strategic planning definition
This document is intended to provide the reader with information about strategic planning. It is organized into three sections to help the reader better understanding what strategic planning is about and how it is done. We have also provided a sample plan for your review. The complexity of your plan will depend upon the size and complexity of your organization. Smaller organizations may not need a complex plan while larger and/or more complex organizations may require more time, people and other resources to develop and implement their plan.
Section one of this document will cover the “What” and “Why” of strategic planning. This section answers the questions:
· What is strategic planning?
· Why should a state agency get involved in the strategic planning process?
Section two will address the “How” of strategic planning. This section will walk you through the steps in strategic planning and answer such questions as:
· What are the strategic planning Steps?
· Who should be involved in the planning process?
· How detailed does the strategic plan have to be?
· I’ve heard a strategic plan has something called a purpose statement, vision and mission. Is that true? How do I create them?
· How will I know if our plan is successful?
Section three will provide a sample strategic plan for those organizations without a plan. The internet is an excellent source for examples of strategic plans and planning. Those state organizations with an existing strategic plan should continue working with their existing plan and need not make adjustments unless the plan is missing one or more of the basic strategic planning steps identified in this document.
Ok! Now that you know what to expect from this document, let’s get started.
Sometimes, the thought of putting together a strategic plan can leave you feeling anxious and confused.
As stated earlier, strategic planning will take time and effort. How much time and effort depends on the size and complexity of your organization. However, the process can be made easier with good planning and patience. The time and effort put into developing an effective strategic plan will save you time and effort in the coming years. It will also provide organizational focus.
Where do you want your organization to be a year from now? What about five years from now? If you don’t care there is no need to plan. But if being the best you can be is important then you need to plan.
The process of identifying where you want to be and deciding what you must do to get there is known as strategic planning. And it’s important for any organization. Without a clear picture of where you want to be your path will be rocky. There will be indecisiveness, second guessing and heading off into directions that you don’t want to pursue.
Many books and articles describe how best to do strategic planning, and many go to much greater lengths than this document will. However, our purpose here is to present the fundamental steps that must be taken in the strategic planning process.
Section 1: The “What” of Strategic Planning
What is strategic planning? A generally acceptable definition of strategic planning is as follows:
“Strategic planning is the process by which members of an organization envision its future and develop the necessary procedures and operations to achieve that future.” [Pfeiffer, Goodstein, Nolan, 1986] and [Rothwell, 1989]
Strategic planning is also “a process of defining the values, purpose, vision, mission, goals and objectives of an organization. Through the planning process, a jurisdiction or agency identifies the outcomes it wants to achieve through its programs and the specific means by which it intends to achieve these outcomes.”
Strategic Planning can be:
· A process for setting future directions
· A means to reduce risk
· A vehicle for training managers and direct supports
· A process for making strategic decisions
· A way to develop consensus among managers and direct supports
· A means to develop a written long-range plan.
A sound strategic plan will:
· Serve as a framework for decisions or for securing support/approval.
· Provide a basis for more detailed planning.
· Explain the business to others in order to inform, motivate & involve.
· Assist benchmarking & performance monitoring.
· Stimulate change and become a building block for the next plan.
Most of us know that planning is a way of looking toward the future and deciding what the organization will do in the future. Strategic planning is a disciplined effort to produce decisions and actions that guide and shape what the organization is, what it does, and why it does it (Bryson, 1995). Both strategic planning and long range planning cover several years. However, strategic planning requires the organization to examine what it is and the environment in which it is working. Strategic planning also helps the organization to focus its attention on the crucial issues and challenges. It, therefore, helps the organization’s leaders decide what to do about those issues and challenges.
In short, as a result of a strategic planning process, an organization will have a clearer idea of what it is, what it does, and what challenges it faces. If it follows the plan, it will also enjoy enhanced performance and responsiveness to its environment. (source: Western Michigan University)
Why Should Departments and Agencies Plan Strategically?
So your organization doesn’t end up like this!
Also, planning strategically can help your department or agency:
· Improve the confidence of our citizens or customers in the capability of government
· Improve Program/Service effectiveness and management accountability by focusing on RESULTS
· Enable managers to improve service by developing a plan to meet objectives and providing information on program results & service quality
· Improve effectiveness and efficiency of government agency operations