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SHRM Strategic Planning Toolkit

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SHRM is pleased to provide the resources below to guide your chapter or state council in the strategic planning process.  Designed specifically for SHRM volunteer leaders, this toolkit contains everything you need to successfully guide your group through the strategic planning process, including planning forms, an archived webinar, PowerPoint presentations.

A few words about strategic planning . . .

Special Challenges in Strategic Planning

Strategic planning and carrying out a strategic plan are difficult enough in a stable organization with consistent leadership over time.  Frequent changes in leadership in volunteer-driven associations, such as SHRM chapters and state councils, exponentially increase that difficulty.  Making strategic planning yet more difficult is that for many initiatives, a chapter’s or council’s ability to carry out initiatives that support the plan will be dependent on the individual performance of its board members.  It’s essential to figure out how chapters ‘fit into’ the council’s strategic plan if the plan is to achieve long-term success.  Yet another challenge will be to ensure that the operational planning and other activities support the strategic plan over time.  Affiliates will need to take special care not to fall into the trap of doing ‘operational planning’ and thinking they are doing ‘strategic planning.’  The two are very different.

Before Starting to Plan 

Identify candidates for strategic planning task force, which should include:

Current leaders with knowledge of current issues
Past leaders with knowledge of past issues that may not have been resolved
Future leaders to ensure future commitment to plan
Outside strategic planning expertise in the event that such expertise does not exist within identified task force (if a consultant is determined to be necessary, assign a member or small committee to prepare an RFP)

Designing the Strategic Plan and Preparation for Planning 

Review or develop your mission, values and current operating plan, and make adjustments if necessary before beginning the strategic planning process.  Ensure that the mission, values and operating plan are continuously reviewed during the design process, as this commitment will provide focus and a roadmap for strategic planning.

SWOT will work as well as any other approach as long as limitations of this approach are considered and the plan is extended to include critical elements that must be built into the planning design.  These elements include:

  • Goal setting to leverage strengths and assets, to adapt to weaknesses, and to establish priorities based on the mission and values.
  • Establishing objectives to support goals and timelines to accomplish these objectives.
  • Establishing individual accountabilities to ensure that objectives are accomplished by established timelines.  Accountabilities will need to be codified by volunteer role so that the plan can be sustained over time.
  • Assigning a strategic planning "sheriff" with responsibility for keeping on track over time.  In larger boards, this role can be filled by the CMP.  In small to mid-size chapters, this role can be filled potentially by a past president or president-elect.
  • Absolutely key is that the plan be sustainable over time (3-5 years).  If the board is unable or unwilling to commit to this time frame or if resources of time/financials are not available, it's best to go down the strategic planning road. 


Follow-up and Ongoing Administration/Review

Establish time intervals for reporting progress on the strategic plan -- e.g., six months, annually, bi-annually.  Keep in mind that the shorter the intervals, the greater the commitment to the plan tends to be.  The annual planning meeting provides an ideal venue for this review.

Be sure that time is assessed for strategic planning at each board meeting.  This doesn't mean that the time allotted needs to dominate the meeting, but it will mean that the plan will stay "on the plates" of those with primary responsibility for accomplishing objectives by established timelines.

Establish a procedure for adjusting the plan in the future based on changing issues/challenges/roles of thecouncil or chapter and on changing external conditions (economy, etc.).

The proper approach to strategic planning is to enter into this arrangement to assure the long-term success and viability of the council or chapter, to demonstrate high commitment to the process, and to grow the influence in your various communities.


Resources in this toolkit: 

Worksheet to develop a vision statement - click here

Worksheet to analyze the highs/lows, environmental scan, and SWOT, along with an action planning sheet and implementation schedule - click here

How to Budget for Your Strategic Plan (Questions to Ask Yourself) - click here

SWOT Analysis Worksheet for Strategic Planning - click here

Strategic Planning and Budgeting Webinar (PowerPoint only or Webinar with Sound) (October, 2010)

Toolkit with guide, workbook and PowerPoint presentation.

Developed exclusively for SHRM by consultant Stephen D. Rice, SPHR (President of Performax, Inc. in Monmouth Beach, NJ, and a long-time SHRM member and volunteer), all materials contained in his Strategic Planning Toolkit are copyrighted and for use by SHRM volunteer leaders only.

   ·         Administrator's Guide (goes with PowerPoint):

Click here for Word document version

   ·         Participant Workbook (goes with PowerPoint):

Click here for Word document version

  • PowerPoint Presentation - Click here for the PowerPoint presentation


If you have any questions regarding this toolkit or need assistance with your plan, please contact your Regional Team.

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