I love to read. One of my favorite parts of any book is the Acknowledgments section. I haven’t written a book yet - and I may never do that - but I would like to acknowledge all the people this year who were generous enough to have me on their podcast to talk about my favorite subject - strategic planning.
Every time I get to talk to someone about strategic planning, why I do it and why it is important for organizations, I learn something new about the practice and process. I am not necessarily a “think out loud” external processor and yet through these conversations I deepened my understanding by having to explain things to others that sometimes seem obvious to me. One thing that I certainly have learned over the course of my career is that what is obvious to me - or anyone - is NOT necessarily obvious to others or even how they think about a thing.
And that in itself is one of the reasons I love facilitating strategic planning processes. Folks have to talk through with each other what might be obvious to them and implicit in how they work – but needs to get explicit if the whole group is going to get behind the idea and move a strategic initiative forward.
Because of that learning and deepening I am so grateful for each opportunity I had to explore the topic this year.
Connecting to my values
During my Own Your Expertise interview with Emily Crookston, PhD., I realized that my faith tradition’s 1st and 7th principles - the inherent worth and dignity of every human being and the interconnectedness of all things really undergird my work with organizations. I don’t think I had made that connection before we talked.
Reevaluating your plan
In my conversation with Carolyn Mozell, the host of Use Your Powers for Good podcast, we talk about how to stay accountable to the plan and why it is so important to agree on a process for reevaluating and reviewing your plan on a regular basis - whether that is quarterly, every six months - or at minimum every year.
Making the process worth your time
Talking with Stu Swineford, host of the Relish this podcast, we explored what goes into making a strategic planning process worth it. As Stu put it, it’s a valuable exercise that aligns your team, creates thrust for your organization, and builds an actionable plan to keep you on track for the short- and longer-term. I really appreciate the idea of a plan helping generate momentum that propels the organization forward.
Moving beyond the fears
With Julia Campbell, the host of the Nonprofit Nation podcast, we talked about what people fear about strategic planning and how that gets in the way of making it effective.
Letting go of past bad experiences
Betina Pflug, the host of the Wisdom for Nonprofits podcast, and I talked about the frequent bad past experiences people have had with strategic planning and how to make the process fun and useful. And why I do NOT have group’s start with a review of their mission and vision.
VUCA doesn't mean planning is useless
David Pisarek, host of Nonprofit Digital Success, and I explored why you don’t need to throw out the idea of strategic planning even though we do live in a VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Chaotic and Ambiguous) world. Nonprofits are essentially a network of people working together towards a common goal. The conversations the group has over the course of a strategic planning process helps everyone get clear about what is really important to focus on in the next 3-5 years and some first steps on how to move towards those goals. Without having those conversations periodically, a lot of “static” builds up in the system and folks may actually be working at cross-purposes instead of in a more powerful, aligned way.
It's your plan, not mine
Hugh Ballou, host of the Nonprofit Exchange, and I talked about the myths about strategic planning. One we honed in on was why it is important for the group, not the consultant, to write their own plan.
So thanks again to Emily, Carolyn, Stu, Julia, Betina, David, Hugh.
And thanks for the service each of them provide the sector by creating their shows and helping those in the sector learn and deepen their practice.
My passion is helping nonprofit organizations and associations have a greater mission impact.
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