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Strategic Planning: A 3 Tiered Approach

October 29, 2023 by Gail Birks

In July 2023, we shared with you our value proposition for Strategic Planning. Well it seems that a little more education is in order.

The common misinformation about Strategic Implementation Planning is that you only need to have the exercise that encompasses the mission and vision statement creation or review, and a few goals updated or added. Here are some tips for the three (3) tiers of Strategic Implementation, the CMA WAY!


This is a basic level of strategic planning and in essence only provides its audience an answer to the questions of

  • "This is who we are."...

  • "This is what we are striving to become"... and

  • "These are the core goals we want to achieve this year."

Tier One does not address the leadership/workforce or operational planning aspects of WHERE YOU ARE GOING and leaves many questions unanswered. This approach to planning can be done in 30 days and there is no further action needed. It usually culminates in a half day session with the organization leadership and staff to confirm the statements and goals.


Tier 2 Planning requires a more in-depth structure for the department or organization that is using this approach to address its Future State of attaining SUSTAINABLE SUCCESS. The approach and methodology used is meant to bring a more holistic approach to a small or medium sized entity in need of building a plan that is more robust than what is done in Tier 1 Planning. This Planning Exercise includes the following ...

  • Level One Planning Activities

  • Verification and validation of Revenue Streams and trends

  • Operating Overhead and Burden and associated allocations

  • Board of Director/Trustee composition (and requirements)

  • Staff composition (and requirements)

  • Programs/Services/Products

  • Constituents/Customers composition

  • Messaging (internally and externally)

  • Determining what is "Critical to the Quality of Our Success" and how it is measured

Tier Two planning tends to take 3-8 months depending on the size of the organization or department. This methodology is very commonly used by CMA with non-profit organizations. The planning sessions require information gathering sessions with program and department staff to understand their needs, wants and desires for operating and/or serving their clients/constituents. A Planning Session can be up to 2 - 2.5 days.


Tier 3 Level is for Government, large non-profits, public and private sector organizations in business and industry. CMA delves more assessing the following ...

  • Gap Analysis

  • Risk and Hazard Assessment (positive and adverse)

  • Market Trends

  • Defining Metrics for attaining Operational, Cultural and Market success

  • Level 1 and 2 Planning Toolboxes

  • Industry Benchmarking and Best Practices

  • Verification of "Readiness" using the Cornerstones of Growth

  • Determining Goal Priorities

  • Timelines for Goal Achievement of Cornerstones identified

  • Resources needed to Sustain and Grow

  • "Unfinished" Business

Tier Three planning usually takes approximately 9-15 months to complete. The biggest challenge is to minimize the disruption to daily operations of the staff and leadership in the organizations served as we guide you on this phenomenal journey.


Communication Channels are important in this Planning Tier because of all of the different tasks that are being facilitated. Examples of how we communicate our progress and planning activities includes...

  • Mobilization and/or Orientation meetings with Sponsors and Planning Teams

  • Scheduled planning meetings with the internal teams to collect information intentionally and purposefully

  • Periodic Sponsor updates

  • Stakeholder (internal and external) "chat" sessions

  • Online surveys to obtain the "pulse" of needs/wants/desires and customer satisfaction

The CMA Way of Planning has benefited numerous clients over our 33+years of serving business and industry. Examples of how our Clients have used the CMA Toolboxes are as following...

  • Build a Sustainable Strategic Message that reaches a broader audience

  • Acquire new facilities

  • Market share and competitive edge

  • Create and/or expand programs, initiatives or products

  • Enhancing sustainable and residual revenue sources

We look forward to "TALKING OUT LOUD" with you in the near future to create your sustainable action strategies. For more information visit CMA CONSULTING and ADVISORY | U.S.| CMA ENTERPRISE INCORPORATED ( Or call Gail Birks, President/CEO at 954-476-3525. If you would like a 15 minute complimentary session, click our calendar and type "Strategic Planning" in the subject box.

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