We have been assisting NGOs, small technology companies and divisions of government departments for many years in getting clarity on the issues and opportunities facing them as organizations and teams.

The process of strategic planning

To achieve wide acceptance and buy-in, strategic planning should involve as many key stakeholders as possible. Accordingly, AFS Consulting prefers to get input from a number of sources: staff, executives, and broad members and decision makers.

  • We interview as many stakeholders as necessary in advance of and group session to initiate thinking and establish trust;
  • We bring the group(or groups) of key decision makers and stakeholders together for a one or two day session (often off site);
  • We facilitate brainstorming or other discussion methods to identify issues facing the group; usually some form of SWOT analysis is done, identifying sorting and prioritizing the issues; then
  • Conduct (high level) action planning to address each issue; producing ‘as said’ notes of the session.

AFS Consulting does not write the strat plan for the organization, though we may help; it is much better if a trusted internal agent is the architect of the plan document who will sponsor its adoption by the Executive. Finally, the process must address the need for the plan being effectively transmitted to the various stakeholders in the organization.

The structure of a strategic plan

  • It describes the preferred future for the Organization in the context of its world
    • It is not a plan for the industry it represents.
  • It is a plan to plan
    • It is about identifying issues and priorities and direction, not supplying answers and finished products.
  • It is a communication tool
    • Sets out the value of the Organization – and the need for continuous improvement
    • Sets realistic, achievable Targets
    • A Priority Template
    • Sets out Accountabilities
  • It has structure
    • Purpose
    • Vision
    • Mission (in an agreed time frame, at least three years, usually five, or longer)
    • Strategic Themes/Key Results Areas
    • Strategic Objectives & Goals
    • S.W.O.T. (in appendix)
  • It is brief!
    • Not more than 10 pages (up to 20 including appendices)

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