What you call it doesn’t matter

June 19, 2013

Filed under: Strategic Planning — jonathanpoisner @ 1:49 pm

I was recently talking to someone who plays the staff role for a medium sized nonprofit organization.

She had raised the possibility of doing strategic planning with her boss and was told in no uncertain terms that their organization’s CEO was against strategic planning based on past negative experiences.

Yet, in her assessment the organization very much needed it.

My feedback to her is: it doesn’t matter what you call it.  So don’t call it strategic planning.

Instead, I recommended she suggest to her boss that they need to reach clarity on the organization’s identity (who they are, what they uniquely do) and business model (what they do, how they fund it), along with 3-4 long-term goals that everyone on staff can rally behind.

Rather than do a “planning retreat,” they can tackle these questions in much shorter, discrete meetings that involve a subset of the board/staff that then comes back with proposed answers.

Of course, in the end, if the CEO of the organization doesn’t want anything along these lines to happen, forcing it on them won’t accomplish anything.  But there are ways to bring along reluctant staff and board members to the idea that organizations with a strategy and with everyone rowing in the same direction are more likely to thrive than those that wing it.

You don’t have to call that strategic planning to make it work.

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