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Strategic Planning

Strategic Planning: “How Will it Get Done?”

The joke around our family is that if Dad tries to do anything technical, mechanical, or electrical, the house, cars, yard, etc. stand a good chance of going up in smoke. I am pretty honest about this limitation of mine—not knowing how to do the things that “real men” are supposed to be able to do.

Fortunately, all my life I have been surrounded by guys—and girls—who have an uncanny knack to just know how to do all things technical, mechanical, or electrical. The strategic planning dimension relates to guys like my dad, my father-in-law, and my brothers – the guys who just know HOW to ‘do stuff’. In an organization, it has to do with knowing HOW to go about completing the mission.

“How Will We Get it Done?”

The vision results from addressing the question: “Where are we going?” The mission supports the vision and becomes clear from questions such as “What will we do while we are on the way toward that destination?” The trip toward the visionary destination must be intentional.

Healthy organizational strategies will address the questions, “How will we do it? How will we accomplish the mission?” It’s not enough to know where we are going and what we will do on the way. The organization must have a collective concept of how those things will get done. So, strategies are about HOW the mission is to be carried out.

Strategies are the “building blocks” that are necessary for a strong mission. They will provide support for the accomplishment of the mission and should be constructed in such a way that they foster organizational values and norms and drive behavior that will be favorable and productive within the organization.

The “Subject of Strategy”

Perhaps the key question in strategic planning is “Around what areas of the organization do we strategize?” Even if the organization’s vision and mission is clear, coming up with the appropriate areas of strategic initiatives proves difficult.

In developing the appropriate strategic initiatives, at least three key issues must be addressed:

First, there are barriers that could prevent the accomplishment of the mission and fulfillment of the vision. Intentionally focusing energy on eliminating the relevant barriers could cause rapid forward movement in the organization.

Second, opportunities often stand right in front of us unencumbered by the barriers. One of the easiest things to overlook is an obvious opportunity for success.

Third, resources will be required to tackle these barriers and pursue these opportunities. The resource question is always a difficult one. An organization must be careful not to bite off more than it can chew by being overly aggressive and taking on too many strategic initiatives at one time.

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