If, you ever, belonged, and/ or, were involved, with any organization, you probably, at one time, or another, wondered – about/ questioned, why certain actions were, either, taken, or neglected! After, over four decades of involvement, in nearly, every aspect of leading, from identifying and qualifying, to training, developing and consulting to thousands of actual, and/ or potential leaders, I have come to believe, one of the primary reasons, we witness, these days, such a dearth of true leadership, is, the lack of professionally designed and implemented, leadership training programs, and, far – too little, real, strategic planning, performed, properly! With that in mind, this article will attempt to, briefly, consider, examine, review, and discuss, the 6 essential steps, for strategic planning, and why this matters.
1. History/ heritage: How can one proceed, in a meaningful, relevant way, unless the process, begins with a thorough, understanding, and appreciation of the particular group’s history, and heritage, and, why/ if, it might be significant, for this particular organization? Do the group’s stakeholders, feel, these factors are irreplaceable, and essential, to be maintained, and included?
2. Strengths, and weaknesses: Every group has certain strengths, as well as weaknesses, and, it is wise, to effectively, take advantage of the former, while addressing areas of weakness, effectively, and in a relevant, sustainable manner! The goal must be, to make the organization, stronger, better, and more relevant!
3. Mission Statement: Most organizations should have, and many do, have Mission Statements, as a component of their vision, and reasons, for – being! Unfortunately, far – too often, groups never consider these, after their original formation, and, for them, to have the most impact, should be reviewed, tweaked (as necessary), and/ or, revised, in order to maintain the organization’s relevance, and sustainability!
4. Vision: One of the essential components of strategic planning, must be, identifying, and clearly stating, the vital, vibrant vision (or, reason, for – existence)! This must be, not merely, the same – old, same – old, but, rather, look ahead, to the future, ensuring the potential to be, the best, it can be!
5. Risks/ rewards/ needs/ options: Proceed, with an open – mind, and consider, viable options and alternatives, to determine, which, makes the most sense, going forward! Strategies must consider risks, versus, rewards, and identify, which, might, best address the needs, and priorities, of the group, in the immediate, intermediate, and longer – term!
6. Putting it together: Every Strategic Plan must state a summary, where the main points, are put – together, and a clear strategy, to ensure the brightest future, and the strongest, possible group, and the reasoning, is thoroughly, included.
A Strategic Plan is only meaningful, if it addresses, the bigger = picture, thoroughly, and in a relevant, sustainable way, focused, on the best approach, to assist the organization, in undergoing, consistent, quality growth, and an inspiring reason, for people, to want to belong! Are you willing to be a meaningful leader?
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