if it's to be it's up to me
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Do you get asked to do this all the time?
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How to Create a Hard-Hitting Hands-On Planning Session With Your Board

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Ah, death by strategic planning! Don't get me started on how AWFUL and what a TIME WASTER strategic planning can be. At least the way we do it in the noprofit sector. I am organizing a "hard-hitting, hands-on planning session" with an organization that has been wandering aimlessly for a few years. They wonder why they can't raise money? Here's the answer - their vision is not juicy enough to get excited about. Here's our agenda for our planning session: (I've changed the names to protect the innocent!)
  • Reconfirm Good Cause's vision and mission.
  • Reach consensus on what Good Cause wants to do in order to implement its vision and mission in the coming year and in the next 5 years. (broad framework here for the longer time period.)
  • Identify strategic directions and set some firm goals around each direction.
  • Answer the question: "how will we know if we have been successful?"
  • Determine the critical success factors that will make or break the new goals.
  • Agree on the board's role in creating success for Good Cause and what each person is committed to doing.
  • Set next steps so that the staff can flesh out a complete operational plan for the coming year.
I had to tell the staff - you can TRUST me that it will not be a WASTE of time. I told her that I will not facilitate a meeting that I wouldn't attend myself. : )
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A FIrst Class Strategic Planning Process

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As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, I am the chair of a board governance committee charged with creating a strategic plan this year. (lucky me!). And I am determined to create a compelling, engaging, even exciting planning/visioning process that everyone will actually enjoy! Here's the process that I've sketched out this year: September: 1. Board Self Assessment Survey 2. Set strategic planning timetable and process October: 1. Form Task Force 2. Identify our organization's stakeholders 3. Determine if and how we want to get feedback and input from the stakeholders 4. Create a plan/process for receiving their feedback November board meeting: 1. Discussion of board self assessment survey data and determine any action items that need to be taken 2. Vision discussion with full board - what is our vision for our organization. How much money would it take to achieve our vision? (this is a "high impact - big picture" discussion that can draw additional people and resources to a big vision, as opposed to starting with "what can we accomplish within our resource constraints?") December January and Feb: Focus groups of key players/stakeholders discussing what is our vision and how much money would it take March: WHERE ARE WE? 1. Complete environmental scan at a board meeting. 2. Provide input from the stakeholder focus groups that were conducted in Jan and Feb. 3. Conduct SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis. April - May - June: WHERE DO WE WANT TO GO? 1. Based on all info and data gathered to date, create several scenarios of LL's future. 2. Assess each scenario re its pros and cons 3. Determine the right path for LL's future and set goals. July - August - September HOW DO WE GET THERE? 1. Staff and committees create plans for accomplishing the goals. Plans will include objectives, tactics/strategies and who's responsible What do you think? Want to comment?