Taking the potential for stress out of planning isn’t easy. In fact, though it’s usually unnecessary, anxiety is a reasonable thing to expect.
Here’s an example of where an organization engaged various stakeholders in a series of collaborative events, collected feedback, insights, and suggestions and then turned them into a dynamic 3-year plan.
What are the 6 opportunities to dismiss anxiety and, instead, engage in collaborative goal setting?
Engage to identify the needs and aspirations of stakeholders, in particular, customers. Don’t forget the staff are stakeholders too.
Put time and resources aside to prepare for participation; collect insights and suggestions.
Set organizational goals in collaboration with the stakeholders.
Foster greater acceptance by staff of the need to take responsibility for developing and implementing plans that work in the rough and tumble of the real world.
Follow through on the learning and insights by sharing the plan widely.
Help stakeholders achieve value from the collaborative learning – you’ll need them as you implement the plan.
Avoid SWOT thinking that emphasizes analyzing the weaknesses and threats.
We have been indoctrinated to believe that you must know the cause before you can do something about the problem – Insoo Kim Berg
Listen empathetically to people’s complaints about the problems they perceive, acknowledge them and move on.
Many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices – William James
Build on the momentum of progress the organization is already making.
The purpose of each successive session is to assess change and to help to maintain it – de Shazer
Remember that when you are implementing the plan and unexpected complications arise, you’ll have the stakeholders on your side.
Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans – Allen Saunders
More on using Solution Focus in strategic planning: 4 Strategic Planning Co-creation Steps & Benefits
“So many of our most successful initiatives have come from the unlikeliest sources, but always in the context of robust planning. Alan’s process has focused on collaborative conversations, mixing together our diverse stakeholders whose different perspectives often combine to create wonderful and spontaneous new ideas. What we’ve learned is that having our partners, customers and staff directly involved in the genesis of plans only amplifies their ability (and motivation) to support the final goals.” – Brett Hendrie, ED, Hot Docs
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