I love strategic planning – it is about the future and getting on the same page. Finding a consensus on how to implement your collective vision is incredibly motivating and fun. Having said that, too often organizations think that their work is done once the planning workshop is over. Critically this misses the benefits of strategic planning.
So what are some ways that your strategic plan can become an essential governing tool?
For starters, Leadership can use a strategic plan to guide their decisions. When tough decisions need to be made leaders should turn to the strategic plan and ask, “Is this decision consistent with the priorities identified by the community?” They can also ask “Is this decision consistent with values identified by the community?” In this way, leaders are respecting the will of the people as they make their decisions.
Another way to use a strategic plan is for monitoring the performance of the administration. Leaders can ask themselves “Is the organization achieving what we have set out to achieve?” If not, why? Monitoring performance in this way is very transparent and helps the administration to understand how they will be evaluated. It will be the job of the administrator to deliver on the vision established through the strategic plan.
Finally, leaders can use the strategic plan to be more accountable to the community. Leaders can present what they have achieved in relation to the objectives set out in the strategic plan. In this way, community members see their ideas, values and priorities in the strategic plan and they hear their leaders reporting back on those same things. Doing this will give people a greater sense of ownership over their own government.
In the end, you should be congratulated for having a strategic plan but don’t let it sit on the shelf and collect dust! Instead, put it to work in the service of your Nation Building efforts.