Communication is one of the most important, yet often overlooked, aspect of your strategic planning process. Once the plan is approved and presented to everyone, don’t stop communication. It is essential to continuously communicate the fundamental elements and any ongoing modifications to the plan. Looking for a few ways to help? Here are a few tips to prime the pump.
- Always maintain an accurate and up-to-date document. Have you made any changes to your current strategic goals? Be sure the copy everyone has access to is up-to-date. If you have outdated information, even minor discrepancies, your plan can lose credibility. Your stakeholders will view the plan as less important, or secondary to their tasks, which is the exact opposite of how we want our staff and volunteers to view our strategy.
- Make the plan easy to access. If you have an intranet or other secure internal server, you should keep an updated electronic copy easy for everyone to access. Anytime an update is made to the plan, be sure to update the online copy and send everyone an email or SMS so they are aware the plan has changed.
- Create a presentation slide-deck to highlight the primary elements of the plan and post it along with the strategic plan. Think of the presentation as an elevator speech of your strategic plan. The presentation should include the basic elements of the plan (vision, mission, and values) and what these mean to the agency. An overview of the strategic goals, why they are important, and how they will move the agency closer to the vision. You can use this presentation for new employee or board member orientation, as well as presentations to funders or other key stakeholders.
- Post your vision, mission, and values in various places around your agency. These fundamental elements should be visible in both front-office and back-office areas. When they are visibly posted they help to illustrate the agencies commitment to its consumers, and help to improve your staff’s understanding and personal commitment to your plan.
- Your strategic plan is the roadmap to your future, and everyone should understand the basic premise of the plan and how they (in their specific role) can impact the success of the plan. Consider a certificate of completion, or other merit award, for members of your staff who can demonstrate their understanding of the plan, and can articulate their role in fulfilling the agency’s mission.
- Include your vision, mission, or values on your business cards. If you have room, and your budget allows for two-sided business cards, adding one of these items helps to confirm your commitment to your consumers, and increases staff awareness.
- Monthly staff meetings should include an element of your strategic plan. Here’s a different twist. Have one member of your staff present a goal, the vision, a value, or other single element of your plan – and have them explain to everyone what it means to them personally and in their role at the agency. Just a couple minutes is all it takes. It improves staff commitment to the plan, and gives everyone a chance to work on their presentation skills. Be sure to announce next month’s presenting employee so they have time to prepare their presentation.
- Reward your staff for improving their processes. Strategic plans often require us to do more with our existing resources (i.e. systems and processes). Continuous Process Improvement is sometimes viewed as a daunting task. It doesn’t need to be scary, complex, or difficult. A few simple tools can help your staff improve their efficiency and enable them to take on the tasks associated with your new strategic goals. You can search on our prior blog entries for some simple and very-useful process improvement tips.
You might ask, how does this tip improve communication? When you present the award (gift card, certificate, etc.) to the recipient, be sure to explain that “improving our processes and systems will allow us to more easily achieve our vision”, thus connecting the task of improvement to the success of your plan.
Good communication goes a long way to help you achieve your vision. Most of these tips are very affordable and will help to keep everyone (you included) immersed in your plan.
As always, please feel free to contact Ron anytime if you have any questions about our strategic planning approach.
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