February 2017: Six Steps to Successful Planning

eNews Masthead - Transforming Challenges
In this Issue

Opening Remarks

Every organization, at some time or another, has to engage in strategic planning for its future.  So, what makes for a successful planning process?  In this edition of Transforming Challenges, John Reid outlines some of the steps we have found to be vital keys to the success of an effective planning process.  

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

Maureen Gallagher will present a webinar on Living the Paschal Mystery in Planning on February 14 at 1:00 p.m. CT as part of the webinar series sponsored by the Conference on Pastoral Planning and Council Development. This one-hour webinar will explore practical planning as seen through the lens of Paschal Mystery, approaching planning from the perspective of visioning and dealing with change.

You don’t have to be a CPPCD member to attend the webinar–just visit the CPPCD site for more information and to register here. 

  • Lucien Roy has completed the presentation of part one of a two-part workshop for St. Louis University entitled “Becoming a Champion of Positive Work Culture”  for the Information Technology department.  He will soon present part two for a group from Student Educational Services.
  • John Reid is working with Seattle University on the School of Theology and Ministry archive project, capturing the experience and wisdom of the last 50 years in theological education at Seattle U.  Three receptions will be held on April 3, 5 and May 2 for alumnae and faculty of STM as well as its predecessor programs ITS, SUMORE and CORPUS.  Contact John for more information.
  • John Reid and Maureen Reid have completed work with the Called To Be One Planning Team in the Diocese of Duluth.  Final recommendations were presented to the Bishop and School Board regarding the merger of four Catholic schools in the city of Duluth into one new school on multiple campuses.  All recommendations were accepted and implementation has begun with the appointment of a new Governing Board and a search for a new president.
  • Tom Reid worked with The Williams Company in Seattle to launch a personal and company improvement process on Jan. 27.  The next step in the process is individual coaching sessions.

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 Celebrates 20 Years

You are invited to The Reid Group Webinar on Energizing Your Relationships

  • Thursday, February 23 at 5:00 PM PST
  • Host for the Call:  Tom Reid
  • Session Focus: Energizing Your Relationships, Starting with Yourself 

In this webinar we will present practical content for personal, relational and organizational development.  

Areas of focus include: 

  • Growing your relationship with you
  • Living in your head, heart and body
  • Being more present and less in the past or future
  • Exploring how much you are living from a getting vs. giving orientation
  • The many benefits of centering and mindfulness practices

Space is limited, so  register today.   

Feature Focus

Six Steps to Successful Planning

John Reid, Senior Consultant

Vision without action is just a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world.
Joel Barker, Futurist

Successful planning is a means to an end, not an end in itself. The end is a focused, disciplined and effective implementation of a plan. Sadly, too many planning processes produce a plan that just gathers dust on a shelf. Drawing on 20 years of experience, we have identified six steps that are necessary for successful planning.

Step 1 Widespread engagement in the planning process

Organizations must involve as many stakeholders as possible in the planning process. In addition to the usual suspects — staff, Board members, and key donors – organizations must reach out to other groups committed to the organization and concerned about its present and future.

In our work, we engage all the planning participants in a variety of ways: planning sessions, individual interviews, focus groups and surveys. All of these opportunities for engagement help the planning team hear from constituents and make it more likely that the resulting plan will be practical, realistic and achievable.

Step 2 Identify key issues

Key issues typically include: staffing, finances and facilities as well as internal and external relationships with the larger community, including even competitors. We have found that the wisdom to face these challenges already exists in the organization, provided there is a safe environment for important conversations to surface possible futures that ultimately lead to a probable and preferred future.

Step 3 Directional, Strategic and Operational planning statements

Typically, a plan will address three types of planning:

  • Directional Planning involves foundational statements of mission (why do we exist?), values (guiding principles of conduct) and vision (the result of living out our mission to a high degree) for the organization
  • Strategic Planning includes the identifying key priorities and goals as well as issues and programs
  • Operational Planning focuses on the specific objectives that will help each goal to be achieved combined with action steps that are SMART-Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Responsibility Identified and Time-bound 

Okay, now you’ve got a great plan so your work is done, right? Too many organizations think so and end the planning processes after Step 3. In our experience, this is a major problem. We believe the next three steps are just as important as the first three, if a successful plan is to lead to a successful implementation.

Step 4 Promote the plan as a living document

Any effective process captures a particular moment in time for an organization-the best thinking regarding where the organization is and where it is heading. Creating a “living plan” requires the organization to be open to ongoing updating so the plan remains relevant and informed by new developments and new challenges. We suggest that the plan summary be distributed widely to all stakeholders, that an implementation team be appointed to monitor progress toward implementation, and that the objectives and action steps be revised and updated each year to ensure the plan is relevant for many years into the future.

Step 5 Create an action plan

In order for implementation to be SMART, create an action plan. For every goal, there will be multiple objectives. For each objective, there are multiple action steps that identify benchmarks of progress as well as any budget implications, while also naming who is responsible for taking the action, and specifying a time frame for completion.

Step 6 Evaluation

As leaders immerse themselves in implementation, they gain new insights and are able to identify new or better approaches to a goal or objective. Therefore, frequent evaluations of the implementation experience are essential for the planning and implementation process to have the greatest impact.

The Reid Group recommends a three- or six-month cycle of evaluation, including the answers to such questions as: What is working well? What are some surprising or unexpected consequences? What are new or emerging needs not accounted for during the planning process?

As Joel Barker says, vision with action can change the world. Successful planning includes bold and creative vision combined with practical goals, objectives and action steps.   When organizations engage in these six steps, the world of the organization and the larger society will see a very positive impact.


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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