A strategic plan should be structured to produce a top-level, comprehensive roadmap illustrating how each facet of an organization fits together to meet their common mission. This is where the current goals are clearly defined and the responsibility for meeting those goals is assigned to one or more people or committees. Process owners then use the strategic plan as a foundation for building their goal-specific implementation plans, which will dictate their day-to-day activities. Both implementation plans and strategic plans should be reviewed and updated on a regular basis to respond to changes in the organization’s operating environment.
Mission statements are ambiguous, goals are not! A truly effective mission statement communicates the desired outcome of the organization’s efforts without dictating how those outcomes must be achieved. Goals, however, are needed to give structure to the organization’s activities. They translate the mission statement into actionable language and in the process define the milestones against which progress towards the mission will be measured. What’s unique about goals is that they change! As an organization adapts to meet the changing needs of their beneficiaries and new capacities are developed, the goals must change with them. The heart of Practical Results Coaching practice is distilling a client’s vision into goals and action steps in order to hold them accountable. We do the same thing for non-profits as part of their strategic plan.
The most well-written and narrowly defined strategic plan will never be executed without the proper resources. This doesn’t mean you need a lot of money. It means you need to be honest about who in your organization has the time/energy/expertise to perform the work required. It means being budget conscious in terms of how much money you can spend and when. It means being realistic about your timeline. Invite us in to walk through your strategic plan with you for the sole purpose of identifying resources.
This is the dreaded “How?” question which most people prefer to ignore. After you’ve stated your goals, defined your outcomes in measurable, tangible terms, and found someone to take ownership of the process, now comes the hard part of actually doing the work. But not just any work. Practical Results Coaching is focused on achieving practical results, and so should you! Your implementation plan for each goal should include a statement explaining how each task in the process will actually move you toward your goal. For example, updating your website will not automatically result in more donors. You need to state how you plan to convert site visitors into donors. This is the “How?” part of your strategic plan, and Practical Results Coaching can help keep it real. Make sure the work you are doing is not “busy work”.
Ask yourself the three questions below.
If you are unclear about an answer, reach out to Practical Results Coaching for an initial consultation about your organization’s strategic planning needs.