Planification pour le changement
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Planification pour le changement

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Introduction to Community Development

Getting Organized

Planning for Change

Planning for Change

The Process of Change

Developing stronger, healthier, more vibrant communities requires change: as individuals in
terms of how we think and act, and as a society, in terms of our public attitudes, policies and political decisions. Change is inevitable, but if we want to influence the direction of change so that it is beneficial for all, and for the generations to come, we need to be actively involved. In your efforts to change you will meet many people that are not willing to support your efforts and perhaps even put obstacles in your way. Understanding your political and social environment and carefully planning your strategies will be your road to success.

Planning for Change

Resistance to Change

People resist change when they feel they are losing more than they will gain. Here are some strategies for reducing resistance to change:
• Involve everyone who will be affected by the change in the process. Ensure there is a good flow of information and provide opportunities for input, discussion and feedback.
• Acknowledge loss with empathy and compensate for it to the extent possible.
• Highlight the costs of not changing.
• Demonstrate strong commitment to change.
• Accept the reality and importance of people's subjective perception of change don't be surprised by over-reaction.
• Ensure that information is readily available.
• Define what is over and what isn't and what's next.
• Mark the endings treat the past with respect.
• Let people take some part of the old way with them.
Planning for Change

Strategic Planning

Strategic planning is like a road map that charts a take in order to reach your destination. Sometimes you can follow a path that has been laid out already; other times you will need to forge a new road ahead. It is important that the strategic plan is developed collectively by the group. You cannot import a plan from another group, e.g., a map of Guelph is not much good if you are trying to navigate your way in Sault Ste. Marie. Neither can you hire a consultant to do it for you, or even entrust it to an individual member of your group. It is a continuing process that requires the involvement of all that have a stake in its outcomes.


Strategic planning has five main components:
1. Mission (What you hope to accomplish)
2. Strategic Analysis (Where you are now? What factors do you need to consider in planning for the future?)
3. Broad Strategic Directions (How are you going to get to where you want to be?)
4. Operational Objectives and Actions Plans (What you are going to do? When?)
5. Evaluation (How will you know when you have succeeded, or at least are on the right track?)

Planning for Change

While strategic planning is an important element for any organization, it is not necessarily the first activity that the group needs to take on. There is a certain level of readiness required, in terms of the skills, commitment and functioning of the group. The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) suggest that embarking on a strategic planning exercise is not appropriate under these circumstances:
• lack of leadership, training or skills
• lack of commitment to the process
• the "old guard belief" that nothing can help and nothing ever changes
• lack of time, money or other resources to carry out the process
• problems with key individuals
• difficulty with programs or policy implementation
• little likelihood of the strategic plan being used
• a poor relationship among the players
• a major election is upcoming.
Planning for Change

Planning is a cyclical process; it is not something that is just done once, but is on-going throughout the life of the group. Thus, the starting point of your planning does not necessarily have to be the development of a vision or mission statement. Some groups have found that by going straight to action they were able to mobilize large numbers of people and gain some immediate credibility and success.
However, in a Healthy Community process, in which all sectors of the community are to be involved, it is more likely that a strategic planning process will follow the visioning process more or less immediately. Otherwise the actions will not reflect a community-wide strategy that has the commitment of a broad spectrum of its members.

Planning for Change

Here are some points to consider as you plan your strategic planning session:
Contract a facilitator to chair the gathering if you feel you need someone impartial or someone knowledgeable about the steps involved in strategic planning.
a) Select a chairperson who will help the group stick to the agenda.
b) Set up a strategic planning team or a steering committee with representatives from major stakeholder groups (e.g. anyone who has a "stake" in the outcome. From inside the organizations, you might include members, recipients of services or benefits, staff and volunteers. From outside the organization perhaps a local government representative, providers of related services, representatives of social, economic and environmental sectors. Ensure that any real or potential conflicts of interest are identified; the group will decide whether that person should or should not be involved in the strategic planning process.
c) Make sure that those who agree to participate in the planning process understand the time and commitment involved.
d) Listen to people's concerns about the process; about their other commitments; and about their availability and plan the session(s) accordingly.

Planning for Change

Mission

Most groups find it helpful to develop a formal mission statement for their group. The mission of an organization is a clear and concise statement of the purpose of the organization and the broad means by which it will be achieved.

"A mission cannot be impersonal; it has to have deep meaning, be something you believe in something you know is right. A fundamental responsibility of leadership is to make sure that everybody know the mission, understand it, and lives it."

Peter F. Drucker: Excellence in Performance: The Courage to Lead;
Michigan Nonprofit Association; 2000

Planning for Change

For example, the mission of the Ontario Healthy Communities Coalition is “to work with the diverse communities of Ontario to strengthen their social, economic and environmental well-being.” The mission statement is the reference point for decisions about what activities the group should undertake. When considering starting a new initiative, members should ask whether the activity will further the group’s mission?” Mission statements must be reviewed and revised from time to time to ensure that they continue to be relevant to the community as it evolves and to the members of the group. Developing or reviewing the mission statement is often the first activity of a strategic planning process.

Planning for Change

Strategic Analysis

It is one thing to get information and another to organize and understand the information so that it can used to develop an effective plan that has broad community support. Deciding how much information you will collect will be based on a subjective assessment of what you feel is required to develop an effective plan, the time you are willing to spend on it and the resources that are available.


One of the most common approaches to organizational analysis is the SWOT Analysis. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. In a SWOT analysis, the internal strengths and weaknesses are identified, along with the external opportunities and threats within the environment in which the organization operates. It may be informal, taking a few hours spread over a couple of meetings, or it may involve in-depth analyses involving the hiring of consultants, the collection of primary and secondary research data and/or intensive interviewing of major stakeholders, requiring several months of work.

Planning for Change
Planning for Change

The following table suggests areas to look at in your assessment.


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Introduction to Community Development

End of Unit:
Getting Organized - Planning for Change
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