Thoughts Around Strategic Planning – The Institute 2011

Gustavo Torrez
The Institute 2011, Atlanta GA
Morning Session: Strategic Planning 

The Institute 2011 has been yet another great conference filled with great speakers, trainings, and opportunities for networking. My morning session: Strategic Planing was filled with some great information presented by Shelli Bischoff, President & CEO, Nonprofit Impact. Shelli is absolutely amazing and I think I might just have to rope her in for a call for you all. Overall, The purpose of the session was to increase skills, ability, and knowledge about comprehensive, coordinated strategic planning processes within the context of integration and systems change, as well as help participants use planning as a tool to create more efficient, effective and sustainable organizations, programs or coalitions.

In her training she outlines strategic as a deliberate, calculated decisions or design, based on an understanding of external, market, and internal forces and current and expected conditions; broad, organization-wide, over-arching all programs and services.  When we apply this thought to a strategic planning process it really makes you think a bit about the process in a new light… A piece I truly liked her list of 7 Key Concepts:

  • Teams provide value in creating plans; but groups of people are not always teams
  • The planning process is about making deliberate decisions and choices based on context, data and analysis
  • The plan must define results to be achieved, with strategies and tasks designed to best achieve those results
  • Implementation requires project management skills, and being accountable to the plan
  • Sustainability is more than money – it is a solid identity, engaged constituency, and potent capacity – all of which build brand
  • Start with the end in mind – what are you trying to achieve? A plan is just a tool, not the end itself

I think the thing I like the most about these concepts is that they really create a comprehensive way of thinking as you prepare for a strategic planning process. Today is a new day, and a strategic planning process can not only help to re-engage your constituents, it can help your organization, program, coalition etc. create tangible goals that can have a larger more focused impact for your work.

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