are you ready for strategic planning? — consider these checklists first

June 8, 2015

Strategic planning can be an overwhelming process for any organization – let alone those who have never considered or invested in a long-term planning process in the past. But we don’t necessarily think it needs to be that way. In preparation for our new partnership with EdTec we started to think about how to pitch the value of strategic planning to a group that has not traditionally invested in it. In doing so, we recognized there are a lot of organizations that could benefit from asking themselves some of these same questions.

Strategic planning for us is a collaborative process that brings diverse stakeholders to the table to reimagine a bolder future for their organization. It’s a way for organizations to figure out where they want to go, identify the hurdles that stand in the way of getting there, and then engage in the co-creation of strategies to determine how best to overcome, circumvent, or mitigate those hurdles.

How do you know whether your organization is in need of strategic planning? And, how do you know if your organization is ready and equipped to commit to the process? Great questions. We came up with a few checklists you might want to consider to determine if strategic planning is right for you.

How Do I Know I Need a Strategic Plan? The primary reason to engage in a strategic planning process is because you are hungry to deepen and/or broaden your impact. Do you…

  • Feel that your organization could be doing more?
  • See a great opportunity, but aren’t sure how to capitalize on it?
  • Want to expand?
  • Feel held back by internal conflict and organizational politics?
  • Believe there isn’t consensus around your organization’s vision?
  • Need to plan for leadership succession?
  • Recognize your community’s or end-users’ needs are shifting, but you’re not sure how to adapt your programming?
  • Want to build stronger external relationships and partnerships?

What Does My Organization Need to Get Started? For a successful strategic planning effort, you will need:

  • Leadership support for the strategic planning process.
  • An open mind and willingness to explore your organization’s full potential.
  • An ability to commit time, energy, and brain capacity throughout the         process.
  • The mentality that strategic planning is an investment in your organization’s long-term success, and that the process is just as valuable as the end product.
  • An eagerness to be transparent and collaborative.
  • A recognition that strategic planning is challenging and requires persistence, passion, and patience.

Interested in reading more? Check out how we adapted these checklists for charter schools by reading our recent article in EdTec Connect: Strategic Planning to Reimagine a Bolder Future for California Charters.

Also, check out another (and, we think, helpful) perspective on the strategic planning process from David Stid at the Hewlett Foundation.

This post brought to you by team member Annie Crangle.