Testing Your Strategic Plan

Dave Blankenhorn

Dave Blankenhorn

Many organizations go through the annual strategic planning process without really testing their ideas and plans against some basic prinipals.Coming up with a plan is difficult but coming up with a plan that makes a difference to all your constituents is even more so. In light of this here are some tests to consider:

Does your strategy have a vision? – Will it have a deeper meaning to your clients, service the community the way it should and provide the emotional catalyst for your employees and stakeholders?

Is your client the center of your strategy? – The plan is all about servicing and taking care of your client so that needs to be the center of the whole plan.

Is your strategy forward looking? – Many groups place too much weight on the existing and status quo. Look ahead.

Does your strategy take into consideration the financial ability to achieve it?

It is fine to think big but only if you have the means to do it or have a specific plan to obtain funds to achieve the plan.

Is your strategy flexible? – a good strategy will be flexible enough to slow down or speed up depending on changing conditions. A well thought out strategy will include the assumptions and variables that would influence changes in your strategy.

Is your strategy designed around a bias? – When designing a plan it helps to acknowledge and limit any inherent biases. These can include being over optimistic, too fearful, herding or following the crowd, anchoring on some data point, or the “champion” bias of placing too much merit on a strategy because of the person that proposed it.

Does your plan have conviction? – Many plans fail because of faulty execution by the staff. A good strategic plan requires more that Board approval- everyone in the organization must share the passion to make it work.

Can you translate your plan into an action plan? – Once a plan is approved the real work begins. The successful execution of the plan depends on an accurate road map outlining initiatives’, accountability and time frames.

If you have a plan in place or are formulating one take a look at these eight factors to see if you meet these tests. Your nonprofit will be better for it.

Author:  Dave Blankenhorn, Executive Coaches of Orange County, www.ECofOC.org