Each small group then discusses its Top-Level Goal, and writes up the key ideas as bullet points. The group can do this formally, by working through each bullet point in turn, or it can be done informally, taking the concepts and working through them in a less formal manner. To develop Objectives for each goal, participants follow four steps.
Step 1. State the outcome of the Top-Level Goal in the positive.
Step 2. Ensure the goal is doable by breaking it down into its main components, or Objectives.
Step 3. Ask how they will know when they have achieved the goal’s outcome? The answer to this question will help identify the Measures and Metrics for progress toward achievement of the goals.
Step 4. Identify who will be responsible for the achievement of the goal, and who will be accountable.
Step 8: Develop Strategies to Achieve Each Objective
By using this approach in Step 7, the strategies become so obvious that they almost “fall out” of that step. The small group then takes the components of the Objectives from the previous task, and asks these questions:
If we turn these components into strategies, will we have a comprehensive strategy for achieving the Objective?
What other steps must be taken to achieve the Objective? Turn those steps into strategies.
In what order do those strategies need to be accomplished?
What are potential enablers? Who may be able to help and how? What
additional resources might
What are potential inhibitors? Do we have the skills and capabilities? Are there any policies in place that might inhibit us?
Who should be responsible for each strategy?
Once these questions are answered, each group pulls together all the Objectives and strategies for each Top-Level Goal and presents it to the other groups. The whole group then discusses all the Top-Level Goals, objectives, and strategies, and any links, overlaps, or gaps between them. The consultants capture the discussion using a modified Mind-Map, and the group decides how to handle links and overlaps, and how to fill in the gaps.
Step 9: Develop the Action Plan
Specific tasks: What will be done and by whom?
Time horizon: When will it be done?
Resource allocation: What specific funds, hours, facilities, etc., are available for each activity?
The participants return to the small groups they were in for the previous session, and develop an action plan and timeline for all the steps that must be taken to achieve the strategies. The Action Plan is quantitative—in other words, it has something measurable that must be accomplished by a certain time in order to achieve the strategy. There may be several action steps for each strategy.
Each group is assigned a different color of Post-It notes. Once the group has developed its Action Plan, it writes down the major steps on the notes, and they are placed, in order, on a huge timeline we have prepared that covers the appropriate number of years. We then photograph the entire timeline.
Finally, all the participants take a first rough look at the timeline and comment on any obvious discrepancies in the timing of the tasks. This is a good time to ask “What’s missing?” questions. Later, the organization’s strategic planning group will prepare a proper Critical Path Analysis of all the tasks.
Step 10: Develop the Implementation Plan
An Implementation Plan is also a sequence of steps, but it describes the how. It discusses in greater detail the responsibilities of those individuals accountable for overseeing the Action Plan. It also discusses policies and procedures, in case problems are encountered with the Action Plan. It often contains information on possible inhibitors and problems, and outlines ways to deal with them.
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