Why your team may need professional support?
Plenty of organizations have people on the team who have a knack for strategic planning, but not everyone has the experience and training of a professional facilitator – and, it’s next to impossible to facilitate a strategy meeting and participate in the strategic planning process at the same time. That’s where hiring an organizational consultant comes in. They will free your strategists up to do their best thinking while taking care of the process side of things. Here are a few more reasons why collaborating with a consultant can help:
- Unbiased Expertise: An external facilitator is impervious to organizational biases. They’ll help you determine how to move forward free of the hang-ups of what’s worked in the past.
- It’s a Team Effort: Crafting a strategic plan involves the whole team. An external facilitator can orchestrate this process with inclusion and participation top of mind.
- Don’t Get Sidetracked: The value of an external facilitator lies in their ability to guide the process and keep things on track and on time. If the need for realignment arises, they’ll reroute or backtrack to get the process going again.
- Lost? They Got You: An external facilitator poses critical questions, prompting discussion and empowering teams to work together to determine the organization’s goals and direction. They’ll help you pinpoint where you’re headed.
In the hustle of day-to-day operations, it’s easy to overlook the big picture. Strategic planning gives your organization the chance to pause, question, and recalibrate – and with the support of strategic planning and facilitation professionals, whether you’re building a strategic plan from the ground up, launching a new initiative or endeavor, or updating and refreshing an existing strategic plan, you’ll be in good hands.
Best Practices for Strategic Planning
Here at APG we are tuned into the best practices for strategic planning to help organizations get the most out of the strategic planning process. Here are some key guidelines we use to maximize our clients’ strategic planning process:
Strategy Session Design and Preparation
- Engage Stakeholders: Involve key stakeholders, including board members, employees, customers, and partners, in the strategic planning process. Their input and perspectives are invaluable. Stakeholders may be utilized in session design, session conduct and in strategy implementation.
- Leadership Buy-In: Ensure that top leadership, including the Board of Directors and senior management, is fully committed to and supportive of the strategic plan. Increased buy-in is often obtained by talking 1:1 with leaders to understand critical strategic issues that need to be addressed.
- Clear and Aligned vision: Start with a well-defined and compelling vision statement that describes where your organization wants to be in the future. Ensure that this vision is aligned with your organization’s mission and values.
- Data-Driven Decisions: Base your strategic plan on data and evidence whenever possible. Analyze performance metrics, market research, and trends to inform your decisions.
- SWOT Analysis: Conduct a comprehensive SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis to assess your organization’s internal strengths and weaknesses, as well as external opportunities and threats.
- Strategies: Identify three to five high-level strategies to implement over the course of the planning time horizon.
- Set SMART Goals: Define specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) objectives. This helps ensure that goals are realistic and can be tracked effectively.
- Prioritize Initiatives: Not all goals and initiatives are equally important. Use tools like a priority matrix to rank and prioritize projects based on their impact and feasibility.
- Communication Plan: Develop a clear communication plan to keep all stakeholders informed about the progress of your strategic initiatives. Transparency builds trust and commitment.
- Actionable Strategies: Develop clear strategies and action plans for achieving your goals. Each strategy should have a set of actionable steps, responsible parties, and deadlines.
- Resource Allocation: Allocate resources (financial, human, and time) strategically to support your initiatives. Ensure that resources are aligned with your priorities.
- Risk Management: Identify potential risks and develop contingency plans to mitigate them. This includes considering various scenarios and having a plan for adapting to unexpected challenges.
- Employee Engagement: Engage your employees in the execution of your strategic plan. Their commitment and contributions are crucial to success.
- Regular Reviews: Establish a schedule for reviewing and updating your strategic plan. Quarterly or annual reviews allow you to adapt to changing circumstances and keep your plan relevant.
- Training and Development: Provide training and development opportunities for employees to enhance their skills and knowledge, aligning with the strategic goals.
- Celebrate Achievements: Recognize and celebrate milestones and achievements along the way. This boosts morale and reinforces the organization’s commitment to the plan.
- Flexibility and Adaptability: Recognize that the business environment can change rapidly. Your strategic plan should be flexible enough to adapt to unforeseen circumstances.
- Continuous Improvement: Treat strategic planning as an ongoing process. Learn from your experiences, gather feedback. And continuously improve your planning and execution processes.
Is Your Team Ready for An Updated Strategic Plan?
We’ve created an assessment tool to help your team and organization assess the need and readiness for an updated strategic plan. Take this to your next leadership team meeting and answer the questions together.
APG Is Here To Help You Navigate Your Strategic Planning Process
APG’s philosophy is to utilize proven approaches and collaborate with clients to co-create tailored, useful, and implementable plans that support positive change within individuals, teams, organizations, and their communities. The APG team strives for an environment where people’s authentic selves have ample opportunity to thrive, especially members of underrepresented and marginalized groups. By listening to diverse viewpoints, amplifying every voice, and addressing systemic barriers, we hope to build sustainable equity for our team, clients, and communities.
We have significant and relevant experience in working with nonprofit organizations, foundations, communities, and governments. In 2022, over 85 percent of our work was with organizations in these categories.
Interested in partnering with our team of strategic planning and facilitation professionals to help navigate your strategic planning process? Contact us now at email@example.com.