Organisational Change and Development

"The rate of change is not going to slow down anytime soon. If anything, competition in most industries will probably speed up even more in the next few decades. "

John P. Kotter

Organisational Vision, Mission and Strategic Planning

"Leaders establish the vision for the future and set the strategy for getting there."

John P. Kotter

Strategic planning is a process which allows the organisation to position itself to take the best advantage of its human resources' skills, competencies, knowledge and understanding about the work they do and the organisation's Vision and Mission. It allows an organisation to take advantage of its future by

  • Capitalising on its opportunities
  • Addressing its challenges
  • Providing the kind of leadership that masters change.

In other words, it makes a significant contribution to the resilience of the organisation - its ability to achieve its core objectives in the face of adversity/change/challenge.

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Why use a Strategic Planning Process?

When approached correctly, an integrated strategic planning process can become the critical driver of sustained success for organisations at all levels of maturity. It can be the source of organisational alignment that facilitates evolution into a strategically focused organization. It can provide the roadmap that links a shared corporate vision down to executable objectives and measures that drive operating results and growth.

Ideally, an organisation's Strategic Plan is congruent with its Vision and Mission . It names how an organisation will bring the Vision and Mission to life by drilling down into the goals of the organisation. It establishes a framework for the enactment of those goals by establishing the direction of the activities of the organisation's Business Plan and section/department goals. It also provides a framework for the articulation of individual goals and serves as a platform for staff developmental appraisal and performance review.

RICO utilises a values based approach to strategic planning. Values based strategic planning is unlike traditional strategic planning in that it is not based solely on principles of gap analysis and then planning how to rectify the deficit. A values-based approach to strategic planning focuses first on people and enabling them to attain what they know to be the organisation's purpose.

As such, it requires a clear and current organisational vision and mission.

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Five essential elements of a Strategic Plan

Effective s trategic planning requires organisations to think clearly, focus sharply, and communicate eloquently. The first step is to create a succinct, adaptive, and thoughtful strategic plan. This plan needs to incorporate five essential elements listed below:

  1. Vision: A vision statement describes how the leadership visualises the business or the organisation as it will be in the future. It should stimulate thinking and communicate passion. A good vision statement should inspire others, igniting their enthusiasms and providing energy and direction for improvement and change.
  2. Mission: From the perspective of your clientele, why do you or should you exist? This statement should be short and memorable-almost like a slogan.
  3. Strategies: What will make your business successful over time? What are the methods and strategies you will use to capitalise on internal and external opportunities?
  4. Objectives: Can you quantify what you are trying to accomplish? How will you measure your progress towards making the vision reality? Where will you look to see that meaningful progress is being made? Objectives need to cause meaningful actions within the organisation toward enactment of strategies you have laid out to achieve the organisation's vision. Remember, what can be measured and inspected gets done.
  5. Plans: What specific actions will you take to translate strategies into stated objectives? They need to be SMARTER ( S pecific, M easurable, A chievable, R elevant, T imely, E xtending and R ewarding). Only through well executed, SMARTER plans can desired change be brought about.

Your strategic plan needs to be accessible, understandable and doable. It should become part of conversations across the business and provide the first point of reference for decisions that need to be made at all levels of the organisation.

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A SMARTER Approach to Strategic Planning

SMARTER is an acronym. A SMARTER goal or objective is:

Specific:

For example the goal to "work harder" makes it hard to know what working harder would look like. It's easier to recognise "write a paper", or "increase volunteer numbers".

Measurable:

It's difficult to know what the scope of "writing a paper" or "increase volunteer numbers" really is. It's easier to appreciate what has been achieved if the goal is "write a 30-page paper", or "attract and train a 50% increase in volunteer numbers".

Acceptable:

Those who are to take responsibility for the goal need to find it an acceptable goal, that is, one that they and/or their team/department/section can attain. Involving those who are to be responsible for the goal in setting the goal, so that they can change other commitments or modify the goal, is much more likely to result in acceptance of pursuit of the goal.

Realistic:

Even if there is acceptance of responsibility for pursuit of a goal that is specific and measurable, the goal won't be useful if, for example, the time for completion/attainment of the goal is not realistic. Being realistic also means that the resources necessary for the attainment of the goal are available, or can be made available, to those responsible for its achievement.

Time frame:

This means not only and end date for achievement of the goal, but a timeframe for steps toward the achievement of the goal.

Extending:

The goal should stretch the performer's capabilities.

Rewarding:

The reward that is attained might be the extension of my skill, some form of financial bonus, acknowledgement in an organisational publication, etc, or just the joy of actually achieving the goal! Whatever the reward, I will be more inclined to take responsibility for a goal and pursue it with enthusiasm if I can see that I might reap a reward for my effort.

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