Organizations, whether businesses or non-profits, are faced with fundamental decisions which can affect the future trajectory of the organization in profound ways. These decisions can be the result of a host of factors, such as rapid growth, changes in markets and technology, generational shifts, changes in management, or new competition. Often the issues underlying these decisions are obscure. They are the “elephants in the room” that every one senses , but no one wants to discuss. This is where the strategic planning by the Soul of Wealth can help.
Our strategic planning is big picture planning. When an organization has clarity regarding its mission, its values and its long term vision, it has taken the first step to making difficult decisions. The next step is making sure that the organization is aligned with its mission, values and vision. Wonderful marketing programs can only be successful if they reflect the internal reality of the organization.
Ultimately, we will be on the outside, what we are on the inside.
A THREE STEP APPROACH
Awareness is about understanding the internal strengths and weaknesses of your organization and the external opportunities and threats it faces. Obtaining awareness involves reviewing financial data, marketing materials, mission statements, existing plans and similar data. One of the most effective ways to obtain awareness is through a 360 Degree Review. This review involves interviewing or surveying your organization’s various stakeholders to determine how the organization is perceived. If the feedback is surprising, this may be evidence that your message is not clear and/or the organization’s behavior is not aligned with your message.
Clarity is about articulating exactly what your organization stands for and how you intend to go about fulfilling your mission. It involves taking an honest look at how you are perceived, what is working, and what is not. At this stage that we work together to craft a mission statement, a values statement, and a vision statement for the organization. True clarity requires simplicity. Despite the emphasis on “multitasking”, effective organizations focus on a small number of major goals at any one time. This requires making the tough choices that simplification requires.
Accordingly, we believe:
A mission statement should ideally be not more than three to six words.
A mission statement should be accompanied by three words that sum up the essence of your organization and can be used to help organize your business (for example, integrity, innovative, responsive).
A values statement should be limited to five short sentences.
A vision statement should focus on whatever time frame fits your organization and its situation.
A vision statement should be concrete, not theoretical. The vision should consist of attainable and quantifiable goals.
Alignment requires taking the vision and comparing it to the current reality. This involves the management team looking at each step necessary to realize the vision and determine whether the organization has the capacity to make that step. In this stage we look at the organizational structure, culture, and personnel. We start to build annual and quarterly goals for the management team to implement the plan.
We find that many organizations need a “Foundational Year” at the start of a plan. A Foundational Year is a year when management focuses on building the team, systems, and resources necessary to attack its plan. Jumping right into a new concept is exciting and tempting. Creating the foundation to make the concept soar may seem mundane but increases the odds of success exponentially.
Just as with the Clarity stage, the Alignment stage requires simplicity. A small number of clear and measurable goals that are achievable can keep an organization focused and moving forward. Complexity is a reality of today’s world, but if complexity results in a loss of clarity, chaos is the result. If an organization addresses its three most important challenges with laser focus during each year, the most complex of issues can be effectively addressed.
What does all this have to do with Soul?
When an organization operates from clarity and alignment, it operates from its “soul.” Just like an individual. After all, organizations are are only as good as their people. When an organization operates from a unified soul, it can accomplish anything.