Basics of Strategizing (during strategic planning)

© Copyright Carter McNamara, MBA, PhD, Authenticity Consulting, LLC.
Adapted from the Field Guide to Nonprofit Strategic Planning and Facilitation.

This activity is usually conducted as part of the overall strategic planning. Therefore, the reader might best be served to first read the information in the topic Strategic Planning.

Sections of This Topic Include

Developing Strategies to Address Strategic Issues and Reach Goals
Suggestions to Ensure Genuine Strategic Thinking
Considerations

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Developing Strategies to Address Strategic Issues and Reach Goals

One of the most frequent reasons for ineffective strategic planning is failure to think strategically. In these cases, planners mistake organizational efficiency to be organizational effectiveness. One of the key indicators of this problem is planners’ reluctance to conduct a solid strategic analysis that includes assessment of the external environment of the organization and feedback from shakeholders. As a result, planners end up looking only at what the organization is internally doing now and how they might do it a little bit better. In their planning they end up fine tuning what the organization is already doing, rather than shoring up weaknesses to avoid oncoming threats and using strengths to take advantage of new opportunities.

Suggestions to Ensure Genuine Strategic Thinking

1. Recognize strategies to be associated with, e.g., resolving major issues, developing new products or methods of delivery, servicing additional or smaller groups of customers, or mergers/collaborations for survival or efficiency.

2. Strategies should focus on structural changes as much as possible. These changes are more likely to direct and sustain changes in the organization.

3. In general, strategies deal with the question, “How do we position ourselves if the future changes, and if it is not what we expected?”

4. Use a brainstorming technique to collect all ideas from planning members.

5. During strategy development, continue to ask, “Is this really a strategic activity? Will it leverage change in your organization?”

6. Reconsider strategies that have worked or haven’t in the past.

7. Ensure strategies don’t conflict with each other, i.e., that implementing one strategy will directly impair implementation of another.

Considerations

· The top issues usually produce the most complex and contentious strategies to deal with the issues and reach each goal. Therefore, meetings to identify strategies may be the most contentious.

· To ensure effective communication, revisit what the term “strategic” means to the planners.

· While facilitating the meetings, use brainstorming to collect all ideas and process them. Use Post-It notes to organize ideas.

· To help refine and clarify ideas, consider asking “Why” five times to each idea.

· To further explore a suggestion or an idea, ask the speaker if his or her statement is based on an assumption, solid data, and is it a conclusion?

· Each strategy or groups of strategies might be associated with new or current programs.

· Each major function should eventually have its own specific strategies, measurable objectives, resource needs, financial need specification and budgets, and plans to evaluate results.

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For the Category of Strategic Planning:

To round out your knowledge of this Library topic, you may want to review some related topics, available from the link below. Each of the related topics includes free, online resources.

Also, scan the Recommended Books listed below. They have been selected for their relevance and highly practical nature.

Related Library Topics

Recommended Books

For-Profit Specific

Nonprofit Specific



For-Profit Specific

The following books are recommended because of their highly practical nature and often because they include a wide range of information about this Library topic. To get more information about each book, just click on the image of the book. Also, a "bubble" of information might be displayed. You can click on the title of the book in that bubble to get more information, too.



Nonprofit-Specific

Nonprofit Strategic Planning and Facilitation - Book Cover Field Guide to Nonprofit Strategic Planning and Facilitation
by Carter McNamara, published by Authenticity Consulting, LLC. Step-by-step guidelines to customize and facilitate planners to implement the best strategic planning process to suit the particular nature and needs of their nonprofit. This is one of the few books, if any, that explains how to actually facilitate planning. Includes many online forms that can be downloaded and used by planners. Many materials in this Library's topic about strategic planning are adapted from this book.

The following books are recommended because of their highly practical nature and often because they include a wide range of information about this Library topic. To get more information about each book, just click on the image of the book. Also, a "bubble" of information might be displayed. You can click on the title of the book in that bubble to get more information, too.



Also See for For-Profits

Business Planning -- Recommended Books

Business Development -- Recommended books

Financing Your Business -- Recommended Books

Organizational Sustainability -- Recommended Books

Product Development -- Recommended books

Planning and Project Management -- Recommended Books

Also See for Nonprofits

Business Planning (nonprofit) -- Recommended Books

Social Entrepreneurship (Nonprofit) -- Recommended Books

Capacity Building (Nonprofit) -- Recommended Books

Organizational Sustainability -- Recommended Books

Fundraising -- Recommended Books

Program Management -- Recommended Books

Planning and Project Management -- Recommended Books




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