Governance Leadership and Accountability
Australia & Pacific
07 July 16
WHY TRAINING FOR STRATEGIC PLANNING?
All organisations are now expected to have some form of strategic plan that guides the organisation and that external stakeholders can review. While most organisations do have some form of strategic plan, many of them end up on bookshelves and are rarely or never used or fully understood by the people that need them most – the organisation’s staff and constituents. Sometimes, strategic planning is done through a process including the whole of an organisation, in other cases, with senior management and governance bodies only. Too often, strategic planning is done as a ‘must-to requirement’ rather than a ‘want-to desire’ from the organisation.
However strategic planning can and should be an extremely useful and beneficial process for an organisation, and be able to produce a useful and useable document at the end. This module aims to provide some guidance on how to approach strategic planning as a highly participatory process that engages a range of key stakeholders, especially staff and community members. It focuses on keeping people at the centre of all work and appreciating strengths and opportunities. This approach is particularly important for non-government organisations whose common goal is to contribute to positive short and long-term changes in the lives of people with whom they are working.
WHO IS THIS MODULE FOR AND HOW CAN WE USE IT?
This module is a guide specifically for small to medium non-government organisations who wish to develop or review their strategic plans. It can be used by workshop facilitators to run a strategic planning process, facilitate a training-of-trainers workshop with organisation staff, or by organisational staff to facilitate their own strategic planning process.
The module can be used as a step-by-step process, or as separate components that can be adapted according to the situation, audience and timeframe. Each component includes:
• a brief explanation of the step
• information required and how it can be used and
• possible activities to generate the needed information
The methodology encourages active participation and contribution from those involved in the planning by using participatory activities to generate ideas. You are encouraged to refine the activities as needed so they are most appropriate for your context and purpose.
WHAT ARE THE LEARNING OUTCOMES FOR THIS MODULE?
Individuals and organisations that use this material will:
• have a clear understanding of the importance and use of strategic plans
• be confident in planning for and undertaking a strategic planning process
• clearly see the connection between the desired outcomes of their organisation and the strategies they are planning
• have the skills and tools to produce a useful and useable strategic plan and implementation plan
• be able to facilitate a strategic plan review whenever needed.
The information in the module draws on many different sources that Oxfam feels reflect best practice and align with their commitment to participatory, empowering processes for local organisations. Organisations are also encouraged to conduct their own research and learn more about strategic planning approaches that are appropriate for their situation.
HOW IS THE MODULE STRUCTURED?
The manual will take you through an entire process of strategic planning, from pre-planning the process, to writing the plan, to reviewing and monitoring its implementation. It is divided into five sections:
Section 1: Purpose and importance of strategic planning
Section 2: Approach to strategic planning
Section 3: Process for developing a new strategic plan
• Step 1: Initiate: “What do we need to do?”
• Step 2: Inquire: “Who are we and Where are we now?”
• Step 3: Imagine: “Where do we want to go?”
• Step 4: Innovate: “How do we get there?”
• Step 5: Implement: “How are we following our plan?”
• Step 6: Improve: “How can we be more effective?”
Section 4: Steps for reviewing an existing strategic plan
Section 5: Tools, templates and resources.
Each section includes a number of different possible activities that could reinforce learning on a specific topic. By working through all of the activities in this module you should be able to create a strategic plan for an organisation or program.