2021 Strategic Planning Timeline

Strategic Planning

In a perfect world, you would have already shifted your focus to 2021 planning in June. Then 2020 happened and everybody’s plans went out the window. Things are far from perfect and much is still changing month-to-month. So, in the spirit of optimism and progress, let’s walk through the ideal timeline and checklist. Then we’ll look at how to modify them as needed.

June 31: Halftime Report.

Dedicate some worthwhile time (2-4 hours) to carefully and honestly assess how things are going.

  • Review all performance tracking analytics (website, social, blog, direct response, conversion data, KPI’s, ROI, etc.).
  • Are the right people “on the bus” and in the right seats?
  • Are our processes and systems truly supporting our needs?
  • Assess progress on the existing strategic plan and projections variance.
  • What isn’t working, what needs to be adjusted, and who owns those fixes?
  • What is the competition is doing?
  • Do we have internal resources we can tap to help improve our storytelling?
  • Have our members/donors/clients/etc. needs changed?
August 31: Needs Assessment.

Ask for feedback including suggestion and requests to be considered for the upcoming plan and budget.

  • Production expense
  • Subscriptions
  • Equipment
  • Software
  • Supplies
  • Role adjustment
  • Process or system change
  • Marketing initiative
  • Resource or training
  • 1-on-1’s
    • Suggestions/requests
    • Role enhancement
    • Staffing changes/compensation adjustments
September 31: Strategic Planning Session.

Meeting with leadership and Board to:

  • Clarify goals
  • Confirm budgetary parameters
  • Identify necessary support needed
October 31: Initial Draft of Plan.

Ready to review with

November 30: Updated Draft of Plan.

Feedback and discussion with the leadership during Strategic Planning session incorporated into the plan. If possible, It sure is nice to have the heavy lifting done before you head out to enjoy the holiday.

December 31: Leadership approved.

Depending on scheduling, you may not get formal Board approval until mid- to late-January (which has always been odd in my opinion). Regardless, you can still aim to get buy off by your supervisor, leadership or executive team.

January: Board approval. Woohoo! You made it!

If some of these benchmarks have already passed, don’t fret. There is plenty of time to catch up. Chances are some steps can be scaled back and others may not apply at all; each group’s timeline is different. For example, if you typically don’t have significant adjustments to make after the first pass with leadership, your timeline may be shorter.

You may think that If you have recently completed some of the tasks, you can skip them. If it’s been more than two months since you’ve evaluated them, I’d caution you to re-evaluate those tasks (with the exception of tracking mechanisms and systems that will stay in place regardless). Without careful re-evaluation, you may fail to stay relevant, authentic, and attractive to your audience.

The strategic planning process can be time consuming and tedious, but one thing is for sure,

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin

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