The challenge in business and organizational planning begins with clearly answering a few questions:
- Why does this organization exist?
- What is the purpose of the organization?
- What is the organization trying to achieve?
- How does leadership define success?
- What are the values and principles of the organization?
The answers to these questions are found in the organization’s Charter and are defined and described in the Bible.
The next challenge is to select a method our leaders will use in their planning and implementation to accomplish the Charter and identify the initiatives & projects that are most important and impactful. There are many methods to choose from, however, most planning tools and methods are purpose agnostic or have a financial-only definition of success.
Another challenge is to consider and understand the variables that contribute to the organization fulfilling its Charter and purpose. Many planning approaches are activity and task-driven instead of purpose and outcome-driven. Looking at all the internal and external factors should be considered in planning, along with understanding their impact and alignment to each other and the organization as a whole.
Stewardship planning offers a method to develop and implement an organizational plan to steward well what a leader is entrusted with to fulfill the purpose of the organization. Stewardship planning is a “build-up from” approach—using what has been entrusted to us—versus a “work back from” approach, which is designed to figure out how to hit monetary growth targets to increase shareholder wealth.
The Stewardship Plan works to answer the question: What can we build with what we have been given and how can we improve upon what we have in a way that achieves the aims of Good Place organizations and remains in alignment with the unique Charter of the organization?
Stewardship Planning provides a framework (or a system), in relationship to the Charter of the organization, to understand:
- where the organization is (the current state of things internal and external);
- where the organization can and/or should go from here (the future state along the journey of fulfilling its Charter);
- the road map to get from current to future (or at least advancing on the road toward the future) within a specified timeframe.
The framework includes the Managing Systems approach to understanding systems and improving outcomes at the overall organizational level, as well as each individual system (or department), including The 10 Areas systems, that are within and make up the organization, creating a comprehensive organizational plan.
The result is a strategic organizational plan that allows leadership to optimize their stewardship of the organization aimed at success criteria that includes valuing people, building up Good Places in communities, and being economically regenerative.
It is a plan that has been populated through input from leaders and members of the organization, a collection of everyone’s best thoughts, a thorough and aligned understanding of the purpose of the organization and the plan forward to fulfill its Charter, and ownership of both the means and the outcomes.