Strategic Planning often begins with hindsight looking to the past to discover what your organization, business or group historically set out to achieve in its noblest purpose. The foundation of who you are today rests on the journey you have taken so far. Take time to harvest stories that reveal the very best of who you are – therein lies your purpose, core mission and guiding values.
In this first phase of Strategic Planning, several sub-questions are addressed, two of which management guru Peter Drucker has flagged as the most important questions to ask your organization:
* What is our mission? (Drucker’s question #1 – What is our Mission?) At the most fundamental level, why does this organization, business or group exist at all? What is your ‘raison d’être’ describing your noble purpose and your idealistic motivations for doing what you do? As Jim Collins, noted author of Good to Great, comments – your core mission should endure for decades, even centuries, while almost everything else will likely evolve and change over time.
* Who do we serve? (Drucker’s question #2 is: Who is our Customer?) Unless there is clarity at all the levels of the organization around this question, then much confusion, unfocused and even conflicting effort may result. Whether you serve clients, members, customers, patients, or the public – ultimately these key stakeholders justify your existence. Great organizations are relentless in their pursuit of serving their customers over time.
* What do we do? What is our unique work, role or function? What products and services do we provide in carrying out our mission and serving our key stakeholders?
* What guides our work? The core values and guiding principles of your business, organization or group are what distinguish you from everyone else. Like the DNA in a living organism, core values create your unique identity guiding everyone from the Board level to the front line to decide, behave and respond according to a coherent, recognizable set of principles.
The Strategic Facilitator: Aligning Around Vision and Strategy.