If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will do.
What is Strategic Planning?
Strategic planning is a process designed to help leaders make effective choices and to prioritize scarce resources.
The central focus of strategic planning is developing a good fit between the organization’s activities and the demands of surrounding environments. Strategic planning looks at the big picture: the long-range destiny of the institution, the competition between this organization and others in its environment, the market for organizational products and services, and the mix of internal resources to accomplish the organization’s purpose. Strategic planning emphasizes flexibility and quick response to changes in the outside environment. Its basic perspective is external—looking toward the environment around the organization—rather than internal—looking at the organization’s structure. The goal of strategic planning is not so much producing plans as it is making critical decisions wisely. It is not so much interested in doing things right; it is more concerned with doing the right things.
The planning process has five key components: to gather information, to identify critical issues, to formulate a common vision, to develop action strategies, and to move from vision to reality.
In an effective planning process the planning leaders and the citizens or persons served share each of these components. Community or stakeholder input and ownership of the process is critical.
The Docking Institute realizes that different organizations start at different places and have different needs. Therefore, the Institute customizes the strategic planning process to meet the organization’s particular situation. Many organizations seek a comprehensive package of services, beginning with data gathering and analysis, and continuing through plan writing several steps later. Other organizations seek only assistance with areas such as statistical analysis and survey work, group facilitation, or visioning.
Planning Format and Expertise
Since 1987, the Docking Institute has worked with more than 50 communities, counties, nonprofit organizations, and state agencies in varying levels of strategic planning. We have worked with group sizes ranging from 10 to 150 people, from local boards of directors to multi-layer state agencies. We have facilitated planning sessions ranging from a single afternoon retreat to a weeks-long process.
Many planning processes go through the following nine steps:
- Step One: Getting Organized/Stakeholder Participation
- Step Two: Mission Statement Development
- Step Three: Understanding Your Community/Organization
- Step Four: SWOT Analysis and Visioning
- Step Five: Key Issues Identification
- Step Six: Develop Work Plan
- Step Seven: Feedback
- Step Eight: Implementation
- Step Nine: Evaluation
Previous Strategic Plans
Recent Strategic Plans facilitated by the Docking Institute include the following:
- Hays, USD 489
- Norton, USD 211
- Pratt Community College
- Downtown Hays Development Corporation
- Composites Kansas WIRED Initiative
- First Care Clinic
- Hays Head Start
- North Central Kansas Technical College
- Pawnee County Economic Development Commission
- Wichita Area Sexual Assault Center
For more information on Strategic Planning, contact Gary Brinker.