Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Preparing the Strategy Process

“We are too busy doing stuff!  We don’t have time for strategic planning!”

Once you get past this objection then you get: “Okay, but we need to be efficient!”  Which I appreciate.  None of us have the time for everything we want to get done.

But I do recommend that you be deliberative about three aspects of preparing for your strategic planning process before charging ahead too quickly:

1.  Consider conducting a Board Self-Assessment prior to the strategy process.  The benefits of this are making sure that your Board is operating as a high performing team, that they understand their responsibilities, and that you have the “Right Board” ready to do the strategy work.  My favorite example is a Board which legitimately did not realize that fundraising was one of their responsibilities.  Following a self-assessment, they enthusiastically accepted the responsibility and it made them realize they needed to add some additional, well connected Board members prior to strategic planning. 

2.  Take the time to connect with and involve stakeholders in the process.  This takes time, but is well worth it.  Check out this blog for more on the value of nurturing stakeholders continuously.  They can provide ideas and insights you might otherwise miss, and will be more likely to support implementation if you involve them early on.

3.  Carefully select your Strategy Planning Committee.  I recommend a group of 15-20 people – and a mix of Board, Staff, and Stakeholders.  With fewer than 15, I get concerned about the lack of divergent thinking.  With more than 20, it gets unwieldy.  Make sure you have the right Board representation so that the final product will pass through the full Board.  And consider involving junior staff as well as management.  Community stakeholders, potential Board member, funders, and those who utilize the services are great voices to have at the strategy table.

Thorough prep will improve your overall strategy process and allow you to make even more of a Mission Impact!

For more ideas on how you can lead breakthroughs in your organization, follow this blog and check out my web site at   You will find free resources you can download, including a Breakthrough Strategy Workbook that you can download at no cost.  You can also check out my book, Mission Impact:  Breakthrough Strategies for Nonprofits, and buy it if you are interested.  And you can follow Sheehan Nonprofit Consulting on Facebook.