The Outline for Strategic Planning

Strategic planning can provide the geometry for organizational alignment, the blueprint for sustained brilliance. In a polarized world, we need the discerning wisdom possible in strategic plans that promote productive human connection while encouraging diversity and alignment with human brilliance.

This outline reflects how I facilitate the strategic planning process that creates a practical plan, articulating insightful guidance to every stakeholder, and inspiring a culture of sustainable brilliance.

Mission: The mission states the difference the organization intends to make in the lives of those it serves (i.e., all stakeholders, especially customers, not only shareholders). By its nature, the mission is simple, directional, differentiating, and relational. It often states a distinctive competence that is highly valued by stakeholders.

Vision: By its nature, vision is generative, aspirational, and inspirational. Vision is developed with “future perfect” thinking, and it serves as a check on mission clarity. A vision statement can be a set or summary of descriptions that express how the world will be when the mission is fully and competently operating.  The descriptions may be written from the perspective of the various stakeholders.

Strategic GoalsStrategic goals clarify the mission and identify the high-level actions that must occur to fulfill the mission.  As form follows function, organization design generally reflects the strategic goals. Strategic goals may be displayed as clarifying phrases below the mission statement. Performance objectives are subsets of the strategic goals, identifying operational gaps and culture development opportunities that have significant importance when the strategic plan is conceived. Objectives are priorities for special investments, projects, or initiatives that increase performance capacity. When stakeholders effectively address these performance objectives, the organization transcends “best.”

Core Human Values: The principals or standards of ethical behavior are deemed essential throughout the culture to support the mission. Core human values serve as guidelines for personal behavior, leadership, and teamwork. Leadership is fundamentally about pursuing worthy goals with actions and investments correlated with mission, vision, and goals. Core human values inspire the powerful strategy of leading with love. Without core values, there is a high probability for disproportionate and unfair treatment of certain individuals and groups, and erosion in the power of We. Organizations without constant adherence to core human values may emulate superficial authority but lack real leadership.

Guiding StrategiesStrategies express how the organization should operate in alignment with the mission Strategies are wise guidelines, keys to success, rules to live by – wisdom for creating the desired future (e.g., vision).  Guiding strategies are developed for the priority activities needed to achieve the mission (e.g., customer relations, quality of service, training and development, communications, teamwork, recruiting, compensation, marketing, product development, performance measurement, financial resources, public relations, decision making, etc.). Strategies are put into place – strategic goals are achieved – mission, vision, goals, and core human values are fulfilled – through a series of highly intentional tactical actions.

Tactics: These are the specific investments, action steps, projects, or programs that the organization chooses to take: to accomplish its goals, following the strategies, in pursuit of its mission,  vision, and core human values. Exceptional leadership, project management, and teamwork are required to translate a list of priority tactics into an accountable, implementable endeavor, in a brilliant culture.
One of the power secrets of strategic leadership is this: Once the stakeholders understand the mission, vision, strategic goals, core human values, and guiding strategies, the entire stakeholder community consciously employs this knowledge, aligned in action, dialogue, and decision-making daily.