The Complete Guide to Writing a Strategic Plan
Apr 12, †∑ How to Write a Strategic Plan Once youíve assembled your team and defined your terms, itís time to formalize your ideas by writing the strategic plan. The plan may be in the form of a document, a presentation, or another format. You can use many models and formats to create your strategic plan (read more about them in this article). What is a strategic plan and why is it needed? A roadmap to launch and grow your organization Process as important as product (perhaps more important) Aligns stakeholders around strategic priorities Communicates your goals, strategies and programs Engages, motivates, and retains external and internal audiences (e.g., board, staff, donors, etc.)File Size: KB.
Writing a strategic plan can be daunting, as the process includes many steps. Included on this page, you'll find details on what to include in a strategic planthe importance of an executive summarystraegic to write a mission statementhow to write a vision statementand more.
The strategic planning process takes time, but the payoff is huge. Strategic what war was the alamo in, also called strategy development or analysis and assessmentrequires attention to detail and should be performed by someone who can follow through on next steps and regular updates.
Strategic plans are not static documents ó they change as new circumstances arise, both internally and externally. Without it, the process cannot succeed. What is a keyless chuck, gather your planning team. The group should include people from various ho at different levels, and the planning process should be an open, free discussion within the group. The plan author is responsible for writing and stratgic the final plan together and should work with a smaller group of writers to establish and standardize the tone and style of the final document or presentation.
Byson says the facilitator can be in-house or external, but they need experience. The facilitators also need to be able to handle conflict and diffuse situations by separating idea generation from judgement. These outside helpers are sometimes more effective than internal facilitators since they are not emotionally strateguc in the outcome of the process.
Thus, they can concentrate on the process and ask difficult questions. Watch the demo to see how you can more effectively manage your team, projects, and processes with real-time work management in Smartsheet. Watch a free demo. You can take many approaches to the process and consider differing ideas about what needs how to remove broken ceramic floor tile go into sevelop, but some general concepts stand.
He explains that he often begins planning projects with three questions:. A strategic plan is only effective when the writing and how to plant shrubs around house is clear, since the intent is to help an organization keep to its strtaegic through programs and capacity, while also building stakeholder engagement. The answer or answers to the first question ó where are we now? The answers to this question help you identify your goals for the future of the business and assess whether your current trajectory is the future you want.
These aspects of the plan outline a strategy develp achieving success and can include the following:. Yo answers to this question help you outline the strategif routes you can take to achieve your vision and match your strengths with opportunities in the market.
A Gantt chart can help you map out and keep track of these initiatives. An evaluation plan that shows how you plan to measure the strateegic and setbacks that come with implementation.
Strategic planning terminology is not standardized throughout the industry, and this can lead to confusion.
Instead, strategic planning experts use many names for the different sections of a strategic plan. She recommends coming up with a kind of glossary that defines the terms for your team. Every organization is slightly different. No matter what terms you use, the general idea of a strategic plan is the same. She uses a basic diagram that ddvelop calls the strategic plan architecture.
The plqn above the red dotted line are the strategic parts of the plan. Below the red dotted line are the implementation pieces. While the specific terminology varies, basic sections of a strategic plan include the following in roughly this order:. The following checklist will help you keep track of what you have done and what you still need to do. The plan may be in the form of a document, a presentation, or another format. You can use many models and formats to create your strategic plan read more about them in this article.
However, you will likely need to include some basic sections, regardless of the particular method you choose even if hkw order and way you present them vary. In many cases, the sections of a strategic plan build on each other, so you may have to write them in order.
One tip: Try to avoid jargon and generic terms; for example, words like maximize and succeed lose their punch. Additionally, remember that there are many terms for the same object in strategic planning.
The key to writing a strong executive summary is being clear and concise. Because it functions as a review of the entire document, write the executive summary after you complete the rest of your strategic plan. He always writes summaries last, after he has all the data and information he needs for the plan. He says it is easier to cut than to create something.
For more information about writing an effective executive summary, a checklist, and free templates, read this article. If you want a one-page executive summary, this template can help you decide what information to include. Excel Word PDF. Also called an elevator pitchthe company description is a brief outline of your organization and what it does.
It should be short enough that it can be read or heard during the average elevator ride. The company description should include the history of your company, the major products and services you provide, and any highlights and accomplishments, and it should accomplish the following:.
How to develop strategic plan this may seem basic, the company description changes as your company grows and changes. For deelop, your ideal customer five years deevelop might not be the same as the current standard or the one you want in five years. Share the company description with everyone in your organization. If employees cannot accurately articulate what you do to others, you might miss transition what does it mean on opportunities.
The mission statement explains what your business is trying to achieve. Strong mission statements can sgrategic differentiate your company from your competitors and keep you on track toward your goals.
It can also function as a type of tagline for your organization. Say what you do, who you do it for, and why it is valuable. This is your chance to define the way your company will make decisions based on goals, culture, and ethics. Mission statements should not be vague or generic, and they should plxn your business apart from others.
If your mission statement could define many companies in your line of work, it is not a good mission statement. In fact, it is also possible to include what your company does for its employees in your mission statement.
That said, make the effort to edit and refine your mission statement. Take out jargon like ro class, best possible, state of the art, maximize, succeedand so on, and cut vague or unspecific phrasing. Then let your strategic planning committee review it. Every action your company does contributes to its vision.
The vision statement explains what your company wants to plzn in the long term and can help inspire and align your team. A clear vision statement can help all stakeholders pln the meaning and purpose of your company. It also helps you rule out elements that might not align with your vision. Devslop statements should be short a few sentences. They ztrategic also be memorable, specific, and ambitious. But there is a fine line between being ambitious and creating a fantasy.
The vision should be clearly attainable if you follow the goals and objectives you outline later in your strategic planning plan. Avoid broad statements that could apply to any company or industry.
Write in the present tense, avoid jargon, and be clear and concise. Once you write your vision statement, communicate it to everyone in your company. Remember, the statements can change as the environment in and around your stgategic changes. Mission and vision statements are both important, but they serve straregic different purposes.
Mission statements show why a business exists, while vision statements are meant develkp inspire and provide direction. Mission statements are about the present, and vision statements are about the future. The mission provides items to act upon, and the vision offers goals to aspire to. During the planning process, these key statements might change. Company core valuessometimes plann organizational valueshelp you understand what drives the company to do what it does. It should be relatively easy to write.
There are both internal and external values looking at your employees and coworkers, as well as customers and outside stakeholders.
Your values should align with your vision statement and highlight your strengths while mitigating weaknesses. How are matters inside your company? What are your competitors doing? Who are your target customers? Writing about your industry helps you identify new opportunities for growth and shows you how you need to change in order to take advantage of those opportunities.
Identify your key competitors, and define what sevelop see as their strengths and how to develop strategic plan. Performing this analysis will help you figure out what you do best and how you compare to devslop competition.
Once you know what you do well, you can exploit your strengths to hhow advantage. In this deve,op, also include your SWOT strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, ro threats analysis. You can choose from many templates to help you write this section. Next, identify your target customers. Think about what they want and need, as strategif as how you can provide it.
Do your competitors attract your target customers, or do you have a niche that sets you apart? The industry analysis carries a price, but also provides many benefits.
Sections of This Module Include the Following
Section 1. An Overview of Strategic Planning or "VMOSA" (Vision, Mission, Objectives, Strategies, and Action Plans) Section 2. Proclaiming Your Dream: Developing Vision and Mission Statements; Section 3. Creating Objectives; Section 4. Developing Successful Strategies: Planning to Win; Section 5. Developing an Action Plan; Section 6.
Your contribution can help change lives. Donate now. Sixteen training modules for teaching core skills. Learn more. A strategy is a way of describing how you are going to get things done. It is less specific than an action plan which tells the who-what-when ; instead, it tries to broadly answer the question, "How do we get there from here?
A good strategy will take into account existing barriers and resources people, money, power, materials, etc. It will also stay with the overall vision, mission, and objectives of the initiative. Often, an initiative will use many different strategies--providing information, enhancing support, removing barriers, providing resources, etc. Objectives outline the aims of an initiative--what success would look like in achieving the vision and mission. By contrast, strategies suggest paths to take and how to move along on the road to success.
That is, strategies help you determine how you will realize your vision and objectives through the nitty-gritty world of action. Developing strategies is really a way to focus your efforts and figure out how you're going to get things done. By doing so, you can achieve the following advantages:. Developing strategies is the essential step between figuring out your objectives and making the changes to reach them. Strategies should always be formed in advance of taking action, not deciding how to do something after you have done it.
Without a clear idea of the how, your group's actions may waste time and effort and fail to take advantage of emerging opportunities. Strategies should also be updated periodically to meet the needs of a changing environment, including new opportunities and emerging opposition to the group's efforts.
Once again, let's refer back to our friends at the fictional Reducing the Risk RTR Coalition that hopes to reduce the risk of teenage pregnancy in its community. We'll walk through the process of developing strategies with this group so as to better explain the who, what, and why of strategies. As with the process you went through to write your vision and mission statements and to set your objectives, developing strategies involves brainstorming and talking to community members.
Remember, people will work best in a relaxed and welcoming environment. You can help achieve this by:. The RTR Coalition held brainstorming sessions among organization members. They invited local teens, parents, teachers, counselors, church members, and other community leaders to participate in listening sessions.
These were used to help develop strategies to reduce the risk of teen pregnancy. Homemade cookies, fruit, and coffee helped make participants feel welcome. It is helpful to review your mission, vision, and objectives to ensure that your strategies are all aligned with the goals expressed in your previous work. The following list of questions can be a guide for deciding on the most beneficial strategies for your group:. Let's look at the strategies proposed by the members of the RTR Coalition to prevent teen pregnancy.
Coalition building tip sheets [Resource Sheets]. Amherst, MA. Work Group Evaluation Handbook. Berkowitz, W. Community impact: creating grassroots change in hard times.
Cambridge: Schenkman. Brown, C. The art of coalition building: a guide for community leaders. The American Jewish Committee. Fawcett, S. Preventing youth violence: an action planning guide. Fawcett, S.. Reducing risk for chronic disease: an action planning guide for community-based initiatives. Hawkins, J. Communities that care.
San Francisco, CA. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Skip to main content. Toggle navigation Navigation. Developing a Strategic Plan Ľ Section 4. Chapter 8. Chapter 8 Sections Section 1. Creating Objectives Section 4.
Developing an Action Plan Section 6. Section 7. The Tool Box needs your help to remain available. Toggle navigation Chapter Sections. Section 1. Learn how to develop strategies for how you are going to get things done. What is a strategy? What are the criteria for developing a good strategy?
Why develop strategies? When should you develop strategies for your initiative? How do you develop strategies? Strategies for your community initiative should meet several criteria. Does the strategy: Give overall direction? A strategy, such as enhancing experience and skill or increasing resources and opportunities, should point out the overall path without dictating a particular narrow approach e. Fit resources and opportunities?
A good strategy takes advantage of current resources and assets, such as people's willingness to act or a tradition of self-help and community pride. It also embraces new opportunities such as an emerging public concern for neighborhood safety or parallel economic development efforts in the business community.
Minimize resistance and barriers? When initiatives set out to accomplish important things, resistance even opposition is inevitable. However, strategies need not provide a reason for opponents to attack the initiative.
Good strategies attract allies and deter opponents. Reach those affected? To address the issue or problem, strategies must connect the intervention with those who it should benefit. For example, if the mission of the initiative is to get people into decent jobs, do the strategies providing education and skills training, creating job opportunities, etc.
Advance the mission? Taken together, are strategies likely to make a difference on the mission and objectives? If the aim is to reduce a problem such as unemployment, are the strategies enough to make a difference on rates of employment? If the aim is to prevent a problem, such as substance abuse, have factors contributing to risk and protection been changed sufficiently to reduce use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs? By doing so, you can achieve the following advantages: Taking advantage of resources and emerging opportunities Responding effectively to resistance and barriers A more efficient use of time, energy, and resources When should you develop strategies for your initiative?
Organize a brainstorming meeting with members of your organization and members of the community Remember, people will work best in a relaxed and welcoming environment. You can help achieve this by: Making meetings a place where all members feel that their ideas are listened to and valued, and where constructive criticism may be openly voiced. To help meet these goals, you might post some "ground rules" so people feel free to express themselves. Ground rules might include: One person speaks at a time No interrupting each other Everyone's ideas are respected Bringing fans or heaters if needed so people will be comfortable.
Asking members to escort each other home or to their cars, the subway, or the bus stop if the meeting runs late. Providing refreshments. Never underestimate the power of homemade food, drinks, and other treats. Review identify the targets and agents of change for your initiative Your targets of change include all of the people who experience or are at risk for this issue or problem addressed by your initiative.
Remember to be inclusive; that is, include everyone who is affected by the problem or issue or whose action or inaction contributes to it. For example, a coalition such the RTR Coalition would want to include all teenagers as potential targets of change, not just adolescents who seem particularly at risk, and parents, peers, and teachers whose actions or inactions might make a difference.
Your agents of change include everyone who is in a position to help contribute to the solution. With the RTR Coalition, examples of agents of change might include teens, teachers, guidance counselors, parents of teens, lawmakers, and others.
Review your vision, mission, and objectives to keep you on the right track It is helpful to review your mission, vision, and objectives to ensure that your strategies are all aligned with the goals expressed in your previous work.
Work together to brainstorm the best strategies for your initiative The following list of questions can be a guide for deciding on the most beneficial strategies for your group: What resources and assets exist that can be used to help achieve the vision and mission?
How can they be used best? What obstacles or resistance exist that could make it difficult to achieve your vision and mission? How can you minimize or get around them?