Strategic Planning Starts Messy

Sep 28, 2023 | Strategic Planning, Feature

Clients love the idea of strategically planning their future. The staff like to know what programs and services need to be prioritized and what they have permission to let go of. Boards of directors want to secure a vision and a guarantee that the organization is stable long-term. Strategic planning serves both purposes.

But I always caution clients that to create a sensible plan that truly reflects your organization, they must dig deep and be prepared to think big before narrowing the field.

In the beginning, the Casey Communication team conducts an Assessment of a client’s programs and services, essentially “findings” about the organization’s performance. We also complete a SWOT to determine issues that need addressing. This unearthing process can be messy.

Once that evaluation stage is done, we take the client through the fun stuff – what I call Ideation – when they dream about the future. Envision lots of digital and literal sticky notes everywhere. We put all ideas on the table, nothing is off-limits. For those with linear brains, the process can feel uncomfortable.

Then we begin the process of narrowing the realities. What fits into the mission and what is clearly scope creep? What resources are available and are the goals and strategies equitable? What feels good and what does not?

Through a prioritization process, we neatly fold ideas and resources into a plan that’s reasonable. This stage requires several iterations before the staff and board land in a comfortable place. The resulting plan is visionary but also discreet. It’s comprehensive but targeted. And most importantly, it’s finally tidy.