3 Writing the strategy
It is important to involve everyone in your strategic planning process as the more engaged your workforce is, and the more they feel their voices are represented, the more likely they are to support the actions required for success. Plus – a strategy document can be challenging to write on your own! This involvement might include organisation-wide events, smaller team meetings, or one-to-one discussions.
A good strategy document will usually include:
- the vision statement
- an overview of where the organisation is now
- an exploration of what the future holds and why the organisation needs to adapt and change (these sections can be informed by any analysis you’ve done)
- a clear statement of your strategic aims and objectives
- an action plan to detail how you will achieve the goals outlined and who will be responsible for them, at an individual and a leadership level.
Once you have articulated your vision and strategy for diversity and inclusion, the next step is to work out the actions you need to take to move from where your organisation is now, to where you want it to be.
In their book, Inclusive Leadership, Sweeney and Bothwick (2016) include a useful action plan template with the following headings:
|Focus area||Actions||Owner||Timescales||Impact measures|
It is important to name an individual who will own each action and monitor progress, to set a deadline for completion, and to plan how you will measure the impact of that action so you can report back on its success, both to senior leaders and to the overall workforce. Sharing progress with employees is an important aspect of maintaining momentum.
Through the timescales you will also be able to demonstrate progress over time.
Another useful template is this example from the Arts Council: Action plan template. When you click on the link it will give you the opportunity to download and save the document, which then allows you to type directly into each box.
Activity 7 Identifying an action
While the strategy writing and action planning process is best done in collaboration with colleagues, following organisational consultation, you might find it useful to quickly practice action planning.
Using the template suggested by Sweeney and Bothwick, choose a relevant action, e.g. a particular diversity and inclusion training need, or an important policy review, and work through the sections.
This can sometimes be a harder task than you might initially think!
Choosing the right owner, and making sure they are aware of their responsibility is important. For example, assigning the action to a senior colleague can emphasize the importance of this part of the plan, but ensuring that staff at all levels have their own responsibilities is a useful way of including them in the agenda. If you are the writer of the action plan, make sure you don’t assign too many actions to yourself. While it can be tempting to take control, it is vital that this is seen as a shared agenda and not something that one person is responsible for delivering.
The timescale you choose is also important. It needs to communicate the urgency of the organisation’s intention to create change, but also be achievable and realistic.
There are many ways to measure impact – both qualitative and quantitative. These might include focus groups, anonymised surveys, etc.
You’ll learn more about setting SMART goals and the associated action planning in Week 8.