Strategic planning is a simple and spiritually powerful tool that can be used by those dedicated to realizing Srila Prabhupada’s mission and vision for ISKCON. By definition, strategic planning is the method by which an organization, spiritual or secular, defines how it will move into the future. Implied in the planning is the idea that the planners want the organization to have a future.
All ISKCON devotees should be able to answer these three questions: Who are we as a movement? What is our mission? Whom do we serve?
Those engaged in strategic planning, however, must answer a fourth question: How can we excel at fulfilling our mission? Put another way, how can we structure our Krishna conscious plans so we will have the greatest impact on the world?
For strategic planning in any organization to be successful, the organization’s leaders need to spend a significant amount of their current time in the future. That is, they must escape the demands of the day and devote time to working on a better future. In the business world, leaders spend as much as twenty percent (20%) of their annual time devoted to strategic planning.
But writing a strategic plan for your project is only the first step. Strategic plans need to be reviewed, updated, and adjusted according to time and place. Working on a plan and then simply going home is a waste of everyone’s time.
And a plan that isn’t executed is worthless. As project leaders, you must be willing to live the changes the strategic plan directs so that they can carry into your organization and take your project toward the future you have envisioned for it. You must also be prepared to encourage those working under you to do the same.
Steps in the Strategic Planning Formulation Process
There are a number of ways to come up with a viable strategic plan, but here is a nine step process we’ve found effective:
1.1.4. Environmental scanning
1.1.5. Organizational assessment
1.1.6. Analysis and resolution of key strategic issues
1.1.7. Define Goals
1.1.8. Expand Action Plan
1.1.9. Develop Strategic Scorecard
1.1.10. Budget and Resource Allocation
1.1.11. Finalise Strategic Plan
1.1.12. Communicate Strategic Plan
Each of these steps will be explained on the following pages, but first, a word about the language of strategic planning you may encounter on these pages.
Sometimes devotees are concerned about the language we use to discuss strategic planning concepts. While it’s true these words tend to come from the world of business, that doesn’t mean they don’t have meaning in the spiritual realm. So we ask you to bear with us whenever we use the specialized lexicon that goes with strategic planning work, even if it requires that you learn a few key terms.
Inevitably, any kind of specialized service devotees perform introduces new words into their vocabulary. Those devotees who work in publishing, for example, use industry jargon to discuss editing, printing, binding, file creation, color work, fonts, book blocks, trim sizes, and everything about paper. The publishing industry developed this lexicography in order to have precise definitions every publisher can understand. Similarly, devotees serving in education, with computers, finances, and quite a few other fields have had to adopt at least a handful of specialized words.
So we will not be shying away from using a few management terms common to strategic planning groups in both the business and religious worlds. To help you understand these terms we have defined them in this document.