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What is strategy?

Strategy can be defined in many ways, but generally involves setting an objective, the actions required to meet the objective, mapped against the necessary resources needed to execute the objective.

Strategy matters perhaps now more than ever. For any business, strategy is the tool for shaping the future and creating momentum, as opposed to simply reacting to the environment. Without a strategy, an organization can drift away from its vision and become unsustainable or irrelevant.

To thrive consistently over the long haul requires discipline and a reliable strategy for dealing with new opportunities and unforeseen adversities. 



What is Strategic Planning?

At its core, strategic planning is the process of defining the goals of your organization for the immediate future and the strategies by which these goals will be achieved and resourced.

Put simply, a strategic plan is the top three or four things that the board has agreed the organization has to get right in the next two or three years. In practice, it is a doorway to innovation, cultural change and proactive strategies to manage your response to a changing environment.

Traditional strategic planning models, developed throughout the 1960s, are heavily weighted toward quantitative analysis, and hardly stand up against today's rate of social and technological change.

 

Is it time for a new strategic plan?

Get ready to Create a big future for your stakeholders.

 

It's hard to achieve anything of significance without a good plan; be it managing a new initiative, merging with another organisation or getting a sector to play in harmony.

Whether you inherit a strategic plan or guide its development from scratch, it’s up to you and your Board to ensure it identifies what needs to be achieved over the coming years and exactly how that is going to happen. In other words, you must know it's fit for purpose and focused on the future.

Conscious Governance is an independent consultancy for not for profits, working in virtually all sectors over the past 20 years.

Our strategic plan facilitation has been developed to simplify the strategic planning process, with stress-tested techniques to keep your plan fighting fit and building a big future for your stakeholders and community. Be confident that no matter what the future holds, you have a plan to deal with it.



The problem with traditional strategic planning


 
 

In a performance study released this year by The Australian Institute of Company Directors, strategic planning was identified as the #1 most pivotal activity that could be done better for greatest overall impact.

Frustrated CEOs and distracted Boards have identified these common scenarios that have made their planning lackluster and contrived, rather than inspirational and organic. Are any of these familiar to you?

  • Strategic planning becomes a form filling, talk-fest that drags on for months.
  • The Board has a plan for the sake of having a plan: there is no integration into the culture, budget, decision-making or operations of the organisation.
  • The planning team think they know the answers, rather than exploring the options, questions and possibilities.
  • A few dominant personalities control the facilitation without the necessary training or experience, trampling on the group's ability to be strategic or form a consensus. 
  • The strategies begin to look like a long wish list without proper support from the required action plans, budget or staff. 
  • One or two pet projects find their way into the strategic plan – and the personal egos they are attached to make it impossible to remove them.
  • It’s too hard to change elements of the strategic plan once it has been “finished,” so the pressure is on to get it right the first time without recognizing no plan survives contact with reality.
  • The strategic planning consultants cost exceeds what is allocated in the budget.
  • The last strategic planner was obsessed with post-it notes and butcher's paper...
  • It’s no wonder many organisations find the process too much effort for what it is worth.
 
 
 

But it doesn't have to be this way.

The traditional planning models are rigid, unnecessarily complicated and too easy to derail. But perhaps the biggest impediment of all: they never leverage passion, vision or strategic thinking.

Our strategic planning methodology is completely different. We will walk you through the steps needed to forge your own high performing strategic plan, how to generate buy-in from your key stakeholders and staff and how to embed it into all of your primary governance and operational  processes.

In essence, everything you need to be ready for the next three to four years... and the decade after that. A good strategic plan ensures the right priorities are set, energy, time and resources are allocated to the right areas, innovation is encouraged and rewarded, and there is flexibility to change when change is required.

That means you no longer have to cross your fingers and hope nothing will come along and disrupt your sector, service delivery or cast doubt over your organisation’s future. Using these tools, you will be ready.

 

 
 

 

Consider this:

  • What if all your clients and stakeholders became active champions of the future you were creating?
  • What if your organisation was sought after by prospective Board members because of its reputation for innovation and expertise?
  • What if you could increase the quality and standard of your service and your sector, simply by including stakeholders in your strategic planning process?
  • What if you could manage all of your costs and keep a healthy bottom line while not being solely dependent on block funding or a single revenue stream?
  • What if you could anticipate the future skills and expertise of your Board and staff years before they were required?
  • What if you could position your organisation to leverage trends and disruptions?
  • What if you could create a massive amount of enthusiasm for the future of your service and the difference it creates in the community?

 

The power of great strategic planning can create all of the above.

Great strategic planning means you can feel confident that your leadership team will not lose momentum or become directionless. Great strategic planning means no Board meeting is ever wasted on operational details.

You meet to review and refine your critical strategies, monitor action plans and explore emerging strategic issues within the framework of governance, finance, risk and compliance.

Great strategic planning means you will continually capture new insights and opportunities otherwise missed, and have the flexibility to realign to any changing environment.

All of this is possible when you have the right tools in front of you. 

 

 

You are in good company 

 
 
 

Our Strategic Planning Process


proposed process for the Strategic Plan facilitation session:

  • Collection and analysis of key documents by facilitator (constitution, annual report, financials, last three Board minutes, strategic documents as agreed)
  • Agree who should be on the planning team. We recommend that the Board/senior staff be invited, plus key stakeholders who understand the environment in which you work eg key staff, key members, your major funding body etc. A team of between 15 to 20 people works very well.
  • Develop and circulate strategy survey to selected individuals including the planning team, other key staff and stakeholders, collect survey returns and summarise relevant issues in readiness for planning team facilitation day.
  • The strategic plan document will be written by the facilitator and will be available within 3 days of the strategic plan facilitation. This document will also include recommendations for implementation at Board and staff levels.
 

 
 

Proposed Content (9.00am - 2.30pm)

1. Developing or reaffirming the Vision/Mission of your organisation

2. Using your Vision/Mission statement as a strategic filter to develop and assess new and existing programs

3. Developing Alternative Future scenarios for plausible futures facing your organisation and impact on business processes-Backcasting process

4. Developing measures of success for your organisation

5. A Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Risks (SWOR) environmental filter analysis.

6. Analysis of survey returns and SWOR results

7. The impact of identified risks on your risk management plan

8. Developing the alternative key strategies for your organisation

9. Agreeing and prioritising key strategies

10. Developing Action Plans to achieve the identified Strategies

11. Impact analysis between the SWOR, Vision and Strategies.

12. Establish the Strategic Action plans for all agreed strategies.  This will include a description of the project, the project scope, the resources necessary for implementation, a start date, finish date, project manager, success measures, ethical considerations and risk identification. There are likely to be between three and five Strategic Action plans per strategy.

13. Strategies for ensuring that the strategic plan is carried out at the various levels, including reviewing the strategic plan regularly, and strategic thinking processes.

14. Strategies for embedding the strategic plan into performance measures and job descriptions at all levels of the organisation

15. Show how to develop GANTT chart to review timelines

A smaller group (CEO, Chair and facilitator) will be required that evening for around 3 hrs to finalise the strategic plan, develop action plans for each of the strategies to scope, timelines, success measures, ethical and risk implications.


 

What make us different? 

Our strategic planning style is unlike any other. Here are a few things we do differently:

  • A Vision filtering process: how to use your Vision statement as a tool for innovation.
  • We include key stakeholders in the strategic planning process (including a preliminary survey) for a greater scope of ideas and insights.
  • We complete the entire process, as detailed above, in 1 incredible day (including all of your critical action plans).
  • We include risk and ethical filters to ensure your strategic plan is balanced and accountable. 
  • The scenario planning component takes the form of a Possibility Casting exercise so you have a handle on what could happen into the future and it's potential impact on your organisation.
 
 

Or give us a call: +61 438 325 782

 
 

ongoing support to ensure your success

 

One of the most fundamental elements for any business is Strategic Planning.  It’s the process of defining the top three or four strategies of your organization for the next two to three years and the actions by which these strategies will be achieved and resourced. Out of the strategies flows a host of projects, which delivers on the direction the business seeks. In reality these actions need to be realistic and achievable, but also flexible enough to respond to the ever changing environment in which the entity operates.   

In our experience, the greatest barrier to business success is not the lack of planning, but the lack of accountability to implement and follow through on well-made directions and their action plans. We have clearly observed that without an implementation strategy, the business can lose sight of its vision and become unsustainable or irrelevant.

 

To succeed consistently over the longer term requires discipline and a reliable process for dealing with new prospects and unforeseen difficulties.

Our Strategic Assurance framework is such a process and has been proven to give assurance to boards and executive teams that the agreed strategies are progressively being actioned, and are flexible enough to change when required.

Our Strategic Assurance framework consists of five [5] easy touch points throughout the 12 months following your Strategic Planning Day. Throughout this period we assist you with:

  • Board measures of success and presentation of KPIs for Executive buy-in
  • Development of your implementation (business) plan operational staff buy-in and engagement strategy
  • Communication strategy and implementation advice for teams and key stakeholders
  • Development of clear quarterly targets, report backs and success indicators
  • Recognize quarterly any potential impacts from internal/external causes and respond accordingly
  • Dashboard/Reporting framework for transparent monitoring

The Strategic Assurance program consists of:

 
 

The program concludes with the recognition of the first year successes. It provides acknowledgment of establishing a culture of strategic improvement and ‘wins’ with critical milestones.

It also delivers on embedding the Strategic Assurance program into the culture, governance and operational structures of the organization.  And importantly, for a business to thrive over the duration of the planning timeline requires discipline which is delivered through the program, and brings the necessary momentum for success. 

 

Or give us a call: +61 438 325 782

 

 

 
 

1. Strategic Plan Review Process

Our Strategic Planning Review Process reviews your existing strategic plan. This assessment ensures your strategy is focused, effective and complies with modern industry standards and developments. The review process also includes a discussion around the ways that your strategic plan can be embedded into the Governance and operational framework of your organization, meaning strategies and day-to-day operations are all directed toward achieving set priorities.  


2. What Does The Strategic Plan Review Cover?

The strategic planning review process explores the following questions with your existing strategic plan:

1. What has worked and what hasn’t worked in the past 12 months?

2. What has changed in your environment?

3. What do we take out and what new things do we put into the strategic plan?


3. The Strategic Planning Review Process

Initial preparation work:

Collection and analysis of key documents by facilitator (constitution, annual report, financials, strategic and risk documents as agreed) 

Strategic planning review facilitation with Board and senior staff:

1. Review Vision/Mission statement and its impact on decision making.

2. Review the current strategic plan and relevant business plans against new opportunities and risks.

3. Investigate what has been missed and what should be incorporated into the revised strategic plan.

4. Investigate any strategic assumptions that have changed and their impact on the strategic plan.

5. Discuss strategies for ensuring that the strategic plan is carried out at the various levels (Board, staff, committees etc), including reviewing the strategic plan regularly, and strategic thinking processes.

6. Strategies for embedding the strategic plan into performance measures and job descriptions at all levels of the organisation.


4. Why should we review your strategic plan?

Conscious Governance have some of the most experienced strategic planning consultants available, with extensive knowledge and expertise that provides unique and powerful strategic plans together with risk management plans that work.

They have worked with some of the worlds most experienced strategic planners, and have facilitated and taught strategic planning and risk management to many hundreds of organizations, continually updating their methodology to encompass the best and most efficient strategic planning and risk management methods.


 

Similar Services

Strategic Conversations

Many organizations require strategic council and consultation related to a specific issue e.g. mergers and acquisitions, new funding opportunities, different business models, board invigoration, etc.

These strategic conversations (which can be difficult sometimes) can be very powerful change agents if facilitated with a strategic focus. Our strategic consultations ensure that all participants stay on topic, key issues are clarified, required policies and guidelines are agreed and the key strategic actions to be undertaken are documented.

 

A Workshop Made just for you

Do you want to know how to embed the strategic plan into all facets of your organization and get amazing buy-in from Board, staff and stakeholders? Do you want a process that is quick, focused and provides step-by-step guidelines that result in a strategic plan that is accountable and measurable?

What if strategic planning was the opposite of what most people think it is? What if it was quick, thorough, truly strategic, with clear accountability whilst adapting continuously as required? This is what we hope to show you in our Strategic Planning Workshop.

The content detailed below will be covered over the course of the workshop, however it may not be in the sequence as suggested below. The workshop will develop according to the interests and requirements of the participants, and whilst all the topics will be covered, how they are covered will be dependent upon the questions and interactions with the workshop participants.

 

 
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"[The 2 hr strategic planning training session] was easily the most valuable two hours of training I have been to in a very long time.  It was refreshing to move through content at a healthy pace, and to be singularly focused on what is practical and what works. Thank you." -Damian Cooper, Manager, Mountains Youth Services Team Inc


The workshop can be tailored to your needs, or will cover a selection of the following key areas:

  •  Developing or reaffirming the Vision/Mission of your organization
  • Using your Vision/Mission statement as a strategic filter to develop and assess new and existing programs
  • Developing Alternative Future scenarios for plausible futures facing your organization and impact on business processes-Backcasting process
  • Developing measures of success for your organization
  • A Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Risks (SWOR) environmental filter analysis.
  • The impact of identified risks on your risk management plan
  • Developing the alternative key strategies for your organization
  • Agreeing and prioritizing key strategies
  • Developing Action Plans to achieve the identified Strategies
  • Impact analysis between the SWOR, Vision and Strategies.
  • Establish the Strategic Action plans for all agreed strategies.  
  • Strategies for ensuring that the strategic plan is carried out at the various levels, including reviewing the strategic plan regularly, and strategic thinking processes.
  • Strategies for embedding the strategic plan into performance measures and job descriptions at all levels of the organization
  • Show how to develop gaant chart to review timelines
  • Structuring the strategic plan process for success
  • Ensuring buy-in from staff and stakeholders
  • Annual reviews and continuous strategic planning
  • Explore cascading operational plans