Learn how to create a set of strategic filters that are specific to your organization's objectives. This allows you to create a rigorous and tailored vetting of ideas throughout your strategic planning process.
- When you go to create your strategic filters, it's an exercise very similar to the exercise you'll do to create your vision and your mission. You're going to look to get the right people in the room, the manager of the organization, their direct staff, people from functions that support the team, and look for people from multiple levels of the organization to be involved. Take a look back to the organization's core competencies that you defined. Look at your vision, your mission, your goals and your guiding principles because those are all going to be filters that help keep you going in the right direction. When you generate your filters look for qualitative and quantitative filters. You'll want things that say this is what we are as an organization, and some of those quantitative filters to say these are the metrics that are important to us. And then you're going to get everybody in the room and conduct the same whiteboard exercise where people throw out ideas as far as what they think the evaluation criteria should be for judging the initiatives you're going to pursue. Have people throw out their ideas like a classic brainstorming session, and then when there's that lull in the conversation go ahead and send them out of the room on a break and look for common themes. Once you've got those common themes, whittle it down to a manageable list. You're going to end up with anywhere from six to 12 filters. Any more than 12 filters, you have too many criteria. And then ask yourself, which of these filters are going to be hard filters versus soft filters? A hard filter is if the initiative passes that filter, it stays in the process. If it fails, it's immediately dead and you don't even run it through other filters past that point. A soft filter is something where you're evaluating it from a low to a high scale. And you're determining if it's high on that filter, it's highly attractive, and if it's low, it's just going to move it down on the priority list. Allow me to offer an example. I recently worked with a youth organization that was focus on sports. And this was a nonprofit organization where they were trying to articulate what their strategic plan should be. When we into the filtering exercise, people threw out all sorts of ideas in terms of how they should judge their initiatives. Things were is it fun, things like, will it help build sportsmanship, will it drive fitness, will it prepare people to be Olympic athletes, is it going to be financially attractive for the organization, does it help us bring in people from new geographies? And they threw out all these ideas, we looked for the points of commonality and we threw out things that only showed up once like, hey let's build some Olympic athletes, there was only one mention of that. However, things like fun or sportsmanship were really prevalent, and those became filters for evaluating the initiatives the organization was going to pursue later on. So once you've gone through the exercise, whittle it down to those six to 10 themes, and start with them as your initial set of strategic filters for evaluating your list of initiatives.
- Define the principles of strategic planning.
- Identify forces used to assess the market.
- Explain how to conduct a SWOT analysis.
- Articulate how to establish guiding principles and set goals.
- Explain what strategic filters are used for.
- Describe the steps of a strategic planning process.