Gathering Pace Consulting
  Building Momentum In Leadership and Organizational Performance

Competent, Quality Consulting and Solutions.
Our Strategic Planning Helps "Invent Your Future" 
Potentials, Definitions 

Strategic planning can help you significantly, not only if you are a CEO also if you are a senior executive, principal in a professional firm, or manager of a service department, e.g., real estate, IT, facilities, finance, accounting, quality, etc.

 

Strategic planning can help troubled organizations succeed, and move successful organizations to next levels of performance.  Strategic planning can help your department manage change, increase internal alignment, reduce conflict and improve morale.  At its best, strategic planning really can help you “invent your future.” 

 

Despite this potential, many organizations are dissatisfied with their experience with strategic planning.  Many write excellent plans but fail to implement them, hold retreats but fail to bring the results back to the organization.  Many organizations miss the boat completely, confusing strategic planning with tactical or business planning, mechanically increasing last year’s numbers by 10%.

 

What Is Strategic Planning? 

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Getting the most from stratgic planning begins with fully understanding what it is.  We define strategic planning as ongoing organizational learning and improvement that involves four different tasks:

 

  1. Taking Stock.  Using objective data on internal and external performance to develop an accurate sense of the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) the organization faces.
  2. Clarifying Goals.  Updating, clarifying vision, mission and values, often in the form of a “balanced scorecard.”  Values may not change but goals and objectives should change in response to changing issues and opportunities.
  3. Implementing Initiatives.  Developing and implementing specific initiatives to address strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.  Achieving measurable results and full implementation in defined time frames. 
  4. Building Core Competencies. Providing the training and skills development people in the organization need to achieve the goals and implement the initiatives.  

Misconceptions

Managers' misconceptions of strategic planning limit what it can do for them.  Following are common misconceptions we encounter:  
 

1.  Things change too quickly for us to plan, we are in a reactive business.  It is not at all true that the most effective way for an organization to succeed in a reactive business is to simply polish its ability to react.  A more proactive approach  makes it possible to anticipate issues and opportunities, and initiate changes before issues become problems.

 

2.  Strategic planning is business planning.  We increase last year’s plan by 10%.  Strategic planning engages an organization in questioning its basic business assumptions as well as planning detailed budgets.

 

3.  Strategic planning is a retreat.  Strategic planning may use retreat-style meetings to accomplish some of its work.  However, essential parts of strategic planning occur before retreats when managers collect data and analysis, and after retreats when managers implement new directions and focus.

 

4.  Strategic planning is blue-sky brainstorming.  The best strategic planning develops new insights and ideas, but also includes thoughtful, effective work on implementation.

 

5.  Strategic planning is something consultants do for us.
Consultants can add valuable insight and structure to strategic planning, but managers themselves should control the process.

 

6.  Strategic planning is the responsibility only of senior managers.  Senior managers may begin and drive strategic planning.  However, effective strategic planning involves managers and employees at all levels.

 

7.  Strategic planning is not relevant for individual departments but only for the whole organization.  In the flattened, decentralized organizations that thrive in our economy, individual departments function as if they were whole organizations.  Most departments of any size and significance in any organization benefit from developing and implementing their own strategic plans

Our Approach To Strategic Planning Delivers Optimal Results

We have consulted, taught and written extensively on strategic planning.  While other consulting organizations approach strategic planning in one-time retreats, we use a much more effective method emphasizing ongoing organizational learning and improvement.


Our approach differs and consistently generates positive results because we work equally on all the foundations, external and internal facets of strategy, and with the people issues necessary to fully implement it. Our approach consistently generates positive results because: 

 

·         We focus on participant buy-in and consensus at every step along the way

·         We emphasize the ability of the planning work to envision the organization's future and move the organization to achieve the vision

·         We build in extensive pre-work and information gathering to inform decision making

·         We use several workshops to produce the plan instead of a one-time retreat

·         We devote extensive effort to implementing the plan, not just to writing it

·         We work evenly on all the agenda items, not just business modeling or mission

·         We build in work with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator to maximize group effectiveness in problem solving

·         We build in extensive work with clarifying the organization’s values and using those values as the basis for mission and strategy

·         We plan formal, quarterly review meetings to track progress against the plan and make revisions and additions as appropriate

·         We balance a structured approach with flexibility and responsiveness to issues and opportunities that arise during the planning work

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