In another post, we shared the importance of defining the WHY and WHAT for your organization in order to define success on your terms based on what’s most meaningful to your community. The next phase of the Strategic Planning process is determining the HOW and the WHO: HOW the organization will accomplish what it has set out to do, and WHO is responsible for owning each initiative and performance metric along the way. These phases are crucial in creating actionable, results-oriented strategic plans that will guide organizations to success and allow you to demonstrate the value that you bring far beyond ridership.
Read on for how an agency in the Pacific Northwest has used the strategic planning process to involve and engage its employees.
In the previous phases, this organization used the WHY and WHAT to align their organization around an inspiring vision for the future. However, without the HOW and the WHO, these are just words on paper.
The next step was for the team to identify initiatives or tactics that will be implemented over the life of the strategic plan. These are the work activities that will help the organization achieve their definition of success. In the HOW phase, the organization works collaboratively to develop quarterly milestones and workplans so that tactics are achievable and the agency has a clear roadmap for years to come. This organization seized upon the opportunity to involve a broader swath of their organization in identifying, realigning, and prioritizing tactics for the upcoming year. This is helping to connect the dots for employees between work done at the department or unit level and outcomes at the organizational level. We know from decades of organizational literature that employees who find meaning and purpose in their work are typically the most engaged and dedicated to delivering great customer service, so this time spent upfront to involve them in the strategic planning process is well worth the effort.
Finally, in the WHO phase, the organization identifies owners for each performance metric, establishes clear definitions of what each metric is measuring, and identifies information systems that the organization will use to populate the metric each quarter. This step is critical to ensure that the things we’re committing to as an organization actually get done. This organization in the Pacific Northwest will track and report progress through a quarterly performance management process, which helps create a culture of ownership and continuous improvement.
Organizations like this, the ones that have taken the time to identify the real outcomes that matter, what they’re going to do to achieve them, and how they’re going to measure them, are going to be the ones best equipped to communicate their broader value to society over the long-term.