As situations change and responsibilities shift, it’s critical that organizations build ongoing resilience and create a framework that helps them adapt. This adaptation needs to be driven by your purpose and communicated through your strategic plan. Strategic plans, as opposed to operational plans specifying tactics and actions, are long-term plans focused on outcomes or larger objectives. Ideally, your strategic plan is broader than just internal company goals and should take into account initiatives such as social and environmental responsibility.
The strategic planning process allows you to take a fresh look at your organization to understand how best to deliver on your purpose. It allows you to refocus your efforts for an ever-changing world and build out the actions needed to move your organization forward. Clearly defining and embedding your purpose across the vision, mission, strategy and operations of your organization is critical to successful strategic change and helps create support for your broader outcomes.
A strategic plan builds clear expectations that connect and align people to your purpose.
An effective strategic plan combines vision and execution. Identifying your organization’s priorities and objectives and setting the context for the actions required to achieve them is necessary to connect your people to your purpose and drive the daily actions that will get your company closer to its goals.
A strategic plan also sets clear expectations across your staff and Board, holding all people equally responsible for acting in the best interests of the organization’s larger objectives. When people have a clear line of sight from their day-to-day tasks to organizational priorities and desired outcomes that are rooted in strong values, they are inherently more likely to buy into the change being created.
Changes that affect an employee’s workload, priorities or daily routines are likely to be met with resistance unless there’s a good reason for it and if that reason is broadly and consistently communicated. When employees understand the why behind a decision and it makes sense to them, they are far more likely to support it. Leadership must also “walk the walk”; decisions at all levels must make sense with what the company claims to value or risk losing employee support.
Clarity of vision, values and goals in a plan will not only help you to rally your team around a shared purpose but also establish a greater sense of accountability and empowerment among individuals, connecting each employee’s work to the overall goals of the organization.
A strategic plan builds trust and improves team strength by attracting like-minded people and partners.
In order to move forward, it’s important to have the right people in the right roles. By being forthright about your organization’s mission, values, and culture, you make it easier for potential candidates and partners to find you (online, on social media, or through word-of-mouth) as well as determine if your organization is a good fit for them — whether that’s as an employee, partner or, for non-profits a donor.
Instead of struggling to find and retain top talent, you may also find that top talent starts to come to you, as more and more employees (especially Millennials and Gen Z) look for socially responsible employers who demonstrate an authentic commitment to positive social or environmental impact. Gen Z, which is expected to make up more than 30% of the workforce by 2024, has been described as “the first generation to prioritize purpose over salary”.
Attracting and retaining only the candidates and partners that can move your organization closer to its objectives will save you time, effort, and money in the long run.
A strategic plan increases engagement, support and breeds innovation, resilience, adaptation.
Your strategic plan helps you connect people to purpose, and purpose is a key driver of employee engagement. Employees whose values are aligned with those of their employer are generally more engaged and more likely to thrive in the organization.
The positive impact of employee engagement resonates throughout the organization, and organizations with higher employee engagement perform at higher levels. According to Gallup’s Employee Engagement Poll, organizations that excel at engaging their employees to achieve earnings-per-share growth four times than that of their competitors.
Today, organizations must be able to change faster and more frequently than ever before. It can seem daunting at first, but a good strategic plan can help your organization reenergize its workforce, reevaluate its priorities and vision for the future, as well as brainstorm creative solutions within the process to help move the company forward — and potentially towards a new definition of success.
By involving and engaging your staff throughout the strategic change process, providing practical tools, building staff capability and empowering your team, you can enable your people to grow and successfully sustain organic strategic change.
Light Trail Consulting can help you create an adaptable strategic plan.
Founded in 2011, Light Trail Consulting, a leading provider of strategic management consulting services, including strategic management for nonprofit organizations, works with socially-minded leaders to help them realize the full potential of an inclusive, purpose-driven organization.
Find out more about strategic planning from Light Trail.