The final step in any planning process is to monitor and evaluate your progress and to review and refine the plan for future use. In Stage 3, you identified team leads and designed processes to allow team members to track and share progress on the implementation of your strategic plan. To keep your strategic plan useful, your Core Leadership Team must review progress on a regular basis (typically, monthly or quarterly, depending on the level of activity and the specified time frame). Continue to examine the validity of the strategic objectives and any influence of unanticipated events. Stay committed to the plan, the objectives, and the due dates.
In reviewing and monitoring progress, your Core Leadership Team should keep in mind the questions below.
While the specific objectives and strategies are being regularly reviewed (monthly or quarterly) by your Core Leadership Team to ensure your progress towards specific goals, your entire plan should be reviewed and updated regularly as well. Depending on the timeframes included in your plan, you might choose to schedule annual or biennial reviews or even every three years.
In that review, your Core Leadership Team should consider the following questions:
- Do we need to update our vision or mission?
- Do the guiding principles still hold true?
- Do the goals continue to support the principles?
- What objectives should be added to continue to advance the progress of your system of care?
Following the Prepare, Plan, Implement, Monitor/Review cycle, the updated strategic plan should be presented to your community collaborators for input and feedback and finalized, and then communicated, implemented and reviewed and monitored.
Deviating from the Plan
It can be okay to deviate from your strategic plan. Your plan is a shared community commitment to changing processes and systems in ways that will benefit children and families. The plan is a guideline, not a set of rules.
The most important aspect of deviating from your strategic plan is knowing why you need to change the plan. Changes in the plan usually result from changes in the external environments of the participating organizations or the community. These changes in the external environments could include changes in legislation, availability of resources, client needs, community prioritization, etc. If at one of your regular (quarterly or annual) reviews of your strategic plan, your Core Leadership Team determines that there is a need to change the strategic plan, make sure you update the plan to indicate the cause of the changes, the reasons why the changes should be made, and the specific changes to be made, including goals, objectives, strategies, responsibilities, and timelines.