Formal strategic planning usually starts with an overarching mission and vision statement to prioritize long term goals and guide management-level decisions for the workplace.


Reverse strategic planning, on the other hand, starts with the grassroots: the reality of what priorities personnel use to make decisions and take action. Formal planning tends to be idealistic; reverse strategic planning tends to be pragmatic: the difference between the “right” way to do things and the “real” way.


Reverse strategic planning is about creating a group snapshot of what members of a team, department, committee, or staff (25 people or less) are doing, based on what they think is important:


In the meeting, everyone creates a prioritized list, which is posted and commented upon by the entire group, whose participants make comments in writing. Then each person makes a brief presentation, responding to comments and questions. Helps people understand what co-workers do and how everyone’s work fits together.


This snapshot can reveal where a group is regarding current project goals, job descriptions, contracts, strategic plans, and much more. Project management flags, such as project drift, pet projects, and overreach, are revealed. Also, it can provide useful clues about which employees see and understand the big picture and which are “hiding out,” do their jobs without consideration for how their choices can impact the bigger picture.



• Evaluate the progress of projects of events, projects, plans, and causes.
• Reveal issues with how resources are being used.
• Create a working strategic plan based on what people are already doing.

Reverse Strategic Planning: Evaluating A Team’s Workplace Productivity