How to Start Strategic Planning: Do a Plan for a Plan – Part 5

Sections of this topic

    In Parts 1, 2, 3, and 4 of this topic, we reviewed the first 12 of the 15 questions to be answered during the “plan for a plan” portion of strategic planning. Part 5 describes questions 13-15.

    13. How will you get the buy-in of members of the organization?

    There seems to be growing cynicism about strategic planning. Far too often, the process is overwhelming and confusing for planners. Far too often, the process does not result in the implementation of a relevant, realistic, and flexible plan. The commitment and ownership of members of the organization are crucial to the success of the planning process and the plan. Consider these guidelines:

    • Show visible top-leadership support – the CEO and Board Chair should visibly announce the process and show their continuing support of it.
    • Explain if previous planning efforts failed and why – don’t expect members to simply ignore the past.
    • Explain why you are planning now and how it benefits the organization.
    • Involve those who will implement the plan – don’t somehow bestow the plan on the rest of the organization.
    • Tie planning to important issues – you won’t have a buy-in of members to a grand vision if their hearts and minds are worried about current issues in the workplace.
    • Show how the planning is realistic – unrealistic plans are one of the biggest reasons for cynicism about planning.

    14. How will you ensure the implementation of the plan?

    One of the biggest frustrations with planning is when it produces a plan that doesn’t get implemented.

    • Involve those in planning who will end up implementing the plan – that helps to get their commitment to implementing the plan.
    • When identifying goals, always ask “Are these goals realistic? How do we know?”
    • Include action plans in the overall plan – action plans specify who will do what and by when in order to achieve goals.
    • Assign specific people to monitor the implementation of the plan.
    • Be open to changing the plan – plans are rarely implemented as first written.

    15. How will you change the plan as needed?

    Plans can be changed. They just need to be changed in a systematic approach.

    • Before a plan is formally approved, put “DRAFT” on each page of the plan. After approval, remove the word.
    • On each page, put a revision date, e.g., “Revision – April 15, 2010”.
    • If a change seems to be needed, propose the change to the appropriate leadership, e.g. the Board or the CEO.
    • When the leadership approves the change, then put a new revision date on the plan.

    This post completes the series. To see Parts 1, 2, 3, and 4, click on the category “Plan for a Plan” on the sidebar.

    What do you think?

    Your thoughts about the plan for a plan?

    Here are many more resources about strategic planning.

    Carter McNamara, MBA, Ph.D. – Authenticity Consulting, LLC – 800-971-2250
    Read my weekly blogs: Boards, Consulting and OD, Nonprofits, and Strategic Planning.