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March 1, 2017

The Solid-Slushy-Liquid Approach to Prioritizing Plans


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On today’s Whiteboard Wednesday, Mike Gafa describes the “solid-slushy-liquid” tool that can be used in church or corporate settings to help organize and prioritize plans.

As you work through a planning process, you may have a number of potential plans that you would like to complete in a year. However, you may know instinctively that having too many plans may not be realistic or feasible to complete. Instead, you need to sort and prioritize which plans should be tackled first. That said, there are two steps to take before using the solid-slushy-liquid tool.

First, list all of your potential plans. Second, assess each plan relative to projected mission impact, financial cost, and feasibility. On the latter point, think about whether plans are most feasible to complete in the current year, or next year, or in 3+ years.

From there, you will be able to replot plans using the solid-slushy-liquid tool.

“Solid” plans are those that can be done within a year. These plans will likely have high mission impact, low cost, and high feasibility.

“Slushy” plans are those that may or may not happen in the next year. If circumstances fall right and things go well, they can become solid and be completed this year. But if circumstances dictate that these plans need to slide to next year they can remain in the slushy column, or if they become less feasible still, can be moved to the liquid column.

“Liquid” plans are those that are likely longer term (if ever), but that we want to keep on our radar screen. They are probably not the most feasible and may carry a high cost. But the projected mission impact is high, so you don’t want to lose sight of them.

The solid-slushy-liquid tool is effective for annual planning. Sometimes, people forget what was previously planned the year before and some plans fall through the cracks. This tool helps to track plans that were previously discussed, and to reassess for the current year.

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