April 2015: What Makes for a Successful Planning Process?

eNews Masthead - Transforming Challenges
In this Issue

Opening Remarks

The success of a planning process depends on many factors.  In this edition of Transforming Challenges, Senior Consultant Tom Reid gives his take on 10 of the most important ingredients in your organization’s planning efforts.

At The Reid Group, we have a passion for helping leaders and organizations transform their challenges into opportunities to create a better world. One of the ways we do that is through this e-letter, Transforming Challenges. Is there someone you know who could benefit from receiving it? Forward this edition to them and encourage them to subscribe for themselves. They’ll thank you—and so do we!

The Reid Group News

  • The Sisters of St. Anne in Marlboro, MA have contracted with The Reid Group to facilitate a planning process for the community as well as, in conjunction with REALM, conduct a health care assessment.
  • John Reid has been hired by St. Mary parish in Seattle to facililtate a planning process.  This multicultural parish in the downtown area of Seattle seeks to be proactive in developing a three-year plan.
  • The Reid Group is conducting a search for Providence Portland Medical Central which is seeking a Director of Mission Integration to provide mission leadership throughout the state of Oregon.  Contact either John Reid or Tom Reid if you or someone you know is interested in this position.
  • Cardinal Dolan in the Archdiocese of New York will announce the second round of parish mergers and collaborations before the end of April.  The effective date for the 60+ mergers will be August 1, 2015, and action plans for the collaborating parishes will be due November 1, 2015.

So as you look at your individual or organizational future, what are your challenges? Could you benefit from skilled support? Give us a call at 206-432-3565 or send us an e-mail to start transforming those challenges into opportunities.

The Reid Group teleseminar series

April 22, 2015: 
10 Elements of User-Friendly Strategic Planning

 1 p.m. PT, 2 p.m. MT, 3 p.m. CT, 4 pm ET

What do you think of when you hear the words “strategic planning?”

“Not again!”
“Been there, done that.”
“I’d rather floss my teeth!”

Are you overdue to refresh or update your plan?   Are you committed to planning, but need a shot in the arm to energize your process?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then please join our next Teleseminar call.

During this teleseminar participants will get an overview of the essential elements of an effective strategic planning process. In addition, the session will offer practical suggestions for specific action steps to build upon the ideas presented on the call.
Are there issues or questions you would like to hear more about?  Send your comments and feedback to us at info@thereidgroup.biz.

Feature Focus

What Makes for a Successful Planning Process?


Tom Reid Senior Consultant

There are many factors that contribute to the success of a strategic planning process–here are ten elements we have found to be essential.

Understand all the external opportunities and challenges
Examine all of your programs, services and operations in light of current realities and future projections. For instance, ever-changing technology can be a real catalyst for change.

Conduct a realistic and comprehensive assessment of the organization’s strengths and limitations
The bedrock of any successful plan is a warts-and-all consideration of capabilities, strengths, weaknesses and limitations. This requires both objective and subjective input from a broad group of people including staff, board members, clients, community leaders, donors and partner organizations. What needs to stay the same? What can you learn from the things you are doing well and can you apply them elsewhere?, What do you need to stop doing?

Create an inclusive approach
All important stakeholder groups should have a voice in the planning effort. You might not give all views equal weight and every staff member may not be involved in the early stages of planning, but it makes a more effective process to include many voices. How an organization involves people can be intricately tied to its mission. This approach also sets the stage for a smoother adoption of the plan and acceptance of the changes that result because everyone feels that they were part of the process.

Empower your planning committee
Strategic planning should be a participatory undertaking but not an anarchic one. The core work will generally be done by a small planning committee that needs sufficient decision making authority to keep the project moving forward.

Involve your senior leadership
Sometimes board members take a hands-off approach and sometimes Executive Directors can micromanage as well. Active participation from both of these groups plus the funds and resources to implement action steps demonstrate the commitment necessary for the entire organization to engage. Again, involving key stakeholders in the planning process delivers a better result.

Ensure that Board and Staff share responsibility
Professional staff and board members each bring complementary skill sets and perspectives to the table. One without the other often results in a skewed and incomplete picture. Your planning effort needs to draw on both.

Learn from best practices
Each organization has its individualized mission, client base and operating culture but it is possible to learn from the successes and mistakes of others. Every organization deals with challenges related to human resources, technology, capacity building, etc. Many planning processes include a survey of comparable organizations and their challenges.

Set clear priorities and create an implementation plan
Mission and vision are inspirational but can be hollow unless accompanied by a description of activities needed to fulfill the desired aims. Once goals are set and prioritized, create action steps to achieve the goals, identify who is responsible, and allocate appropriate budget.

Have patience
Organizations move through the planning process at different paces. This is a result of size as well as other factors. It is important to keep things on course and maintain momentum but rushing the process is counterproductive.

Demonstrate a commitment to change
As client needs, market conditions and funding criteria change, you will need to revisit your strategies regularly. Sometimes just a fine-tuning is needed and other times may well call for a major overhaul of objectives and priorities.


The Art of Change: Faith, Vision and Prophetic Planning

Think about what your organization could do if the process of planning met the inevitability of change head-on—and it resulted in significant success.

bookcoverweb2Organizations large and small, religious and secular, for-profit and not-for-profit, successful and unsuccessful, go through change. John Reid and Maureen Gallagher of the Reid Group have been instrumental in helping many groups discover the power of Prophetic Planning. This book presents a complete overview with detailed information that any organization will find useful in understanding how to plan for change.

The Art of Change: Faith, Vision and Prophetic Planning, and its companion CD are now available from Liguori Publications as well as from Amazon.com.

And that’s it for this month. Look for Transforming Challenges next month–and until then, have a good day and a great week.Kathy Johnson, Editor, Transforming Challenges
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