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Strategic planning with your people

Great ideas can and will come from anywhere in your organisation

Involving your people in strategic planning is a great way of improving employee engagement. It helps your people understand why they are doing what they are doing and boost their commitment to the same goals.

Good communication alone may not be enough. Involve your team to ensure they own the organisation’s written plan and are motivated to carry it out.

Step 1. Help them understand where the organisation is now

When everyone understands the current situation, it helps each person focus on the direction the organisation needs to take.

Ask your people to consider how effectively the organisation works to achieve the same goals. Next, ask them to describe the situation they would like to be in. You could use an analogy or story to provide a creative framework for this discussion.

Step 2. Help your people consider things from the customer’s perspective

Ask your team to consider what customers might say or think about the business. Then gather their feedback on what actions they would take to improve or build on those assumed customer responses.

Step 3. Produce a vision shared by all

In small groups ask your team to write down the words they want customers to use about your organisation. Next, get them to devise a picture or graphic to sum up the vision. Finally ask them to focus on a slogan for the organisation. Vote on which words best sum up your long-term aims, and which slogan and visuals are most effective. Gather these and use them as the basis of your vision.

Step 4. Understanding ‘what it means for me’

Once you have finalised your vision, ask your people to consider what it means to them in their roles, any barriers they can see to achieving it and how they think those barriers can be overcome. This could become the basis for setting objectives.

Use these four exercises alongside our guide to developing a creative vision.

Involve your people in developing objectives

Make sure you involve your people when you develop your SMART objectives. Ask them to generate ideas, prioritise the objectives and test the objectives are SMART.

Ask your team to consider what actions they need to take to ensure the organisation achieves its objectives. Get your team to help identify what needs to be done, who will do it, and by when.

If you’re a large organisation you may need a layer of objectives that sit below the organisational objectives (objectives for teams, departments and individuals). You may want to involve the relevant teams in developing objectives for their own departments.

Involve your people in developing your written plan

Involve your people in your SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) and PESTLE (political, economic, social, technological, legal and environmental) reviews before you develop your plan.

Your team will have important insights from a wide range of perspectives and it will help them understand both the challenges and opportunities you face.

Take this further

Check out our guide to reviewing your organisation as part of developing your written plan.