Is strategic planning worth the effort? Frequently organizations are concerned whether it will be time well spent, whether the plan that gets created will get implemented. Here are two stories of the impact strategic planning had on two small organizations that prioritized getting intentional about their future.
Keeping Growth & Momentum Going
A small local disability focused service organization spent the last several years strengthening its board, its financial footing and documenting processes for its signature events. After this strengthening process, the leadership decided it was in a good position to be more deliberate about deciding its future direction.
After interviewing key stakeholders and conducting focus groups of board members, I shifted what was planned as a full day retreat to two online sessions. The goal of the sessions was to define the organization's key goals for the next 3-5 years. During the online sessions, the board
The organization now has a new strategic plan with clear support from the organization's leadership. The process helped the group celebrate the strides they had taken over the past several years. They were able to acknowledge their success and build on that positive momentum to move forward with focus and direction.
A lesson in letting go
A small local environmental organization had been volunteer-led for most of its 30 years. In the past five years, it had hired its first executive director and added several part-time staff. The organization had not successfully undergone strategic planning and its vision was primarily directed by its founding board members. The organization had a very large board that was still very involved in day-to-day operations.
I interviewed and conducted focus groups with key board members. Board members conducted interviews with external stakeholders. I facilitated two online sessions to define the organization's key goals for the next 3-5 years. During the online sessions, the board
Through these sessions the board and staff were able to recognize ways in which how they were operating was getting in their own way and make plans to adjust. They had tough conversations about what the role of the board and the staff needed to be going forward and how to make working together a more positive experience.
The organization now has a new strategic plan with clear delineation of roles and responsibilities as well as action items and key performance indicators. This is the organization's first strategic plan that was developed as a shared vision.
When you are used to meeting in person, it is easy to see the disadvantages of online meetings. You are missing out on a lot of body language and other non-verbal cues. Yet the sudden shift to everything online since March has demonstrated many of the advantages of online meetings.
Not only do your participants save time and money on travel, your organization saves money. You do not need to rent a meeting space and serve the group food. You will need to pay for an online meeting hosting service such as Zoom or Adobe Connect as well as perhaps an online collaboration tool such as Mural or Miro. These costs, however, will be substantially less than what you would have paid for in food, AV rental, printing and other costs of the meeting.
Using technology to your advantage
There are lots of ways that the technology itself can help you run an effective meeting.
Want to learn more about how to effectively facilitate online meetings? Join my four-week group coaching program. A new cohort starts in September.
My passion is helping nonprofit organizations and associations have a greater mission impact.