Once an organization has defined its Mission, Vision and Values, gathering external environment is a critical next step. There are a variety of ways to do this.
Research and our experience have shown us that a powerful way of doing this is by conducting a comprehensive situational analysis.
During the situational analysis we examine:
- Customers (Internal and External)
- Other peer organizations that implement best practices
- The organization’s own realities
- The broader environment
If appropriate, we also assist organizations in scenario planning, a method of systems thinking that asks participants to identify the most likely scenario, best case, worst case and also a wild card scenario that might be unexpected. Each scenario is played out, analyzed and the lessons learned help to sharpen the anticipation of future events to enhance planning.
Key assumptions are outlined based on the examination of the external environment as accomplished through the situational analysis and scenario planning. These assumptions are consolidated so that the foundation of the plan is clear.
Next, we summarize the data into a single list of the most important findings and trends and assumptions. Once you’ve listed the major opportunities and threats stemming from this data, it’s now time to identify your strategic choices. The first step is to come to agreement on your target customers and the services you’ll offer. An often-ignored next step is defining the winning proposition, which answers the question, “How are you going to distinguish your organization and achieve what you set out to achieve?”
With the winning proposition in place, the next step is to ask, “What are the 3-5 major things or key success priorities that you’ll focus your resources on in order to deliver your winning proposition?” The plan is built around this analysis to give you laser focus on future and next steps.