Often I am asked, “Why can’t we just create our strategic plan with our Board of Directors?”
Well, there are a number of reasons, but one of the most important of these reasons has to do with the purpose of strategic planning itself.
The purpose of strategic planning is to understand more about your organization’s stakeholders, clarify your mission and values, ensure your relevance to those that you serve, and develop a vision for the future. The key to your mission is ensuring the satisfaction of your stakeholders both internal and external, folks such as your clients, your community partners, funders, government, etc. and you must view everything through the lens of your stakeholders including your mission, values, and vision.
Ultimately, stakeholder input is one of the most crucial concerns during strategic planning. For the reason being, your organization and its mission are beholden to a particular group of stakeholders. And, one thing you should always set out to ensure is that your stakeholder’s needs are being met through your organization. In fact, if you only do one thing as part of your strategic planning process, I advocate that it should be a stakeholder analysis, as your organization exists primarily to serve them through your mission and vision.
If your strategic planning process is to be implemented and considered a success, the process of developing the plan must include key stakeholders.
There are several key ways that stakeholders can be engaged in developing your plan:
1. They can be part of a situational analysis or SWOT where you evaluate an analysis of their interests and concerns;
2. They can assist in formulating the vision for the future and accompanying mission statement including values of your organization;
3. They can be part of the overall development of goals and objectives to gauge organizational progress;
4. They can be involved in developing operational and tactical plans or strategies, and finally,
5. They can be part of the evaluation process to monitor and revise the plan as it unfolds.
If all you do is plan internally amongst your Board and staff and neglect to obtain your stakeholders input, your strategic plan is far from strategic. Without this type of information, your plan lacks relevancy to the direct individuals that it serves and does not hold you accountable to them. Stakeholders are the who and the what that counts within your organization.
Don’t skimp on obtaining constituent stakeholder input as you plan for your organization’s future. You cannot create a strategic plan in a vacuum with only your Board and staff designing it.
As part of Bloomerang’s Content Donation Program, $100 was donated to The Friends of Buttonwood Park.