By Alice Blackwell and the ICA:UK trainer team.

The new financial year is almost upon us and after a turbulent twelve months, many organisations will be getting together to review, redesign and recreate their strategic plans. However, with such a changed landscape to navigate, it could be easy to feel overwhelmed before we even begin. We decided to speak to Lead Trainers in ICA’s Strategic Planning method, for their hints and tips to get you feeling motivated to start your planning process. Throughout their years in facilitation, training and mediation our trainers have worked with many different groups to help them develop effective strategic plans and prepare for organisational change. Here is what they said…

ICA’s ToP Participatory Strategic Planning Process Model
  • Step 1 > Prepare Prepare Prepare –  First thing is first, you need to prepare. Take the time to make sure you have the ‘right’ people in the room and to clearly identify your focus. It may seem simple, but if done well these tasks can save significant time, money and energy in the future.
  • Step 2 > Inspire a Shared Vision – Once you have identified your focus and have all the people you need in the room (or virtual room, as it may be!) the next step is to create a shared vision. When teams dream together and are all involved in the visioning process, they feel ownership of the vision and create a future they want to work towards. This also begins to lay the groundwork for collaborative working.
  • Step 3 > Identify your current reality – Now you have a future vision for your organisation, you need to work out your where you are in the current moment. Performing a SWOT analysis, or simply asking questions such as ‘what is stopping us achieving our vision?’ and ‘what resources do we have that could help us our ideal future?’ – help us to understand our barriers, resources and experience. With a shared understanding of the current reality, your team can work together more effectively by understanding what tools they have and challenges they may face.
  • Step 4 > Develop Streams or directions of work – At this stage, if you have completed the previous steps thoroughly, the key areas you need to work on will be becoming effortlessly apparent. Understanding where you currently are and identifying where you want to be, will automatically begin to point towards tasks that need to be done to order to get from A to B. Take the time to note down all of the tasks that need to be done to get from vision to reality, keeping in mind your barriers and resources while doing so. These tasks can then be clustered together into different streams or directions of work, according to different departments or job roles, that are ready to be actioned.
  • Step 5 > Create practical goals – And finally to finish off your strategic plan, you need to create goals. Work together to pick one or two SMART goals per direction of work. Then pencil in times to review and report back to the whole team. This ensures accountability and that your team regularly keep up to date on the progress of different departments, allows opportunity for the plan to be modified if needed and keeps everyone focused to ultimately achieve the vision you developed together.

Join Ann Lukens, on ICA’s next Participatory Strategic Planning course 12th-21st April 2021 and learn how you can create and facilitate effective strategic plans both in person and online – check our course schedule for more details.

Check out the link here for information about ICA’s ToP Participatory Strategic Planning (PSP) method.