Don’t waste your strategic plan. A good strategic plan serves as the focal point for how an organization toward both long and short-range success. It provides…
- Direction for aligning an organization’s staff and activities
- Criteria for organizational decision-making. All decisions should support some portion of the plan.
Too many strategic plans, however, languish in desk drawers never to be implemented. Avoid such tragedy through Systemic Strategic Planning (SSP). SSP calls for understanding organizations as human systems, which involves seeing organizations as a collection of human systems rather than a collection of individuals. An understanding of human systems is missing from the development of most strategic plans making their implementation problematic. The goal is to develop the critical mass of active buy-in and support needed for smooth implementation. In a large organization, at least the top three levels of leadership must be involved in deciding what to include in the plan, while in smaller organizations, more can be involved. Though many employees may not be involved in decision-making, you will see that at least their input is sought. SSP emphasizes:
- Use of the collective knowledge of the organization’s employees and clientele
- Use of consensus decision-making involving at least the top three layers of the organization’s leadership cadre
Together they increase both the strategic accuracy of the plan and the degree of buy-in from employees.
We suggest the following steps as a template to be modified as needed:
|Five Steps to a Systemic Strategic Plan|
|I||Gather and disseminate data relevant to the organization’s current mission and vision. Production, sales, financial, staffing, and employee engagement data will all be useful to make informed decisions. Product (or service) trends, market trends, and competition activity may also be useful.|
|II||With the top three levels of leadership:
|III||The level three leaders discuss the proposed plan down through their organizations to: |
|IV||The leadership group:
|V||All organization units develop their specific operational or tactical plans, including…
Systemic Strategic Planning supports the development of the critical mass of support that any plan needs if it is to be implemented and actualized. Concerned that the emphasis on consensus decision-making will big the process down? It need not, check out our article “Quick and Easy Consensus Decision-Making.” You’ll be surprised how easy it can be.
Don’t waste your strategic plan. A good strategic plan requires a good deal of work. Use it, amend it as needed, and use it to monitor your progress on a regularly basis. It will take you to where you want to go.