SMART LEADERS REALIZE that today’s success is not a given tomorrow. What got their organizations to where they are today may not get them to where they need to be tomorrow. Strategic planning is the key for both non-profits and businesses to have “Staying Power” — the ability to be thriving today and tomorrow.
The only way we know about the future is that it is going to be different.
That’s from the writings of Peter Drucker, the world-renowned leadership consultant.
Therefore, those that fail to plan strategically are destined to struggle through each new change in their environment whether it might be sudden political or economic changes, new technologies, or unanticipated customer demands. Those that plan proactively for the future are in a much stronger position to make sound decisions and be leaders in their field.
Here’s an example of an organization who wanted to make sure they had staying power. A regional community blood center, faced with the arrival in their area of a well-known national competitor, requested our Create Your Future strategic planning program for its executive team. The results were a three-year plan on how to manage in a more competitive environment, consensus on their key priorities and more effective communication focused on work demands and not “turf” issues.
The president’s comment after the retreat was:
Now that we understand what we’re good at and where we’re good at it, it makes it easier to say no the things that don’t make sense for us. We became focused and began to direct all our time, energy and attention toward a clear purpose.
What is Strategic Planning?
Strategic planning is a disciplined effort to produce effective long-term decisions and actions that will shape and guide an organization. Today long-term is usually the next three to five years.
First, the business or agency must take a look at where it is today, what it does, and why it does it. Then it focuses on the trends or environmental changes that could affect its mission and operations in the future. Finally, it produces a plan with specific strategic initiatives that the organization will undertake to ensure its staying power.
What Are the Benefits?
A good, workable strategic plan enables an organization, whether large or small, private or public, just starting or been around the block to:
[message type=”custom” width=”100%” start_color=”#F0F0F0 ” end_color=”#F0F0F0 ” border=”#BBBBBB” color=”#333333″]
- Agree on a direction.
It charts a clear path for everyone in the organization to follow in order to accomplish its mission or purpose.
- Establish clear priorities.
It defines what is most important and needs to be achieved which then cascades down the organization leading to greater accountability.
- Make wise financial decisions.
It ensures better allocation of resources in areas such as staffing, equipment, facilities, systems and processes.
- Create commitment and excitement.
It builds allegiance to a common purpose among the staff, the board, the volunteers, the founders and other key stakeholders.[/message][su_spacer]
What Are Its Limitations?
A strategic plan is not a wish list, a report card or a marketing tool. It is certainly not a magic bullet or quick cure for everything that ails an organization. It takes time, it takes an executive team or board committed to examine the workings of the business or agency; and it takes staff who are dedicated to making that business or agency the best it can be.
[su_box title=”SMART MOVES TIP” style=”glass” box_color=”#5226ff”]Is your organization going through change right now? Or is it anticipating major change in the near future? Then strategic planning may be not an option but a necessity. Now more than ever, the intuitive luck and dedication that may have helped many a business or agency succeed is running out. In today’s chaotic environment, organizations must rely on sound strategic planning for growth, revitalization, and staying power — to be thriving today and tomorrow.[/su_box]
What has been your experience with strategic planning in your organization or business? What were the benefits? What about the limitations? What tips do you have for a boards or executive team to make it successful?
My Motto Is:
If you do what you always did, you will get what you always got. Therefore, MOVE outside of your comfort zone; that’s where the MAGIC happens.” To bring that magic to your leadership and business, subscribe to Marcia’s monthly Execubrief: Business Edge- Smart Growth Strategies with insights, intelligence and inspiration on how to build great businesses that matter – those that do well and do good.
Did You Know That a New Kind of SMARTS is Needed?
75% of leaders are derailed for reasons related to emotional competencies, including inability to handle people problems, unsatisfactory team leadership during times of difficulty or conflict; or inability to adapt to change or elicit trust. – Center for Creative Leadership. Do you want to boost your emotional and social intelligence and be a more effective leader? Let me help you do it!