What exactly does a company’s strategic plan consist of?
While you might imagine a written document packed with mission statements, metrics, and workplans, a strategic plan consists of much more than words on a page.
At Funding for Good, we think of a strategic plan as a powerful tool that blends big dreams and concrete strategies.
The Power of Creating Space to Dream Big
It’s the big dreams part of strategic planning that’s had us thinking lately, especially as the Powerball jackpot climbs to headline-grabbing levels. With a nearly $2 billion prize, we here at Funding for Good are tempted to run out and buy a few tickets.
If nothing else, a couple dollars spent on Powerball gives us space to dream of what we might do with the winnings.
But this time, when we asked ourselves what we’d change in our business and our lives, the answer was surprising. We wouldn’t change much at all. It turns out that when you spend your days guiding organizations’ strategic planning, you get into the habit of dreaming big, experimenting with new approaches, and evaluating what’s working for you and what isn’t.
Which is why we think strategic planning can be as transformative for businesses and nonprofit organizations as winning the Powerball jackpot. Here’s how:
A Company’s Strategic Plan Consists Of…
- Space to Dream Big: A key step in the strategic planning process is conducting a retreat for board and staff leadership. A skilled facilitator will guide retreat participants in thinking big. That includes identifying and grappling with both challenges and opportunities for your company—whether they’re internal or external. This structured time away from daily work often gives a company’s leadership the chance to dream bigger than they otherwise might. It’s the perfect space to uncover ambitious goals and brainstorms new tactics to test.
- Realistic Objectives: As much as strategic planning is about thinking bigger, it’s also designed to result in realistic goals and objectives that cover a 3–5-year time horizon. This dual focus guides company leadership through the process of translating aspirations into a concrete vision of success, one that includes indicators and metrics to help you know if you’re on track. While these objectives are grounded in reality, they also encapsulate leaders’ big dreams for their companies’ future. This is a powerful combination.
- Practical Workplans: Once your strategic plan is finalized, it’s time to convert your big dreams and realistic objectives into work plans that are practical and achievable. Again, the key is that your company isn’t developing work plans based simply on daily tasks. Instead, your plans will be geared toward achieving a collective vision. When your daily to-do list starts to feel overwhelming, this connection to collective impact can be a reminder of why you’re doing the work and how to best prioritize competing needs.
With strategic planning, there’s no need to wait to win the Powerball jackpot in order to think big.
Plus, while a Powerball ticket may only have a one in 292 million chance of winning, having a written strategic plan can double your company’s odds of success.
Now that’s a bet worth taking!
For more practical tools to build your organization’s capacity today, check out our 2023 Webinar Series: Nonprofit Capacity Building.
Get Your Free Pre-Strategic Planning Checklist
This easy-to-use tool is the perfect place to begin strategic planning. Download it, print it out, and check off tasks as you go!