Strategy – Why is it essential to your organisation?

Categories: Leadership.

The sustainability of children’s hospices has never been as critical and indispensable as it is today. For this reason, good corporate governance, strategic leadership and management are more crucial than ever. The time has come for organisations to move away from strategic planning and focus more on strategic management.

Strategic management is a complete and combined process of strategic planning (25%), business/implementation planning (25%), performance measurement and management (25%) and rewards and recognition (25%). This series of articles explore each of these elements and their importance to organisations focused on children’s social and development programmes.

What is a Strategic Plan?
A strategic plan is a disciplined effort to produce fundamental decisions and actions that shapes and guides what an organisation is, what it does and why it’s doing it. Strategic plans are comprehensive documents that cover all aspects of an organisation’s work, including programmes and services, management and operations, fundraising and financial management, facilities and governance.

What difference does a well-developed strategic plan make to an organisation?
A well-developed strategic plan gives beneficiaries and the general public a clear idea of what the leadership and governance of the organisation plans to do to strategically grow and sustain itself for the future. All strategies in such a plan must be aimed at achieving the organisation’s mission and vision. One example is at children’s hospices, where children’s programmes must be holistic.

Keys to Successful Strategic Planning

  1. Have a clear and comprehensive grasp of external opportunities and challenges facing the organisation
  2. Conduct a realistic and comprehensive assessment of the organisation’s strengths and limitations
  3. Follow an inclusive approach
  4. Establish an empowered planning committee
  5. Always involve and get buy in from senior leadership
  6. Ensure sharing of responsibility by board and staff members
  7. Use this opportunity to learn from best practices
  8. Have clear priorities and a realistic implementation/business plan
  9. Be patient – the process will take a while
  10. Make a commitment to change and manage change effectively

How do I go about developing a strategic plan for my organisation?
We’ve made it simple by breaking the process down into a few easy to follow steps:  

Step 1: Initiate and agree on the strategic planning process

  • What is the purpose of developing this strategic plan for your organisation?
  • What form will it take?
  • What is the role, function and membership of the coordinating committee/person?
  • What is the role, function and membership of the strategic planning team?
  • What are the resources needed for developing the strategic plan?
  • What are the organisation’s limitations?

Step 2: Identify the organisational mandate

  • What are the organisational requirements, restrictions, expectations and pressures of the organisation?
  • What legislation, policies and/or contracts will influence the strategic plan?
  • What are the informal mandates (i.e. political, financial)
  • Who are the major role players?  (internal and external)

Step 3: Clarify the organisation’s mission, vision and values

  • These must be linked to the organisation’s mandate
  • This is the most important justification for the organisation’s existence
  • Consider the stakeholders’ expectations
  • Use short sentences and/or paragraphs

Step 4: Conduct an internal and external environmental analysis (SWOT)

  • Identify the organisation’s internal strengths
  • Identify the organisation’s internal weaknesses
  • Identify all potential external opportunities
  • Identify the external threats facing the organisation
  • Throughout this process, be realistic and involve internal and external stakeholders

Step 5: Identify the strategic issues faced by the organisation

  • What are the fundamental policy questions and critical challenges affecting the organisation’s mission and vision?
  • It is critical to deal with challenges and issues in order to ensure the organisation’s survival. Failure to do so can have undesirable results.

Step 6: Formulate strategies (strategic goals, objectives, strategies and tactics) to manage strategic issues

  • Define the desired outcomes, including the organisation’s confidential information and programming or internal operations
  • Progress towards achieving measurable goals and objectives
  • Ensure that goals are more far-reaching and comprehensive than objectives
  • Question each strategy with “What do we want to achieve?”

Step 7: Establish and develop effective organisational vision/strategic intent

  • Describe what the organisation must look like after it has successfully implemented strategies and achieved its full potential

Step 8: Implementation plan

  • Develop an organisational user guide to the strategic plan
  • Determine the cost, duration, priority, order and accountability for each strategy and tactic
  • Question each task with “What are the specific priorities?” and “How can we pursue our plan in a logical and feasible way?”

Following these steps will ensure that your strategic plan is inclusive and informed of the realities of your organisational culture. A first step is to locate your strategic plan, read through it and check that it is up-to-date and relevant. If not, A|W Management Consulting can assist you to develop a new strategic plan.

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