Make Organization-Wide Planning Organic With This 5-Step Process

With the complexity of individual department plans, many strategy leaders find themselves amidst absolute chaos trying to manage planning sessions for both the overall organizational plan and facilitating the creation of aligned department plans.

In large organizations, a holistic plan can be a bear to build as it’s almost a logistical impossibility to gather the insights, input, and strategic thinking of every department or division. The result is a corporate plan that doesn’t really address the organization’s strategic issues and department plans that operate in silos and aren’t the least-bit cross-functional or aligned.

So, instead of trying to create a corporate plan and several department plans in a linear, top-to-bottom approach, try breaking down the planning process into smaller chunks and allow your department planning sessions to truly build your plan from the bottom-up. Here’s how:

  1. Set your organization’s high-level priorities. Should include mission, vision, values, and high-level objectives.
  2. Hold your first department’s planning session using your organization’s high-level objectives and focus as the jumping off point. Allow the department to create their own unique plan, but make sure it aligns to the organization-wide focus and priorities.
  3. Determine the sequence in which you conduct each department’s planning session. Some departments should go before others as their efforts will inform the planning processes of different teams.
  4. Repeat the process until all departments have created their plans.
  5. With your department plans complete, hold planning sessions to complete the remaining parts of your plan. Because you already have the high-level priorities (the “top” of your plan”) and your aligned department plans (the “bottom” of your plan), completing the rest of your plan should be much easier.

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We’ve found this method works wonders for organizations with multiple divisions (or departments). The reason why? It breaks down the planning process into much smaller, digestible chunks and allows departments to organically build the plan from the bottom-up.

You’re still building a plan based on best practices, you’re just rearranging your workflow to make the process simpler to manage. Plus, you’ll end up with a plan that reflects your whole organization’s best strategic thinking.

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