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MAD Approach to Strategic Planning

What it is

In strategic planning organizations take stock of their current situation, clarify understanding of their purpose, create a collective vision for their future, and identify clear paths for getting there.

Our approach

We help clients consider relevant forces affecting their work, look at data, listen to customers and stakeholders, and think creatively about their desired future state in order to create plans that are:

  • Visionaryhelping create positive images of their desired future state.
  • Reality-basedassisting to scan the environment and focus on organizations’ greatest opportunities for improvement.
  • Practicalfitting clients’ circumstances and producing solid, constructive results.
  • Participatoryincluding voices of the people likely to be involved in carrying out the plan or to be affected by the plan.

We support clients’ entire process, including:

  • Planning team designfrom cross-representational staff groups to core leadership teams.
  • Engaging the larger systemhelping bring in outside perspectives, and offering meaningful ways for people outside of the planning team to have input.
  • Implementation planningto translate big-picture vision and strategies into day-to-day operations.
  • Communication planningensuring staff and stakeholders are informed about the work and sharing the strategic plan with a variety of audiences.
  • Incorporating specific requirementsensuring that the resulting plan is designed to fit any specific requirements, such as federal planning templates and processes.

Strategic planning components

The activities below are typically included in MAD’s strategic planning engagements. We work with clients to customize these activities to their interests and circumstances.

Pre-event work

  • Work with leadership to create a shared understanding of the purpose and expected outcomes, and of the role of leadership in the process.
  • Help leadership communicate the goals of strategic planning and what participants and others can expect.
  • Work with the client to determine who should be on the planning team.

Situation assessment

MAD consultants work with clients to develop a situation assessment that describes forces and trends, current strengths and opportunities for change, and other topics. Activities often include:

  • Interviews and focus groups of staff and stakeholders
  • Surveys
  • Review of relevant data, such as reports and employee engagement survey results
  • Best practice research, such as interviews with counterpart programs in other states

MAD consultants often work independently to develop a summary report for the strategic planning team. In some cases, client staff work in coordination with MAD consultants to gather data, which offers them firsthand understanding of the issues discussed and may promote a sense of ownership and investment in the strategic planning process among the involved staff.

Strategic planning events

  • Review of situation assessment: The strategic planning team reviews and discusses information included in the situation assessment report. In addition, this may include documentation of organization history, trends analysis, and appreciative inquiry into organization success factors.
  • Mission statement: Creation or review of the organization’s mission statement, with attention to clarity of purpose, customers, and values.
  • Vision: In a given time frame (often three to five years), what will be accomplished? Vision elements emerge from brainstorming and shared discovery of themes, and may include a mix of external and internal desired outcomes.
  • Strategies: In a given time frame (often one to two years), what needs to be done to achieve the vision? Referring to the vision described above, the team drafts a variety of approaches for reaching its vision. Brainstormed strategies are organized to describe the group’s consensus on its future directions.
  • Action plans: What specific steps need to be done to initiate the strategies? The planning team develops initial implementation plansactivities with visible timelines and assignments that can be done in the next three to six months to kick-start the work.

Post-event work

  • A strategic planning document, including final products of the work sessions listed above, is presented to leadership.
  • MAD may assist the client with continued implementation planning, such as presenting the plan to staff and stakeholders, developing performance measures, monitoring and updating the plan, and continued action planning.
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