By Scott Boehm, December 6, 2022
Every office is required to develop a strategic plan. Yet, when most people hear the words “strategic planning,” they tend to cringe. I felt the same way in 2005 when our staff conducted its first strategic planning process. I didn’t fully appreciate it at the time, but the process reaped rewards beyond any of our expectations. And it wasn’t difficult at all. If I had to do it over again, I would immediately hire someone to teach strategic planning to me and my staff.
A strategic plan is a metric-driven assessment of how your office executes its mission, with emphasis on how much more efficient and effective it could be in two to five years. And it is nothing to fear.
One misconception about strategic plans is that they must be lengthy. Quite the opposite. Our strategic plan was seven pages long. Another misconception is that they are a silly bureaucratic exercise. Not so. They are an important learning process for an office. Executing a strategic plan enhanced the knowledge of every staff member who engaged in the process. Everyone finally understood how our office contributed to the agency’s overall mission.
Here is how it works. There are five components to a strategic plan:
- Mission and vision statements
- Strategic goals
- Strategies to accomplish every goal
- A plan of actions and milestones (POA&M)
- Metrics to measure progress toward each strategic goal
Mission and vision statements are key to successful strategic planning, but before those can be drafted, an organization MUST conduct a mandate analysis. Why? To ensure you understand all the missions assigned to your office by statute or directive.
The second time we performed strategic planning, we discovered our Office of Inspector General (OIG) Audit section was responsible for financial statement audits. But they had only conducted performance audits for the prior decade. Ouch! Mandates are important. Think about it for a second. A decade went by and nobody looked at the books. The mandate was there. The previous OIGs failed to catch it.
Once you understand the mandates, mission and vision statements come easily. Also, strategic goals and the strategies to get there will become self-evident. And the transition from planning to execution begins with the nuts and bolts of the strategic plan: the important POA&M and performance measures (metrics). The POA&M assigns an office (or person) of primary responsibility; deliverables (these could be documents, tools, policies, etc.); milestones and estimated completion dates for each deliverable; and the all-important performance measures.
Most organizations work on the first three strategic planning components and pay little attention to who is responsible for deliverables and their milestones (POA&M). They also have a problem defining success because they don’t have well-defined and agreed-upon metrics.
Here at FELTG, we want to help you in your strategic planning processes to ensure it is a meaningful exercise and not just a bureaucratic drill.
Our strategic planning process will:
- Identify your immediate mandates and requirements
- Enable you to hire a workforce with diverse skill sets
- Train, develop, and reward that workforce to decrease staff attrition while also decreasing cycle time for your office’s products.
Your return-on-investment for our training will be significant. Let us know if we can help! Info@FELTG.com
[Editor’s note: Bring Scott Boehm to your agency to teach your staff on strategic planning, annual planning, and much more. Contact Training Director Dan Gephart at Gephart@FELTG.com for more info.]