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What are the key ingredients in a great strategic plan?

By Nicole Weber

If you don’t have a strategic plan for your business or it’s time for a new one, we are here to help. We love facilitating strategic planning workshops and we make them fun. If you’d like to find out more, then get in touch with us.

We do know that not everyone can pay for a facilitator to walk them through a strategic planning process though. Or, you might just want to know more about strategic planning before you get us involved. That’s why we’ve put together this simple guide.

So what are the key ingredients that go into a great strategic planning document? You want this to be a document that clearly describes what your goals are and how you’re going to turn them into reality for the next 2-3 years. You also want it to be a document you are proud to share with others. For example, you might need to attach it to a grant or funding application or you may want to share it with another organisation that you’re interested in partnering with.

When you’re writing the strategic planning document, you’ll want to think about who is going to read it. Once you’re clear on your audience, the next step is to organise the information in a way that is logical and easy to follow. You may want to include the following sections:

Background – this outlines who wrote the plan, when it was written and the time period it covers. It might also include a bit about the purpose of the plan. For example, your focus over the next 2-3 years might be to grow the organisation, or to offer a wider range of services.

Consultation – here is where you describe who was consulted when you did your strategic planning process. Did you ask clients, community stakeholders, staff or anyone else for their input? And how did you get that input? Including consultation information shows that the plan includes ideas from a range of people, not just the person who wrote the plan.

Information gathered – part of the process of creating a strategic plan involves working through tools like a SWOT analysis, and reviewing your organisation’s mission, values and purpose. It’s good to include this information in the plan as it helps to tell the story of why your organisation exists and where things are at the beginning of this planning cycle.

The plan – this is where you set out all of the key goals for the organisation, the actions you will take against each goal, who is responsible for each action, and a timeline for completion.

Top tips:

  • A strategic plan should be a ‘living document’. This means that you update the plan as you need to. It’s not set in stone. As you work your way through the 2-3 year plan you will most likely need to adjust some of the goals, actions, people responsible and timelines.
  • A great strategic plan will keep you focussed. If you break down each goal into 3-monthly actions, it’s clear where you need to put your energy. It helps to make big goals achievable and clarifies your thinking so you can focus on what you need to do in the short term.
  • Don’t set too many goals. I encourage people to stick to no more than 6 big goals in their strategic plan. Any more than 6 and it’s likely to feel overwhelming. If you find yourself with more than 6 goals, pick the priorities and focus on them first. You can always review your plan after a year and reprioritise if needed.

Are you ready for your next strategic plan? We are here to help with engaging, fun and productive strategic planning workshops tailored to your organisation’s needs.

Click here to find out more.

If your business could benefit from strategic advice, get in touch for a 15 minute, no-obligation, discussion on how we can help.