Planning is vital at every level in the organisation, from the level of strategic management and board leadership to the work of a team. If done well, your planning will drive success throughout the organisation; if it is anchored on a clear vision or mission which drives objective setting, focuses research and analysis; if it feeds tactical planning and sharpens performance; if you measure progress – it will serve the organisation well. However, organisations often do not have the capacity to undertake this internal project, either because of skill gaps, key resource gaps, or because a higher priority needs to be given to other activity.

A major role which consultants often take in strategic and business planning is to synthesise the ideas and initiatives in the organisation which may not even be visible to the leadership team. Our consultation approach will aid in drawing out and positioning those contributions.

Thornton Mack can help you by providing expertise in a number of areas, for example; facilitating the build of a plan, working alongside an executive to support them in completing their tasks, advising on appropriate planning processes and providing tools and templates, and advising on how best to get your strategies and plans back on track. We believe that plans which are fully owned and adopted by the business, where leaders and managers at every delivery level are personally connected to and invested in the results, will have a far greater chance of being implemented.

Importantly, authors of your plans and those working with them who are accountable for action need to then deliver. When you equip your people to do the job of execution, by making goals and actions clear, measurable and meaningful to the business, and by providing them with the resources to feed the activity, you will be in a position to achieve. Further, by equipping your people with skills, tools and guidance, you will be in a position to reduce longer term reliance on temporary resources who might otherwise be employed to back-fill your team members who are on the planning task.

Reviewing the vision and resetting or refining the business mission are important activities which can drive strong feelings of ownership and intense debate among the leadership team. As experienced facilitators, we establish an environment in which all participants can readily make their contribution, and the outcomes are jointly held (a ‘no heroes’ approach). This collaborative method increases ownership of the framework within which goals will be set.

We have experience in guiding development of a wide range of plans, including strategic and business plans, transition plans for major changes in business functions such as when resourcing of a function is dramatically reduced, new business functions need to be initiated or third-parties are going to take on some of the work previously done in-house. In regard to developing your business capacity and workforce capability, we can develop communication and stakeholder engagement plans, restructuring and human resource change plans, training and learning and development plans.

Implementation, the key activity, can be supported by Thornton Mack through leadership coaching, organisational capability and/or performance improvement actions. We have deep experience in helping businesses to focus on the things that matter to success, put together plans that are structured and completed in a SMART and manageable way, and have meaning to those charged with delivery.

We can also work with your leadership team to measure how well the current strategy and plans are working, implementing both qualitative and quantitative approaches to come to a reasoned opinion and using the Balanced Scorecard framework to check whether all facets of business success are incorporated and reflected in your plans.

Case Study

Developing a training strategy and plan

A new, standardised approach for allocating and managing a performance based funding arrangement across a government owned health services network was planned to enhance process efficiency and drive quality outcomes. To achieve a successful transition, all impacted employees would need to understand the rationale for, and adopt, new business processes, procedures, system and reporting requirements.

Action

A training strategy and plan was developed to support the transition. Insight was gained through analysis of current plans and consultation with key stakeholders and business managers with responsibility for delivery of project outcomes. Audience groups were identified and roles and responsibilities defined. Based on an understanding of the changes and impact on employees, a variety of learning solutions and support materials were developed to provide a targeted response to meet individual learning needs. Practical methods of training and re-usable materials were designed in consideration of logistical constraints and staff availability.

End result

An overall framework for learning, incorporating a blended learning approach, was adopted by the client and the training schedule, which defined the audiences, facilitators, duration, location and dates for each learning solution was successfully implemented.

Implementing a new business support system

The new executive director of an asset management division needed a system to coordinate the work of four branches with complementary and yet potentially overlapping remits, following a realignment of the organisation. A common approach to planning, scheduling, resourcing and monitoring work to achieve focus and drive results was needed, and managers would be required to move from their current practice to a new, common way of operating.

Action

Following analysis of current plans, and the management and reporting needs of the new division, business requirements were signed off by the director. Thornton Mack’s Work Planning tool was then customised and presented to the management team along with a systematic approach to planning, reporting and performance management. Workshops and individual review and coaching sessions were conducted to fine-tune the deliverables and aid the managers in adjusting their work practices, and those of their staff.

End result

The new business support system was adopted by managers and used by the executive director to carry on coaching the managers and drive performance of the branches.

Facilitation of a planning day

The Strategic Services Executive had scheduled a planning day for the branch to further develop their customer centric model and determine how services and solutions would be developed over the coming year.

ACTION

Thornton Mack was called in at short notice to facilitate the day, to enable the whole team – including the lead Executive – to participate in activities. An agenda was built with the Executive and key personnel to provide the outcomes discussed.

END RESULT

On the day, all attendees enthusiastically participated in the activities and the branch took away valuable ideas, feedback and clear outcomes to form the basis of their plan.

Testimonial

"We received so many favourable comments, all along the lines of; ‘I enjoyed the facilitator, who had fresh eyes on the work that we do. Jacqui should come back again’, ‘Best and most enjoyable planning day I have attended’ and ‘Useful. Focused. Timely’. Given the successful outcomes achieved and the positive engagement between Jacqui and my team, I highly recommend her as a thought provoking and motivational facilitator."

Director - Strategic Services