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Strategic Planning is Fun!

Over the past few years, Collective Results has had the opportunity to support many organizations and networks with the development of their strategic plan. We have learned something new from each experience and have taken those learnings to really hone our craft with strategic planning. We pride ourselves in being able to customize each strategic planning project to best fit the needs of each client. However, we realized that there are certain elements that Collective Results brings to the table each time that form our approach to the strategic planning process and set us apart from other firms.

To visualize our process, Collective Results uses the analogy of a game board – where our job as consultants is to support organizations or networks as they move from start to finish and provide them with guidance and tools along the way to help them efficiently navigate the different phases.

There are three different phases of our strategic planning process: Understand, Create, and Activate. Within each phase, there are potential activities that can be completed with our clients and customized to meet their needs. Collective Results adds our unique touch to the strategic planning process using some key components within each phase.

Phase 1: Understand

  • This phase provides the foundational information that will be used to inform the development of the strategic plan elements. Activities can include a review of the vision, mission and values, an environmental scan or engagement with various groups such as staff, persons served or community partners.

Collective Results’ Key Components

Sense-Making: We take the scattered and complex information and start to synthesize, group, and make sense of the emerging concepts.

Pattern Recognition: Given our extensive experience in strategic planning, we can easily recognize patterns in the information collected as common themes begin to transcend across sectors.

Phase 2: Create

  • This phase consists of creating the elements of the strategic plan, including positioning statements, strategic pillars, goals, and objectives. Strategic plan creation can occur using two different approaches based on the client’s preference:

    • Our consultants craft the strategic plan using contextual information gathered in the understanding phase and share it back with the client for their review

    • Our consultants lead a strategic planning committee - which can consist of a representative group of board members, senior leaders, and staff – through facilitated sessions that take place over four consecutive weeks where the strategic plan is co-created through collaborative input and discussions (*Our recommended approach*)

Collective Results’ Key Components

Refinement: We build off the ideas generated by the group each week and work to filter, organize, and polish concepts to present back for the group. This step encourages forward momentum while maintaining the validity of the group’s contributions.

Reflection: We provide the time and space for reflection to occur with purposeful breaks in between sessions. This gives the group an opportunity to individually reflect on concepts generated each week and return with fresh eyes having had time to process.

Phase 3: Activate

  • This phase strives to move the strategic plan into action. Collective Results supports clients in creating strategic plans that will lead smoothly into implementation and ongoing monitoring. Activities in this phase can include key performance indicator development, data visualization with dashboards and implementation planning support.

Collective Results’ Key Components

First-hand Experience: Our consultants have all been on “the other side”, working in public sector organizations and implementing strategic plan activities, to have a good sense of what is realistic.

Insight Sharing: We have extensive experience leading groups through a step-by-step KPI process that gives us a valuable head start to help our clients draft metrics that are useful and effective.

One of the best compliments we often receive from our clients at the end of the strategic planning process is how our approach felt very manageable or “do-able” and how much they appreciated the step-by-step process to break down the tasks into smaller elements so that the strategic planning process didn’t feel so overwhelming. This is music to our ears! Strategic planning can feel daunting to tackle, but it doesn’t have to be. Our goal is to make sure that our clients are satisfied with the process we took together – not just the final product of a completed strategic plan. As the well-known saying goes, it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.

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