Organic Strategic Planning – A Wave of the Future

The Mustard Seed Associates team is in the midst of an important time of strategic planning.  At first I struggled even with the concept of strategic planning.  Not only are we a very organic organization, but we are also futures focused.  We constantly monitor emerging trends and challenges in society and church and use those to help us reinvent what we do.  It is our desire to provide resources, share examples and model lifestyles that help followers of Christ birth imaginative responses that reflect God’s kingdom in light of these future challenges.  That means though that what we do this year may look very different from what we did last year and planning activities ahead for the next three years seems almost impossible.

Much to my delight MSA team member Cindy Todd came across several articles that talk about organic strategic planning, a model that most closely fits who we are and how we operate.  This article:  Overview of Strategic Planning Methods provides a great overview to the different types of strategic planning.  In talking about organic strategic planning the author comments that it requires: continual reference to common values, dialoguing around these values, and continued shared reflection around the systems current processes. It reminded us that this is a process that focuses more on learning than on method and that to accomplish this we must regularly remind ourselves of our common vision and desires.  An organic strategic plan is constantly growing and developing .  We need to be very patient, regularly revisiting and reshaping our plan.

The best article Cindy came across is Organic Strategic Planning: Changing The Traditional Paradigm which explains that: The organic method works because it focuses on building the future on current successes.

Organic Strategic Planning is a unique approach to company growth. It changes the traditional strategic planning paradigms by focusing on identifying the best practices, processes, and methodologies in an organization. Organic Strategic Planning retains and expands on what is already working by employing a filter created from the organization’s values, mission, and vision…. The Organic Method for Strategic Planning brings together the essence of the best of the current organization, adds its dreams for the future, provides for a team-centered, co-creation of goals and objectives, and provides a framework for sustaining the growth of the organization.

For us in MSA this process through the use of the Quaker discernment process, has transformed the “find and fix” mentality into a God inspired focus on our desires and vision for the future. Like our weekly team meetings, our strategic planning revolves around our use of this process.  We started by looked back over the last year and forward to our expectations for the future, then asked the question Where is God moving and what is God saying?

Our growing awareness of God’s interaction with us in our daily activities has inspired us and connected us more intimately to the God who creates and enlivens all things.  Part of what we have realized is that it is not just our dreams for the future of MSA that play into this process.  Our dreams and hopes for our personal lives, our families and our society are all part of what helps to shape who we are as an organization.

This feeds well into the next suggested step:

Build on Past Successes. Organic Strategic Planning is based on the premise that past and present corporate and individual successes contain the “seeds” needed for the next level of successful growth and expansion.  The discernment process we use interprets this more broadly.  We don’t just build on the seeds of “success” but our struggles and our challenges are also drawn on as seeds for the future.

Engage the Entire Team: This is an important part of the Quaker discernment process which affirms and encourages all of us to recognize that God speaks through every member of a team and we need to make sure that we make time and make space for this. Listening and learning rather than telling and instructing becomes the focus of our planning times.  In the process we have learned to more fully appreciate, affirm and support each other.  We have seen relationships strengthen and creativity flourish in amazing ways.

Add the Essence of Passion: Discovering each team member’s passions and motivations is a key element of organic strategic planning.  What has amazed me is to see how the process we use encourages this naturally.

Create a Destiny Driven Future:  Again let me quote from Valerie Schmidt’s article:

By sharing each others’ dreams for the future of MSA we are empowered to co-create a meaningful set of goals.  Strategic goals created in this type of positive focused environment produce inspiring objectives and solutions that integrate easily into the day-to-day task of implementation. As everyone begins to truly understand the strategic plan, decisions and actions combine and complement each other naturally. New products, solutions, and ideas flow easily. This is natural propulsion for the organization.

I am excited by this new understanding of strategic planning and by the opportunities it provides for us in MSA to move forward strategically without compromising our values or our vision.  And need I say, I do think that this form of strategic planning has more potential to carry us into the future than any other form we have come across.



6 Responses

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Christine Sine. Christine Sine said: Organic Strategic Planning – A Wave of the Future […]

  2. […] Organic Strategic Planning – A Wave of the Future ( […]

  3. […] Organic Strategic Planning – A Wave of the Future ( […]

  4. […] shared here on this blog as we have embraced the Quaker discernment process, learned the value of organic strategic planning organically and become more of an organization that Plans with Spiritual Formation at the […]

  5. […] using a more organic approach to strategic planning, it was very encouraging to find information on organic strategic planning which is a recognized model in the business world. It bears a lot of resemblance to the group […]

  6. […] for our MSA staff retreat time this weekend. We will use the Quaker Discernment process and organic strategic planning to discern God’s future focus for our ministry. At core, our MSA team is a spiritual leadership […]

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