Why Do Strategic Planning?

Most organizations rely on teams to achieve organizational goals. And high-performing teams create great value for the organization – and they’re thrilling to participate in! Yet not all teams are created equal.

In a world experiencing ever-increasing levels of flux, organizations must continually re-evaluate their vision and strategy if they want to retain viability and vitality.

When all members of your organization, from senior leadership to line workers, understand and commit to the organization’s vision and goals – you have the potential to create a successful, thriving future.

Strategic planning is the process of consciously defining a vision for your organization’s future, and creating the roadmap to bring that vision into reality.

I have conducted strategic planning sessions for clients in sectors from academia to transportation, government and non-profits to corporations and health-care.

When Do You Need to Do Strategic Planning?

You might conduct strategic planning when…

  • Significant changes in important external circumstances are anticipated or have occurred.
  • Your organization is considering expanding into a new market, industry, or endeavor.
  • There is a need for greater alignment throughout the organization with the overall mission and vision.

What Makes Strategic Planning Effective?

There are five stages of effective strategic planning…

  • Clarifying the core mission and vision of the organization.
  • Assessing the organization’s strengths and weaknesses relative to the mission and vision.
  • Anticipating significant future opportunities and threats that will impact the organization’s ability to fulfill its mission and vision.
  • Defining realistic action plans to exploit future opportunities and mitigate against threats, while addressing existing strengths and weaknesses.
  • Establishing a clear implementation plan that ensures accountability for follow-through.

Strategic planning requires the full concentration of the organization on the substance of the planning. Organizations that conduct effective strategic planning efforts usually rely on a skilled, experienced facilitator to guide them through the process.

What Makes a Strategic-Planning Facilitator Effective?

The critical characteristics of effective facilitation include the ability to…

  • Custom-design a planning process that fits the organization’s needs.
  • Design a process to engage all stakeholders in a meaningful way.
  • Create a climate of trust, honesty, and creativity.
  • Manage the complexities of the conversation while maintaining focus on the overall planning process.
  • Design a realistic implementation process to help organization keep focus on results and maintain momentum.
  • Operate throughout as both a facilitator and thinking partner, enabling the organization to maintain a strategic focus on the effort.

For over 35 years I have been conducting strategic planning efforts for a wide array of organizations in corporations, government, non-profit, health care, higher education, and other organizations.

Strategic Planning Clients Include…

  • United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization
  • American Veterinary Medical Association
  • NYU Medical Center
  • Centers for Disease Control
  • University of Maryland
  • Michigan State University
  • University of Wisconsin
  • NPS Pharmaceuticals
  • Amtrak’s North-East Corridor High-Speed Rail (Acela) program
  • American Veterinary Medical Association
  • Mayor of Washington, DC and his Cabinet
  • USA Today
  • U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Energy
  • Minnesota State Department of Agriculture
  • Virginia Community College System
With Daniel’s help and leadership we put together a strategic executive leadership team that bought into the idea of teamwork, putting the agency ahead of their individual areas, and focused on changing the organization in very meaningful ways. Daniel worked with the agency – an agency of seven or eight thousand people – to prepare them for major initiatives in change management. With Daniel’s leadership, we really thought through how to look at organizational development, how people change, and how they need real help to do that. Without that, our efforts wouldn’t have worked. With the change management leadership, the human dimension, the team building, and the ability to pull together a strategy for implementing change that worked – we had an amazing opportunity that became an amazing success.
Lonnie King, Center Director, Centers for Disease Control
We made changes to our strategic plan – so we had a very concrete technical result. There’s a better sense of cohesion among the people in the group, and we’ve managed to carry on that sense of cohesion in the months that have elapsed since. If you want to get a result from a group of people that’s going to be difficult to pull together, Daniel will help to take the weight off your shoulders in getting it done. And from my perspective, he’s worth his weight in gold because of that.
Dr. Anni McLeod, Animal Production and Health Division, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
I was more than pleased with your excellent facilitation of the Virginia Community College System strategic planning taskforce; the sessions moved quickliy and the participation of members was robust. I appreciated your attention to detail in the planning and execution of the meeting which contributed heavily to the success of the meeting. Finally the positive way you worked with us as a group helped build a consensus that made a real difference with our outcomes.
Robert Sandel, President, Virginia Community College System
Food and Agriculture
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