It is important that one person does not shoulder all the responsibility for implementing the strategic plan. Not only would the burden be too heavy, having more people involved in implementation increases buy-in and support for the plan.
You may find that many of the steps fall naturally under someone else's responsibility already, and you simply need to communicate or clarify what is needed. Don't overlook members of the board and other volunteers who may be able to assume some responsibility. It might be useful to look up employee job descriptions to see who might logically take on particular tasks. Assigning responsibility might be a good collaborative activity. With other stakeholders, simply read out the actions, step by step, asking “Who will look after this one?” Others may be more willing to share the responsibility when they see how much seems to fall to one or two staff members. Consider the interests and skills set of staff and volunteers. Are there any natural fits that come to mind?
Determining appropriate timelines
At the beginning of the planning process, you identified an approximate timeframe the strategic plan would cover. Now is the time you can firm that up and decide which action items will take precedence. If it's a three-year plan, look at the strategic action items and identify what the agency will focus on in year one, year two and year three. At a later time you can go back and assign more specific target dates within each year for carrying out individual steps.
Drafting Your Final Strategic Plan
We have arrived at the final documentation task which, when completed, will provide your agency with a comprehensive strategic plan that can take the agency step by step to continued improvements of performance and new successful ventures.
A strategic plan pulls together all previous steps along with implementation decisions for a complete package of what actions you are taking and why, who is going to do them and when. Your strategic plan should be a document that provides details on the following:
- Strategic action items you will concentrate on over the next few years
- Steps you will take to achieve your goals
- Who is responsible for carrying out tasks
- Timelines for carrying out tasks
- A means of keeping track of actions taken
Creating your strategic plan
- Set up a chart with five columns. We've included an example below. Cut and paste the appropriate action items you decided to pursue in the decision- making phase into the first column. If you wish, add the stated goal in the same box.
- In the second column, identify the concrete steps you will take to address each action item and goal.
- Decide who will take responsibility for the various steps and enter their names in column three.
- Decide when each step can best be addressed and write the specific dates in the “when” column (column four).
- Keep column five (“monitoring”) blank for now but fill it out as your implement your plan. There is more about that in the next section!