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Strategic planning is a business process that successful organizations go through, but not all strategic planning is equally effective. This can be the case even when companies are investing in their leaders and developing conscious leadership skills in their teams. Too often, strategic planning focuses narrowly on business functions, and ignores the people in the organization. That is because many organizations see culture as separate from strategy. They may value developing increased self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and empathy in their leaders but can sometimes miss how this could enhance their overall business planning. When completed in conjunction with conscious leadership development, strategic business planning has the potential to be even more effective. 

Leadership development and strategic planning go hand in hand to multiply their impact. We like to think of it as collaborative strategic planning!

What is collaborative strategic planning? 

Our approach to collaborative strategic planning involves incorporating the values and needs of a wide range of stakeholders in developing long-term goals and objectives. Stakeholders could include leadership teams, teammates, customers, and partners. We use this input to establish goals that matter to everyone. We also continue to involve this group of stakeholders throughout the planning process. Critically, we co-create our plans with an internal team responsible for the planning process, so they have ownership and understanding of it and can effectively implement it once the planning is complete.

Why does collaborative strategic planning matter?

In CollaborateStrategy by InSight, we include a broad range of people in this process because it creates better outcomes for more people, ultimately making the planning more effective. This can be seen in several ways:

  • More buy-in from stakeholders: When we are involved from the beginning and throughout a process, we are more committed and are more likely to understand and support final decisions.
  • Higher quality contributions: When we feel heard and valued, we are more likely to contribute our best ideas and efforts.
  • Better decisions: With a broad set of perspectives, we have access to a wider range of ideas and approaches and can therefore make better decisions.

The link between collaborative strategic planning and conscious leadership

So how does this link back to conscious leadership? Having conscious leaders is the critical setup for beginning this planning process. Part of strategic planning is to establish the organization’s core identity, using tools like guiding principles and mission & vision statements. Having conscious leaders who have already gained clarity on their personal values, vision, and purpose gives the organization a head start. 

They also develop a deeper understanding of their strengths and weaknesses, which helps remove bias from the overall planning process. Conscious leaders with developed self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and empathy are better equipped to deal with a wide set of stakeholders who have different demands and priorities. 

Having conscious leaders can result in more effective implementation of any plan because they can build trust and foster positive relationships with their team members – leading to better collaboration and outcomes. These leaders can help people understand their roles in the strategy at every level. Overall, the open and clear mindset that conscious leaders have makes the outcomes from the strategic planning process stronger, and the implementation more effective.

Here are a few thoughts from some of our clients on the process:

“A core part of the conscious leadership training was about emotional intelligence and listening and a large part of the collaborative strategic planning was listening to our employees and collecting data from them. They worked well together.    Steve Leazer, Director of Finance, Mountain Family Health Centers

“The part that was most different for me in the process was the SOAR process, the intentional giving voice to every single staff person and going into the clinics and listening to every voice to build up into the ultimate strategic plan.”                    – Ross Brooks, CEO, Mountain Family Health Centers

If your organization is undertaking conscious leadership work now, collaborative strategic planning could be your critical next step in leveling up your organization. Conversely, if you’re looking to undertake strategic planning in your business, have you considered doing conscious leadership work with your senior team first? If either of these scenarios sounds like you – get in touch, we’d love to work with you!

If you’d like to find out more about conscious leadership, you can read our blog Why Conscious Leadership Needs to Be One of Your Top Strategies.