The Strategic Planning Process is intended to bring the appropriate stakeholders together in one room to map out the future. We use a standard SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis as the foundation for the development of strategic goals, generally three to five. In any organization, it also becomes important to assess who should attend. It may be appropriate as an example to have the executive group only attend, whereas it may be equally relevant to have select individuals with specialized skills or interests from throughout the organization attend. My experience suggests that the group size should be limited to a maximum fifteen participants. It is also my experience that the session is best held away from the workplace preferably with an overnight stay. The informal dialogue that occurs after hours is often as valuable as the intensity of the planning session.
We have introduced a teambuilding component into our planning process. Using one of many simulations such as “Stranded in the Himalayas” not only do we have a good icebreaker, but furthermore we learn the power of consensus decision-making. Organizations are moving away from Mission statements placing greater emphasis on the timelessness of Vision and the importance of Values. Strategic focus is paramount, as the organization deploys the scarce resources of time, money, people and technology. In our agenda, we recommend that the group address all of the above, however time may only permit a “skeleton” for the Vision or Values therefore requiring the organization to complete the process at a later point in time.