CREATE THE FUTURE

Tools to create the future you envision!     

What's New?

 

 | About Us | Contact Us | Site Map |     

Home
Back

 

Weekly Picks

Cool Websites
Publications
Key Trends
Useful Resources
Tech Tips
 
Picks Archives
 
 

Bookmark and Share

Strategic Planning Model

The strategic planning model has seven steps which are listed below.

Step 1: Information Gathering and Analysis 

bullet

External Assessment 

bullet

Internal Assessment 

bullet

Market Assessment 

Step 2: Identification of Critical Issues Facing the Organization 


Step 3: Development of a Strategic Vision Statement that Sets Future Direction for the Agenc


Step 4: Mission Statement Review/Revision 


Step 5: Development of Strategic Goals 


Step 6: Formulation of Strategies for Each Goal 


Step 7: Preparation for Operational Planning Based on the Strategic Plan (Developing Annual Objectives)


Each step of the Strategic Planning Model is described in more detail
below.

Step 1 Information Gathering and Analysis

The first step is gathering and analyzing information. This step consists of three components: an external assessment, a market or constituent assessment and an internal assessment.

External Assessment

Purpose of step: To identify and assess changes and trends in the world around the organization likely to have a significant impact on it over the next 5-10 years. We look at political, economic, technological, social, lifestyle, demographic, competitive, and philanthropic trends. We then determine which changes are opportunities for us (for example, opportunities to grow) and which could be threats to us in some way (trends that can keep us from being successful). Finally we identify implications for selected changes and trends -- ways the organization might respond to the opportunities and threats we identify. (Saying that something is an implication does not require the organization to adopt that course of action.)

Market Assessment

Purpose of step: To identify and assess changes in the needs and perceptions of the organization's markets and constituencies. For most nonprofits, these include clients or consumers of services, funders, donors, volunteers, paid staff, board members, collaborators, and competitors.

The market assessment attempts to answer the following questions:

  1. Who are the organization's key markets and constituents?

  2. What are the needs, perceptions, and service expectations of each market?

  3. What are the emerging market trends?

  4. What are the implications for the organization -- how should the organization respond to these changes and trends in its markets?

Internal Assessment

Purpose of step: To assess internal structure, process and operations of the organization and based on this assessment, to pinpoint strengths and weaknesses. Areas examined include organizational personnel (paid and volunteer), fundraising, physical facilities, equipment, use of technology, location, financial condition, management, board governance, special programs/products and services, markets, market position, etc.

Step 2  Critical Strategic Issues and

Choices Facing The Organization

Purpose of step: To identify critical strategic issues facing the organization. Critical issues are fundamental policy or program concerns that define the most important situations and choices an organization faces now and in the future. Critical issues can reflect long-standing problems in the organization, the community served or recent events that are anticipated to have a significant impact on the organization and/or community served. Critical issues can also reflect major shifts in thinking that challenge "business as usual". The selection of issues is important because it determines range of decisions the organization's leaders will consider in the future.

In some instances, an organization is already aware of the critical issues that the strategic planning process must help it address. In most situations, the planning process participants discern critical strategic issues as they work on the external, market and internal assessments.

In developing the actual wording of the critical issue statements, it's helpful to reflect on the following:

The external changes and trends having the greatest positive and/or negative impact on the organization . . . Major changes and trends in the needs, perceptions and service expectations of our markets and constituencies . . . Internal strengths and weaknesses of the organization that will seem to have an impact on our future success . . .

Step 3  Strategic Vision

Purpose of step: To develop a strategic vision statement. A vision is an image or description of the organization we aspire to become in the future. It answers the question “If we could create the organization of our dreams and have the impact we most desire, what would it look like in the Year 2015?”  The vision focuses on what we intend to BE – our hoped for destination, not what we will be DOING in the Year 2015.

It should also indicate in what significant ways we will be different from what we are today. If the critical strategic issues represent our effort to express the big questions, choices and challenges facing the organization in the future, the vision is our attempt to communicate the big answers to these big questions. The strategic vision statement provides direction and inspiration for organizational goal setting.

PLEASE NOTE: Although the words "mission" and "vision" are used interchangeably, they are distinct in an important way: Mission describes "general purpose"; Vision describes "hoped for future destination".

Step 4  Mission

Purpose of step: To develop an organizational mission statement. The mission statement is a broad description of what we do, with/for whom we do it, our distinctive competence, and WHY we do it (our ultimate end).

If a mission statement already exists, the focus of this step is on reviewing it in light of the emerging vision statement and if necessary revising the language. Here are some questions that can aid in the review of an already-existing mission statement:

Questions for a Critical Review of an Existing Mission

  1. Is the mission statement clear and on target in today's operating environment?

  2. Do you have any specific questions or concerns with respect to the mission statement?

  3. Does the mission statement duplicate the mission of any other organization? If so, what should we do about it?

  4. Considering the answers to these questions, how, if at all, should the mission statement be changed?

Step 5  Goals

Purpose of step: To develop strategic goal statements consistent with the vision statement. Strategic goals are broad statements of what the organization hopes to achieve in the next 3 years. Goals focus on outcomes or results and are qualitative in nature.

Step 6  Strategies

Purpose of step: To develop strategies for each goal. Strategies are statements of major approach or method for attaining goals and resolving specific issues. Ideas for strategy emerge from the earlier internal, external and market assessments, -- especially the strengths and weaknesses identified in the internal assessment as well as the implications statements developed as part of the market and external assessments. A strategy is judged potentially effective if it does one or more of the following:

  1. Exploits environmental opportunities

  2. Defends against environmental threats

  3. Leverages organizational competencies

  4. Corrects organizational shortcomings

  5. Offers some basis for future competitive advantage

  6. Counteracts forces eroding current competitive position

Step 7  Annual Objectives

Purpose of step: To develop annual objectives consistent with the goals and strategies of the strategic plan. Objectives are specific, concrete, measurable statements of what will be done to achieve a goal generally within a one-year time frame. Objectives include what will be accomplished, by when and by whom.

Planning Terminology

MISSION----------------------------------------------------------------------------->

"Forever"

STRATEGIC VISION ---------------------------------------->

5 years out

GOALS -------------------------->

3-5 years

STRATEGIES ---------------->

1-5 years

OBJECTIVES ---------->

1 year

MISSION

Broad description of what we do, with/for whom we do it, our distinctive competence, and WHY we do it.

STRATEGIC VISION Describes what we want the organization to look like in ideal terms in the future - the results we will be achieving and characteristics the organization will need to possess in order to achieve those results. The strategic vision statement provides direction and inspiration for organizational goal setting.
GOALS Broad statements of what the organization hopes to achieve in the next 3-5 years. Goals focus on outcomes or results and are qualitative in nature.
STRATEGIES Statements of major approach or method (the means) for attaining broad goals and resolving specific issues.
OBJECTIVES Specific, concrete, measurable statements of what will be done to achieve a goal generally within a one-year time frame.

This chart illustrates the flow from "Critical Issues" to "Goals" to "Strategies" as a logical progression of thought in the strategic planning process.  

PLANNING LEVELS

EXAMPLES OF EACH LEVEL

CRITICAL ISSUE:

Fundamental policy or program concerns that define the most important situations and choices an organization faces now and in the future. Critical issues can reflect long-standing problems in the organization, the community served or recent events that are anticipated to have a significant impact on the organization and/or community served. 
 

How do we expand our revenue base to keep up with present and future needs?

 

 

GOALS:  3-5 years out

Broad statements of what the organization hopes to achieve in the next 3 years. Goals focus on outcomes or results and are qualitative in nature.
 

Expand and diversify the revenue base to support anticipated growth in our programs and services.

STRATEGIES:  1-5 years out

Statements of major approach or method for attaining goals and resolving specific issues.
 

bullet

Generate more revenue from programs.

bullet

Expand individual annual campaign giving.

bullet

Increase corporate giving

OBJECTIVES: 1 year out

Specific, concrete, measurable statements of what will be done to achieve a goal generally within a one year time-frame.
 

The Program Services Department will generate at least $285,000 in revenue from program service fees by December 31, 2012.

Planning To Plan

Here are some questions to pose in order to prepare your organization for strategic planning:

  1. How will the board and key staff be oriented to the process?

  2. Is there organizational readiness for strategic planning?

  3. How much commitment is there to the process?

  4. What do you expect to accomplish?

  5. How long will it take?

  6. Who, beyond board and staff, should be involved?

  7. What do you do with managers and other key individuals who are not part of the formal strategic planning committee?

  8. How will we encourage boldness, risk-taking and creativity on the part of planning participants?

  9. Where should the planning be done?

  10. Should a consultant be used for all or part of the process?

(Adapted from an article by Tim Nolan, University Associates)

 


"Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow." Albert Einstein View Past Quotes

frank@createthefuture.com susan@createthefuture.com

2014 Creative Information Systems 

 In Association with Amazon.com

Revised: April 14, 2014