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Does Your Organization Have a Strategic Plan?

As I watch the world deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, I wonder, “Do people, organizations, and, groups have a plan in place? Do they have a plan if their employees contract the virus and have to stay home? What if the unfortunate happens and they lose an employee? When business as usual isn’t usual anymore, due to a shut down or loss of revenue, are they leaving the outcome to chance?” Perhaps the panic would be reduced if you had a strategic plan or process for making decisions during crisis. COVID-19 is an example for the need for strategic and scenario plans for your team and business.

Why You Should Have a Plan

A strategic plan can give you and your team the peace of mind. Knowing where they are, what they are doing (and why), and where they are going helps orient the decisions you make for the organization. Having a plan makes decisions easy and it can create a fun and secure culture. My team has a plan. We worked hard to develop the plan together and since creating it we conduct business every day accordingly. We are now relying on that plan to move our team and our consumers through this COVID-19 pandemic.

How to Get Started

The best way to start your plan development is to clearly define the mission and your values of your organization, to find your why. Without having a shared, well-defined mission, your team will become “renters” and not “owners” of their responsibilities. Giving your team a reason behind the processes will create buy-in and allow innovation to happen organically.

Defining the real reason why your team exists is something that should be revisited often. It will allow time for the members of your team to find their ownership and match their personal mission to the mission of the team. This reflection will emphasize the “why” and then you can clarify the “how”.

The “how” will then become your strategic plan. The most important part of any plan is consistency. It is easy to be led down side paths when there is not a consistent, detailed map to follow. No matter what strategic planning method your team chooses to utilize, it is essential to be able to step back and look at the big picture as well as zooming in to see the minute details.

Each view point shows something different. The big picture can show the relationships to other departments, companies, and consumers while the minute details can show how the processes work together like cogs in the wheel of business.

Scenario Planning Reveals Big Picture

Your strategic plan should include scenario planning for times when one of the cogs, either in the big picture or the minute details, becomes broken or stuck. What will the other members of your team need to do to fill in that gap and keep all of the cogs operating together in unison? Each step in your plan becomes a process.

These processes will only work when they follow these guidelines:

  1. Documented
  2. Followed by all
  3. Improved upon often
  4. Flexible enough to handle the crisis and special case scenarios

Final Thoughts

Currently, across the globe everyone is relying on the plans that have been put in place. Will it be enough? Did you think of everything? Maybe not. The good news is we can start today, we can revisit our plans, and move forward. We can succeed when we make an effort to foresee and prepare for many possible futures.

Lori Nate
Operations Manager
Boise State Center for Professional Development