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What is a Strategic Plan? How do you develop one? Why would you do so?Dr. Jens J. Hansen Woodhill Park Research Retreat
What is a strategic plan?It’s a long(ish) term plan that, overall, provides organisational direction to agencies; It’s a collaboratively arrived at cohesive statement about the mission, beliefs, goals, structure and strengths and weakness of an agency; It’s never really set in concrete – rather, it’s dynamic and sensibly moveable over time – it represents strategic thinking; It’s always accompanied by an operational plan which outlines how strategic objectives will be achieved. It’s a... 06/04/2017 © Dr. Jens J. Hansen, 2008
Why would you develop a strategic plan?Because good planning is the arch enemy of waste; Because a sound strategic plan gives an organisation direction and a sense of purpose for the future – it articulates the vision and thinking of leaders at a point in time. That can help you to attract funding; Because a strategic plan forces you to appraise the status quo and to determine ways of shifting elements which warrant change; Because such a plan creates bench-marks against which progress can be gauged; Because … 06/04/2017 © Dr. Jens J. Hansen, 2008
So where do we begin – or not?There are several approaches to strategic planning and no one way is necessarily better than others – so begin by appreciating that no one way is best; The Internet is full of ideas; there are text-books galore about Strategic Plans, and, there are many examples/template of plans that have not worked – just be critical of them - always; The first secret, it seems, is to keep it simple, achievable and above all, re-visitable as well as revisable; The second secret is to consider a strategic plan as a reflection of your thinking at the time – thinking which links to business plans, operational procedures, etc. 06/04/2017 © Dr. Jens J. Hansen, 2008
Four essential ingredients to success…First, work collaboratively – be a team that celebrates diversity yet displays, in the end, a sense of unity; Second, recognise what you do and don’t know. Your creativity should be informed by sound information you have and by research you may need to complete; Third, after you’ve assembled your planning information, think carefully about criteria for success because these are what you will ultimately measure your performance against; Finally, remember to work out ways of evaluating your performance as you carry out the plan (formative evaluation) and after you’ve achieved milestones (summative evaluation). 06/04/2017 © Dr. Jens J. Hansen, 2008
What are the steps? These steps are not mandatory but I suggest that they might be quite useful to consider: Generate an introductory statement indicating that the plan has been developed by XYZ group in order to provide a disciplined approach to the management of XYZ group over the next ABC period of time. Write a brief background statement/history of the organization (you may need to research this from archives, minutes, etc.). Develop a list of the Management Board and Staff membership and an accompanying organisational chart. Debate and write a statement of the organisational vision (what you really, really, really wannabe) and a also create an unambiguous mission statement that captures the fundamental purpose/s of your agency. 06/04/2017 © Dr. Jens J. Hansen, 2008
What are the steps? (continued)Indicate what your organisational values are, i.e. the values that will govern your operations. Complete a SWOT analysis: Identify internal and external Strengths. Nominate internal and external Weaknesses. Consider internal and external Opportunities. Appraise internal and external Threats. Debate and agree upon you major goals (as a predicate to formulating specific strategic objectives). Remember goals are broad statements of overall intent. 06/04/2017 © Dr. Jens J. Hansen, 2008
What are the steps? (continued)Brainstorm and develop rational, realistic and and achievable Key Strategic Objectives: Remember objectives always begin with the word “To … (achieve something or other” In association with Strategic Objectives, determine Specific Programme Objectives (these are minor achievable intentions, each of which enables the Key Strategic Objective to be achieved. Create a realistic timeframe so that you know by when you will have achieved each step. You may want to think about resources at this point but that’s a plus rather than mandatory. 06/04/2017 © Dr. Jens J. Hansen, 2008
What are the steps? (continued)Determine Strategic Actions: Sometimes this is called operationalisation – it’s all about the how will you do it all rather than the what (which was your strategic Objective and the associated specific programme objectives). You may want to nominate teams or committees or positions of responsibility at this point. Finally, work out how you will evaluate your plan: How often, against which criteria, for whom, and with respect to which, if any, policies your agency has developed will the evaluation occur? Remember there are formative and summative evaluations. 06/04/2017 © Dr. Jens J. Hansen, 2008
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