Part 4 –Vision-Based Planning – Key elements and the 11 Steps – The Strategic Plan Itself.
Once the Vision, Values and Mission have been synthesized from the creative, expansionary phase of the process, then the rest of the Steps can be rolled out in a much more logical, progressive way, starting with the Top-Level Goals.
Editor’s Note: See Christine’s entire Series HERE
Step 6: Develop Top-Level Strategic Goals
Top-Level Strategic Goals are those that define desired results that will enable the achievement of the organization’s or concept’s Vision and Mission. In our experience, there are usually between five and eight goals that, between them, cover all aspects of the organization and its business. If the organization has several divisions, there is sometimes a temptation to develop a major goal for each division. This temptation should be resisted, as it fosters stovepipes. Rather, the Top-Level Goals should relate to the overall organization’s Vision and Mission. If we are developing a future concept, then the goals need to define all the major areas that must be worked on for the achievement of the concept. Ideally, they should be quantitative, but on occasion they may be too broad; in that case, they can provide a sense of direction. That is acceptable at this stage, although when we get to the next step—Objectives—we must have Measures and Metrics.
Although it may seem obvious, when we develop a goal or objective, we need to think through very carefully what exactly we are expecting the outcome of its achievement to be, what it will do for us, and what it will take to reach it. Very often, people confuse outcome with output, or even with performance, which can lead to misunderstandings. An outcome must be stated positively (we want to accomplish something, some result, or consequence), and it must be doable (no negative words or concepts, like avoiding or minimizing).
In subsequent Steps, we then develop strategies to achieve the objective or goal, which include assigning responsibilities and developing a timeline by which it must be achieved. Of course, part of the strategy includes ensuring that the necessary resources will be available. It can also be useful to ask such questions as, what will and won’t happen if we don’t achieve the outcome?