Simply put, strategic planning is a process of defining direction, strategy, and planning the implementation of that strategy. You identify goals and allocate the appropriate timelines and resources to accomplish those goals – you make a plan.
We like to focus on what fuels your plan. As always, we are interested in your thinking. Beyond the plan, and before the spreadsheet, comes your mindset. No plan, regardless of the hours spent or the money paid to fancy consultants, will bring true success without a holistic picture of the organization and its team.
Regardless of the methodology you choose for your strategic planning process, the following approaches aim to optimize productivity, creativity, inspire leadership, and organizational capacity building to – do better by thinking better.
Embody a Growth Mindset with your Strategic Planning
80% of success is psychology and 20% is mechanics. How and what you think shapes the outcome before you even start. A growth mindset works on empowering your mind, inspiring creativity, and provoking solution-oriented approaches. These MINDSHIFT principles remind us to focus on possibility, opportunity, and our personal accountability.
- The brain is a muscle, therefore it can be trained and transformed
- Beliefs are thoughts repeated, so choose carefully; your perspective fuels your (in)actions
- Change is possible; change is part of your growth and evolution
- We all have the capacity to get better.
- Abilities and intelligence can develop through dedication and effort.
Focus on Opportunity
Asset Mapping is a vital capacity building process for community building that emphasizes an abundance and gratitude mindset. This type of thinking is an incredible tool to use in a strategic planning process. It provides information about the strengths and resources available. Take the time to do an asset assessment of the opportunities, partnerships, and resources available to you before you engage in the planning
process. Shift your mind to a lens of possibility and opportunity.
Things to think about: Who is at the table, and what can they offer? What are the strengths or opportunities
available? What is working? What are the successes?
Engage Diverse Voices
Appreciative Inquiry Methodology teaches us the most powerful plans engage stakeholders throughout the process. Whoever writes the plan, owns the plan. The more people you include, the more accountability to the plan there is. Engaging in whole system inquiry provides clarity, strengthens relationships, and builds new skills. It also promotes leadership, and nurtures a culture of continuous inquiry and learning.
Things to think about: Who does the plan affect? Are their voices considered in the planning process? How can you best motivate the team to be engaged and invested in the outcome?
Balance the Head, Heart, and Hands
Too often, we run ourselves, our families, and our organizations, with over-active hands and an imbalanced heart and head. Too much heart or too much head is unsustainable. The head invites us to be strategic and allows our ideas to be feasible. The heart invites us to build relationships and have purpose. Together the head and heart build a foundation. It is only from that foundation that we task the hands. The hands need guidance and an allied head and heart to be ‘productive’. Action brought on from an unbalanced place will show imbalance in the result. When you conduct strategic planning, it is essential that each step considers the head and the heart before writing the plan for the hands. Only then will the results be strategic and meaningful. Only then will you truly realize your vision.