Steps you need to take if you want to create a great strategic plan outline.
But in order to create a helpful and usable strategic plan template, you need to have a solid working outline. Below, we’ve provided the three most important parts of that outline as well as four steps to take to integrate the strategic plan once it’s complete.
To create an overall vision, some organizations start by holding a brainstorming session in which they “imagine a world” where:
Once you’ve gathered your ideas from a brainstorming session like this, consolidate those ideas into a one- or two-sentence vision statement or purpose statement.
To determine how you’ll achieve your overall vision, you’ll need to break it down into goals—often called “objectives.” Objectives can often be divided into logical groups.
For example, if you’re a municipality, your objectives could be divided into key program areas like safety, transportation, and public works. If you’re a nonprofit or for-profit business, your objectives might be grouped into the four Balanced Scorecard perspectives or the perspectives for whichever strategic planning model you’ve selected. Ideally, all of your goals will link together so they’re contributing somehow to your vision collectively.
Many for-profit strategic plan examples focus next on their measures or key performance indicators, which help an organization understand whether or not they’re meeting their goals. If your organization sets measures, you’ll also set targets for those measures that help express levels of performance.
See Also: How To Set KPI Targets
Organizations that feel less ownership of the target itself—like nonprofits and municipalities—will focus next on linking activities or “projects” to their objectives. For example, a municipality or school may not want to set a target for school attendance, park visitors, or for how many people will go to the library in a particular time period. But they will want to talk about all the activities they need to do to improve their city, like:
All of these key activities that are linked to your strategic objectives can help you meet your overall strategic plan.
Which person (or department) should be held accountable for these goals? You want that person (or those people) to write anywhere from three sentences to three paragraphs describing what each objective means, why it’s important, and how you’re going to accomplish it. You can then spread this throughout your organization.
This may include:
This is something one individual in the strategy or finance office may be in charge of. This individual would read the whole strategic plan outline and ensure that you have the same level of detail in each section and then communicate the plan going forward.
Creating an inspiring strategic plan is great—but there are a lot of nice strategic plan outlines out there that were created and now sit on a shelf.
Your strategic plan template has to be something that the leadership team fully understands and takes ownership of. So even if the buy-in takes a great deal of time—even 2-3 times longer than if you’d tried to do it without buy-in—don’t underestimate its importance. Once you have the leadership on board, your strategic plan will be something everyone can understand and execute on regularly.
Ted is a Founder and Managing Partner of ClearPoint Strategy and leads the sales and marketing teams.