It's that time of year (we're not talking pumpkin drinks) to kickstart the annual strategic review process; we're in the middle of doing it ourselves. It's one of those things you just can't do without. Regardless of the type, size, budget, or the service you provide nor whether you're a for-profit, nonprofit, government, or B-Corps, you gotta have a strategy!
Everyone knows it's important but are you carving out the time to do it well? Here are a few tips:
Decide on the process you'll use. Rest assured there's not ONE right way to do it. Find a process that is repeatable and simple enough for your team to use. The important thing is to develop the discipline to revisit the strategy at least annually so you know if you're on target and what is left to accomplish.
Schedule it on your annual calendar. 2024 is the third year of our five-year plan. We start our review process in August-September and try to get it dialed in by November so we can ensure we have the budget aligned with it to start fresh in January. Note: Many larger organizations start the process mid-year to ensure buy-in and feedback from large stakeholder groups. Don't forget to schedule it on the Board of Directors calendar, too.
No one person has the full picture no matter what seat they sit in so identify a diverse team of people with different perspectives to help with the review process. We canʻt say it enough, diverse perspectives lead to better decisions and solutions.
Assess your progress based on your goals. How are you doing? What's working and what's not? The last two years we've conducted this analysis and identified key priorities that needed to be put on hold because we had way too many things on our organizational plate. We dropped a bunch of objectives because they didnʻt work. We also added things like the Transformational Leadership Cohort (TLC) that were too good not to try.
Assess the landscape in which you operate. What has happened in your sector that changes how you should operate next year? There's a really good TedTalk by Dr. Rosalinde Torres on what it takes to be a great leader that you should watch and then ask yourself the questions she poses. We used this activity in the TLC!
If you decide to add a goal then delete (or put on hold) a goal. The only caveat is if you've added staffing and the new goal is part of their job. Most nonprofit leaders have way too much on their plate and are drowning in minutiae. Help leaders stick to what they do best by taking things off their plate and helping them do what only they can do.
There are a lot more tips just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll send them along.
Take heart, very few have strategy dialed in completely. As we navigate the complexities of our respective organizations and missions, it's crucial to remember that a well-crafted strategy is the compass that guides us toward our goals. While there's no one-size-fits-all approach to strategy, the key lies in committing to a process that suits your team, diligently revisiting your strategy, and embracing diverse perspectives for better decision-making. So, as you embark on this strategic journey, remember that the effort invested in planning today will pave the way for a more successful and impactful tomorrow. If you seek further guidance or additional tips, please don't hesitate to reach out to us at email@example.com.