Getting People Engaged in Strategic Planning – Before You Start!

Strategic Planning can be a framework to plan for and deal with change or to ensure all members of a team are working in the same direction. The process can be used for groups and individuals at several levels including the Business and Government Sectors, Community Groups and in your personal lives. The Strategic Planning…

Strategic Planning can be a framework to plan for and deal with change or to ensure all members of a team are working in the same direction. The process can be used for groups and individuals at several levels including the Business and Government Sectors, Community Groups and in your personal lives.

The Strategic Planning process

In its simplest form, strategic planning combines three basic elements – Now-Where-How.

  • Where are we now?
  • Where do we want to go in the future?
  • How will we get there?

It's a process to help people look at their current situation, identify how they would like the future to be and what steps they need to take to get there.

During the process I take participants through a number of stages

1. The drivers for change

2. Understanding the current environment

3. How to help a group set their aim or future vision

4. How to help a group understand it's role

5. A basic SWOT analysis to set priorities

6. Development of an action plan

So let's focus on the first three steps.

But before we go too far into the process we need to identify if the team is ready- and – do they need to do anything anyway?

Planning for the sake of planning is not going to get many supporters. Getting people involved in change processes can be a challenge at the best of times.

If we understand the process it can help to identify where and what some of the hurdles may be. In looking at the drivers for change you can use a number of models to help the team identify and understand them. My view is that we need to make it personal. Yep, personal.

So prior to the workshop I often send out an online survey. In this I get participants to articulate their key frustrations about the way things are right now. This is not manipulation. If there are no frustrations, no concerns, no worries – then there will not be a change. Everyone will continue in cruise control. The workshop and any associated documents and plans produced will substantially be a waste of time – and money!

Then, as part of the 'warm-up' process at the start of the workshop, revisit these frustrations, concerns and worries. Use them in developing participants' expectations of the process.

And here's the key step.

Rather than having participants set an extended list of expectations that you're expected to deliver on, turn it around.

Get them to focus on the one thing they've come here for. ' And put out the challenge. “If you find yourself wandering during the day, zoning out or getting distracted, come back. Come back and focus on this expectation, the thing that you want to resolve.

This way the ball is in their court – you can get on with running the process and they can have the responsibility of sticking to the task ahead.