Online Course - Module #10:
Strategic Planning In Community-Based LBS
This module was
developed during phase 2 of a research and development project of Community
Literacy of Ontario, funded by the Trillium Foundation.
During Phase 1,
CLO engaged in a comprehensive strategic planning process as part of
their commitment to continued improvement and in Phase 2, they are
bringing what they learned from the process to the field for
professional development on carrying out strategic planning on behalf of
and ideas from today are transferable for strategic planning in any
business or area of life, so even if you are not the one responsible for
big-picture, coordinated planning and services at your agency, I think
you will still find this workshop meaningful and useful.
concept of planning is a simple one.
It’s about looking at where you are now, where you want
to be in the future and deciding how you will move from here to there.
LBS do this all the time. After a while, it becomes intuitive. They are
constantly looking for ways to be more efficient and to get better
results; They often pause, think ahead and then make decisions to ensure
things go smoothly or to make sure pitfalls are avoided.
Strategic planning, however, formalizes the process, intensifies the
scrutiny somewhat and is more disciplined in following particular steps
and documenting findings.
It is a disciplined effort that results in fundamental decisions
about what the organization will do
It employs concepts, procedures and tools that help managers with
important decision-making for the future.
There are good
reasons why companies and organizations engage in Strategic Planning.
changing demands in our work. Expectations in what we are to achieve
seem to evolve and change continually. It means what we planned some
time ago may no longer fit for the outcomes we now have to meet.
There is greater
stress being placed on efficiency – getting more accomplished in the
time we have – getting better at streamlining our pursuits and focusing
There are changes
in our working arrangements. Partnerships are more prevalent and
expected. Collaborative work is being encouraged so there is less
overlap, less duplication of effort and service, and therefore less
waste of resources.
We now belong to
Employment Ontario – a new integrated employment training and services
We work more
closely with other sectors on projects that before we used to do
We have received
training that included encouragement to partner with local community
organizations and services to meet common objectives
We are expected
to do more with less – and this would be true in all businesses – not
just literacy. It means not only do we continue to lobby for more
funding we have to get more creative in how we attract funds and we have
to get smarter with how we use what we have in order to make ends meet.
These all are
good reasons for engaging in strategic planning for the future.
It is not the
time to start a strategic planning process when the roof has fallen in
and you’re in crisis. You cannot realistically look into the future and
plan long-term when next month is in jeopardy. When the program is in
crisis, you need immediate intervention, radical surgery and maybe some
space and time to heal.
planning is not the solution for conflict. Some people think if they
ignore a problem and concentrate on something else, the problem will go
away. Has anyone found that works as an effective strategy? It doesn’t
really work with agencies either.
Of course if you
don’t have the necessary resources – time, money, or energy to engage in
strategic planning then it’s not a good idea to start it.
It’s also not a
good idea if you know you have no intention of following through with
implementation – for whatever reason.
basically 5 elements of strategic planning:
Assessment – gathering
Evaluation – making a
judgment on what the evidence shows you
selecting the most important things to focus on
Implementation plan –
prioritizing the action items and setting timelines
or reassessment –
monitoring your implementation and checking on how well the plan is
Finally – while
not part of the strategic planning process itself, communication
of your SP to key stakeholders is very important.