You’re setting up a new company/project or restructuring. So far, pre-strategic planning process, you’ve worked out what you are going to do about timing, participants, and input. Now there are two important tasks that need to be done before detailing the actual process and drawing up your agenda. You’re nearly there, but not quite.
As they say, ‘patience is a virtue’, and here at ThinkTalent we highly recommend taking the following steps before structuring/restructuring your company or launching your next project to prove successful.
1. Review your past work
A review of your organisation’s past work can be done by an extensive external evaluation before the strategic planning process, or a departmental/project/unit level analysis can be done, including achievements against targets and indicators of impact.
Another option would be a management team review of the work done across the organisation, including achievements against targets and indicators of impact. Although, keep in mind that if you have an external review, it is useful if your teams have done some internal reflection as well.
2. Review the present internal functioning of the organisation
A review of your organisation’s present internal functioning can be done by an external review conducted by someone with an in-depth understanding of development and business organisations, although not necessarily of your particular sector. It could also be done by management, with input from your staff.
External and internal input are not mutually exclusive – even with external input it is useful for teams to do some internal thinking and reflection. In addition, it is useful to get all those who will be participating in the strategic planning process to do some preparatory work individually.
3. Detail the process/agenda
You have worked out what you are going to do about timing, participants, and input. You have set things in motion so that the right people will be involved, useful information will be shared, and everyone knows what time to set aside for the process. You have also reviewed your past work and the present internal functioning of the organisation as discussed above.
Now you are ready to detail the actual process and draw up an agenda. You do this in much the same way you would plan for a workshop. The important things to remember are:
- Know what you want to achieve – have clear outcomes for the process.
- Know what you have to cover to achieve these outcomes – know what steps you have to work through.
- Know what additional issues need to be dealt with in the time available.
- Prioritise sensibly. Do not, for example, allow half an hour for a discussion around values, vision, and mission, and two hours for a discussion on whether or not there is a need for additional administrative staff.
- Don’t be inflexible. But do have a commitment to timekeeping.
- Make sure that someone records what is said and, most importantly, what is agreed. This does not mean verbatim (word-for-word) notes, but rather a record of important discussions and decisions.
- Whether or not you decide to use an outside facilitator, make sure that someone is responsible for chairing each session and that they are skilled enough to do so properly.
- Build in steps that involve all necessary participants.
Keeping the above points in mind, the planning team should draw up an agenda for the whole process and divide it roughly by days. They should allocate responsibilities and then circulate the agenda for comments before finalising it. Remember, if you have asked people to do preparatory work, make sure this is considered in the agenda so that people feel their efforts are valued.
Finally, if you decide to use a facilitator, then work on the agenda with them. At the very least, brief them very carefully and make sure you get a draft agenda to see whether it addresses the issues listed above. As the client, you are entitled to query the agenda and any express concerns you may have.
ThinkTalent has over 30 years’ experience in HR as well as corporate training, coaching, and mentoring. We take the stress out of strategising! Contact us today to see how we can help your organisation harness excellence through people.