May 12, 2020

Strategic Plans & Planning Processes: Driving Engagement, Performance and Results

Strategic planning is the process of establishing a longer-term vision, competitive position and specific steps to get there. Your organization’s strategic plan is its game plan for development and change – a valuable guide for leaders, employees and stakeholders to know where you are going and to engage in getting there.

What comes to mind for you when you think about strategic planning? Is it an energizing process that drives “engagement, performance and results”? Or perhaps you have a more skeptical view. Your experience might have led you to conclude that strategic planning is a process that sounds good in theory but, in practice, often comes up short and tends to be overridden by the pressures of the here and now.

The same ambivalence exists about strategic plans. Ideally, they can bring an organization together, generating energy, heightening agility and renewing commitment. Yet we worry about building anticipation, doing a lot of work but ending up with a document that (as the saying goes) “gathers dust on the shelf”, especially in an environment where no one can predict what tomorrow will bring.

Carrying out effective planning and generating effective plans is not a matter of luck. There is an art to it, and a science as well. The art and science of strategic planning involve effective design – of the planning process and the resultant document. Design thinking ensures a process suited to your organization – its size and resources, its opportunities and challenges; its employees and stakeholders.

While there are important elements in any planning process (environmental scan; competitive analysis; compelling promise and consultation), at the centre of this work is an intensive, collaborative and creative process: a strategic planning workshop. The right participants are needed. So are some “hands-on” elements that engage participants, generate effective performance and produce results. The key results are not solely a well-articulated action plan. Results include insight into today’s circumstances and especially tomorrow’s opportunities. They create action plans that are relevant and flexible enough to be of value and to take advantage of the opportunities that are right for each organization.

Compass North has designed a highly practical, hands-on strategic planning workshop that is customized to the needs of each organization. Beyond that workshop, we also facilitate entire planning processes or elements of the planning process. It is about providing clients what works best for them.

Usually in workshops, participants will:
- Analyze organizational strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats
- Envision the future
- Debate what matters most – the priorities for organizational success
- Create a game plan for organizational development and change
- Generate the strategic direction that makes the most sense and affords the organization the opportunity to best reimagine its future

The result of the workshop is the raw material for a strategic plan or strategic direction with:
- Enough vision to inspire creativity and innovation
- Enough realism to ensure credibility
- Enough flexibility for adaptation to a changing future
- Enough precision for measurability and accountability

Put these together and you will have more than enough to guide you and your organization into an unknown future. You will have a roadmap for innovation, growth and competitive advantage – a roadmap that generates engagement, performance and results.

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