At HigherEchelon, we believe in playing to win. Our strategic planning services help organizations achieve success by working with key leaders to align organizational behaviors with strategic goals. HigherEchelon helps optimize organizational performance by ensuring you are not only doing things right but doing the right things. Strategic Planning is a conceptual style of planning that simply looks at where the organization is now, where it wants to go, and captures how it will get there. It is not about problem solving – it is about problem framing, and not every plan is a strategic plan.

A Strategic Plan is a tool that provides guidance in fulfilling a mission with maximum efficiency and impact. If it is to be effective and useful, it should articulate specific goals and describe the action steps and resources needed to accomplish them. As a rule, most strategic plans should be reviewed and revamped every three to five years.

An Operating Plan is a coordinated set of tasks for carrying out the critical goals delineated in a strategic plan. Accordingly, it goes into greater detail than the strategic plan from which it is derived, spelling out time frames and the roles of individual staff and board members, for example. It also has a shorter horizon than a strategic plan — usually one fiscal year.

At HigherEchelon, we believe the two go hand in hand and that strategic plans, in themselves, are not useful and often fail unless there is an Operating Plan to drive results short and mid-term. HigherEchelon’s practitioners incorporate both in a four-phased approach so clients have a long-term plan along with short term actionable projects that will drive results.

  • Phase One: Defining your vision. The vision should not only paint the picture of where you want your organization to go, but it should also give reference to a milestone or objective that can be measured against so the organization will know when they have arrived.
  • Phase Two: Defining where are we now. Here, we assess where we are as it relates to the vision we have just developed. There are several tools that can be used during this phase, one of the most common is a S.W.O.T. analysis: understanding the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that you face organizationally. The techniques for implementing S.W.O.T will vary organization to organization. In smaller organizations, S.W.O.T can be done for the entire organization and, for larger organizations, can be performed by individual departments before bringing the collective group together.
  • Phase Three: Identifying the critical goals. In phase three we will examine the S.W.O.T. analysis and begin to identify problems to solve and opportunities to exploit. These obstacles and opportunities are the foundation for the critical goals that lead to realizing the organization’s vision.
  • Phase Four: Building and implementation. HE practitioners will guide your organization through a planning workshop. During the planning workshop we will help you build complete project plans that are aligned to specific critical goals. The result will be a comprehensive operational and strategic plan that aligns all programs and projects to ensure your organization fulfills its goals.

Contact HigherEchelon to establish a strategic framework to meet your organizational objectives.