Because a strategic planning process looks at the big picture, it is useful to get external input into the process. It is easy for those of us who are involved in the work of the project or organisation to lose sight of the overall picture and to think about the issues from the point of view of our own work only.
Getting someone in with a wider view and wider concerns can open doors to new ideas and ways of thinking. This helps to keep your organisation at the cutting edge of development.
Here are ThinkTalent’s top tips on sourcing and using external input for your strategic planning process:
Who should give input?
The external input should make it clear what the opportunities, challenges, and threats in your organisation’s external context are.
You are looking for someone who understands development, has particular insights into the sector of development in which you are involved, and understands the kind of contribution an organisation or project such as yours could make.
It is also important to have an authoritative person – someone who is respected in the sector and whom your staff and board will take seriously. You could have more than one person. So, for example, you might have someone giving a government perspective and someone else giving a community perspective.
Sometimes a board member, or even a particularly well-informed staff member can give the input. It is usually, however, a good idea to get someone in from “the outside” as well.
What should be covered in the input?
By the end of the input you want everyone to have a comprehensive understanding of the context and some new thoughts to inform your strategic planning process.
Make sure that you cover the three main ingredients of the context:
- development globally and nationally
- your sector globally, nationally, and locally
- your area of expertise (e.g. training, manufacturing, retailing etc.) globally, nationally, and locally
Try to get an overall perspective – not just from one point of view – either by having more than one speaker or by inviting a speaker who is able to give an overall view.
Remember that no-one is neutral – people have opinions and you need to assess these in the light of a number of different opinions.
What should the brief say?
The brief should state clearly where the venue will be and the date/time you want the speaker to arrive. Keep in mind you want them to hear what goes before their input.
Make sure your brief includes the following:
- The purpose of the input – what you hope will happen as a result of the input.
- How long the input should be.
- What the speaker should cover in content, information, etc.
- How the input will fit into the strategic planning process.
- How interactive/provocative you would like the input to be.
- Whether or not you are hoping that the speaker will take part in any other part of the process.
When should you organise this?
You should set the date for this part of the strategic planning process at least four weeks in advance. This will make it more likely that you will get the person or people you want, rather than just someone who happens to be available.
Are you a new company in need of help with your strategic planning process? Or perhaps you’re an established company in need of a strategic planning process review?
Whether you’re setting up or reviewing a strategic planning process for your organization as a whole or your next project – reach out to ThinkTalent – we can help! Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have regarding packages and pricing.