When organizations or groups participate in Strategic Planning, especially for the first time, they often do so with little understanding of the characteristics or the order in which the process should occur. As a result, they often call in a third party that professes to be a consulting expert, who will typically take the organization through the process at great expense and involve a number of support staff that have no intimate knowledge of the organization or it’s culture and perform only basic administrative functions. This only ramps up the expense. Additionally, not near enough interviews, surveys, and other prework is conducted to ensure adequate preparation has been made to efficiently work through the planning process.
I do believe that third-party support is a necessity, if for no other reason than to ensure that the process is conducted with complete objectivity and an understanding of the true nature of Strategic Planning that organizations or groups typically do not have.
I also believe that the process should be conducted in such a way that the organization or group not only benefits annually from participating in the appropriate way; it also learns how to organize and conduct the process internally so that external support is necessary going forward only to facilitate the actual event.
Truth Be Told, only then does the Strategic Planning process become an integrated part of the culture of the organization or group.