To achieve Step 14, individuals will show that they can develop strategic plans, and assess whether they have been successful
In Step 13, the strategic plan was introduced as a mechanism of taking the problem-solving analysis that might have been carried out and turning it into action. This step builds on it by thinking about the mechanisms by which we can work out whether a strategic plan has been successful.
The building blocks of this step are learning:
To teach this step:
This step can be reinforced when learners are creating plans – whether for their college or university applications, running a youth social action project, or a learning investigation.
This step is best assessed through observation of learners implementing a project, and whether they can apply the concepts shared here.
If it is not possible to run a project, learners can still develop plans to address a complex problem and use this as a way of demonstrating their ability to plan a project and to identify whether the project is successful along the way, and at the end.
This step is relevant to individuals who need to create and implement strategic plans to solve complex problems at work.
To build this step in the work environment, managers could:
There are plenty of opportunities for building this skill in the workplace:
For those already employed, this step is best assessed through reflective conversations with the individual whilst they are involved in developing a strategic plan. This could be one they have developed as part of a training exercise.
During the recruitment process, this step could be assessed by:
We work with a wide range of organisations, who use the Skills Builder approach in lots of different settings – from youth clubs, to STEM organisations, to careers and employability providers.
We have a lot of materials available to support you to use the Skills Builder Universal Framework with the individuals you work with, including:
We also do a lot of work with organisations who join the Skills Builder Partnership to build the Universal Framework into their work and impact measurement systems. You can find out a lot more using the links below.
We know the first step in creating a strategic plan is to be clear on what it is you want to achieve. This is as important whatever stage of education you are at. If you achieve what you set out to achieve – you know your plan was successful. Having clear targets in your plan is important. For example, if your overall aim or goal, is to get a ‘good score’ in your end of year test or exam, what do you actually mean by ‘good’? A clear target of say 70% is tangible – you will know whether or not you have been successful in achieving your goal. This is an example of a SMART target.
In most businesses and organisations, strategic plans (or strategy plans) will have ‘milestones’ written into their action plans. A milestone is a marker along the route to achieving the goal. They allow those responsible for carrying out a particular project or implementing a plan and their managers to check in that they are still on course to reach their overall goal and to take action if this is not the case. If you have smart targets and milestones written into strategic plans it means there should be no surprises! For example, an events company, responsible for organisation of a large music event may have the overall target of filling to capacity the 30,000 seater stadium for the performance date in 12 months’ time. A milestone marker would be that with 6 months to go the event, at least 80% of the tickets are sold. If they were not, increasing social media or other advertising for example may support them to hit their goal of the event being a sell-out.
Complex problems are often difficult to get to grips with. They can throw up all kinds of challenges,whether they present themselves in education, at home or at work. If we are able to think more strategically when faced with a complex problem and create a plan to tackle it, we can reduce some of the stress and frustration that problems can cause. As humans we mainly prefer order and like to feel we have a degree of control over a situation. A clear strategic plan, with definite targets and milestones along the way can be really beneficial and help us to feel more ‘in control’.
To best practise this step of Problem Solving, apply what you have learnt to a real-life situation. Choose one or more of the activities below, remind yourself of the key points and strategies in the step, and have a go!
As a parent or carer, you might be thinking about how best to support your children to build their essential skills. The good news is that there is lots that you can do that will have a big impact, including:
We’ve developed a whole series of tools and resources to help parents to build these skills, including:
There is also content for older children and young people, including short activities and reflections that they can complete alone, or with you.