Step Three: Make The Plan Readable And Usable
A fulsome strategic planning event takes time and effort. A lot goes into gathering all of the data points, information, and analysis, to fully discuss the opportunities, vision, and goals; and to put all if this together in one document.
But, then what happens to that document?
Strategic planning is only good if it becomes a usable tool. It is easy to end up with a hefty document that gets stored away until next time.
Part of the problem is the burden of reading the document. Any document that contains only text, without much formatting, latent with meaning, heavy in concept, creates a cognitive burden. A cognitive burden is when you have to work hard to understand something. The reason graphics are so popular in our feeds is because they take very little cognition to understand. Your strategic plan needs to go from an excel spreadsheet or word document, into an information-based graphic.
How is this accomplished?
- Identify the main areas of the plan
- In each area, highlight the main keywords or key goals
- Consider the action you will take regarding the keyword
- Place those keywords in a way that gives them context.
- Put pen (or marker, or mouse) to paper (or screen
Once you have a one-page document, go back to the strategic plan to check that all of the priorities and goals have been captured.
One year our plan became a tree with each branch representing different areas and sub areas. Another year the plan became a rainbow with concentric arches highlighting each area of growth. This year the plan is more geometric, there are six key blocks and two blocks in a sidebar.
The purpose of this format is to put the plan in a place that will be seen for frequently, reminding everyone of the key priorities and goals.
TIP: Canva is a great software service for creating graphics. There is a free version, an inexpensive pro version, and a nonprofit discount.