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By Market Intelligence Team

Strategic planning is the process of continually assessing your organization’s internal capabilities and external environment (customers, competitors and market) in order to determine how best to use your resources to meet your objectives. In the real world, many management teams formulate great strategic plans, craft sound strategies for allocating resources, but fail when it comes to implementation.

There is an old adage that environment drives strategy; strategy drives structure; and structure affects day-to-day processes. Given the current changes and turmoil in the behavioral health and social service environment, many organizations are facing the need to reengineer their operations and business processes. Here is a framework I presented at the 2009 OPEN MINDS Strategic Planning Institute in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, that you may find helpful for leading your organization through a successful implementation.

A good strategic plan is your integration roadmap—one that integrates services, information systems, budgeting, compensation, and organizational design with the marketplace. I recommend an eight-step business strategy development process:

  1. Establish the mission and organizational objectives

  2. Gather external information and conduct an external analysis 

  3. Gather internal information and conduct an internal analysis

  4. Identify your strategic options – select strategies, tactics, markets and services

  5. Develop your marketing/development plan

  6. Develop your operating/HR/IT plans

  7. Develop your budget/financing plan and pro forma

  8. Create an action plan and timetable and identify key performance indicators

Most organizations will need to move forward with implementation without “final” information. I recommend building three to five descriptions of likely future situations along with high-level implementation plans for each. Scenario planning keeps the focus on opportunities (instead of catastrophes) and allocates resources more prudently.

Areas to exercise caution include the exaggeration of internal abilities and control over the environment; refusal to adjust original plans when negative environmental developments arise; and ignoring competitor and market developments. And finally, don’t disband your strategic planning team until the detailed action plans are developed and tested.

To view my full presentation from the 2009 OPEN MINDS Strategic Planning Institute, OPEN MINDS Circle members may access “Strategic Planning: A Structured Approach to Deploying Resources to Achieve Your Organizational Objectives


Dee Brown,

Senior Associate, OPEN MINDS

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Interested OPEN MINDS Premium Circle members may also wish to access “The Futurists’ View of Health & Human Services: A Briefing and Executive Exercise in Strategic Scenario Planning,” a presentation by Monica E. Oss, Chief Executive Officer, OPEN MINDS, given at the OPEN MINDS Best Management Practices Institute. Here she shares the steps for a scenario-based planning process, and offers advice on how to avoid the common psychological traps in executive decision-making.

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