaged to help re-start a stalled strategic planning process; facilitated a two-day offsite session for the board and strategic planning group to work through highly charged issues; obtained input from all groups prior to the session; met with leaders of each group to build an agenda and agree on format; facilitated a two day session to explore the big issues and blocks; gained agreement on many and set up a process to continue working out others.
- State-Affiliate of an International Non-Profit – Goals: to build trust between the state office and local programs; create a compelling vision and plan for the next five years that meets local program needs and state office aspirations and is consistent with the international directions of the broader organization. Created a nine month process: gathering input from regional groups and key constituencies, an overall member survey and large group visioning sessions (180+) at the annual meeting. This served as input for two separate strategic planning sessions with the board that resulted in a five-year strategic plan to guide the future. Resulted in a five-year strategic plan, a state-wide operating plan and budget and local operating goals and resourcing plans.
Our large group facilitation processes draw from Future Search Conferences, Open Space Technology, Technologies of Participation, the Dialogue Game and World Café approaches. Typically they follow an Open-Narrow-Close approach where we surface many perspectives, find the themes or patterns and engage in a prioritization process to determine what’s most important, relevant or pressing to attend to, then use that information as we move forward. We work with groups of 10 – several hundred and are equipped to conduct on-line focus groups and information sessions.