When it comes to planning, social sector leaders often ask me how to ensure strategic plans get implemented. They are right to be concerned – their hard work matters and should not be relegated to a shelf. I respond with the Japanese proverb – “Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.” At Social Impact Architects, we don’t create plans. We create clarity and momentum, and plans are a means to an end. We are not satisfied with an attractive or even “comprehensive” planning document but aim to create a roadmap to dynamic change. This is why we always ask in discovery – how satisfied are you with the current strategic plan and the process that went into its creation? With many organizations embarking upon the strategic planning process, we wanted to cover the step after the strategic plan – action plans.
- How does this connect to our value proposition? Should it change? How do we communicate this change?
- How do we know what is important to our customers/partners, so we can focus on those areas?
- Are we learning as we go to inform our understanding of our customers’/partners’ evolving needs?
- Are we being supportive of larger community goals?
- How do we create a diversified funding strategy to support this strategy?
- Do we understand the trade-offs between mission and money? How do we create a sustainable strategy to support it in the future?
- If funding is incremental, what gets implemented first?
- What programs do we need to change/add/eliminate to align with this objective?
- What changes in technology are needed to make us more effective?
- Are we focused on what is most important to our customers and partners? How do we best communicate this?
- Are we equipped to accomplish this objective? What expectations can staff have related to adding resources?
- What are the drivers of performance? Will these metrics connect us to our goals as well as the community’s goals?
- Do we have the right people in place?
- Are the appropriate staff and stakeholders aware and supportive of what is required of them?
- Do they have the appropriate training and support?
- Do they understand the shift needed to accomplish this objective?
- Are these objectives reflected in performance goals?