“The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.” (Michael Porter, Harvard Business School)

Choosing what “not to do” is arguably more difficult than choosing what to do, and during these uncertain times when budgets are tighter, making those hard choices may be even more difficult. Now, more than ever, strategic planning can help your community or organization identify and chart a clear course as you work to build back better.

Whether you are a local government, First Nations government, non-profit organization or business, annual strategic planning has a multitude of benefits, including:

  • Giving leadership a chance to get together and take the time to have the crucial conversations
  • Developing or clarifying a shared vision and mission and identifying the steps to get there
  • Understanding where your organization has had the greatest impact, and where you’ve fallen short
  • Identifying external factors or trends that could impact your organization in positive as well as negative ways
  • Understanding your value proposition and the best ways to serve your customers, clients or members
  • Identifying what to do and what not to do!

WCS Engagement + Planning has supported a number of organizations with strategic planning over the past few months:

District of Tofino Council – We again had the pleasure of working with the District on their strategic plan – the third strategic planning process we have designed and led for their Council and senior staff since 2015. This process included a focus on ‘building back better’ and how to grapple with the interplay between a robust tourism economy and the wellbeing of the community during a pandemic.

Tofino Housing Corporation (THC) – This was the first formal strategic planning process undertaken by THC, so we facilitated a discussion to develop a shared vision and mission, four focus areas, goals, strategic priorities and key actions. The first planning session was held in person using a blend of traditional activities using sticky notes, and virtual tactics using online whiteboards and collaborative planning tools, and the second session was held completely virtually. These sessions helped the board hone in on the key priorities for the organization over the next three years, and begin to set the stage for the longer term.

WCS Engagement + Planning also delivered a webinar for non-profit organizations in the Sea to Sky Corridor on “Organizational Assessment in the Times of COVID,” which provided systems and tools for assessing current/past programs, impacts due to COVID, and a refocus and understanding of customers and the value provided, in order to ensure the priority strategies moving forward during a potentially revenue-restricted time would be the most effective and impactful ones.

Now is the time to start thinking about developing or updating your strategic plan for next year and beyond. If you’d like to talk to us about how we can support your planning process, please contact Cheeying (cho[at]whistlercentre.ca) or Shannon (sgordon[at]whistlercentre.ca).

Image credit: The Queen’s Gambit