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There is no question that the events of 2020 have called for revisiting the strategic plan. Common questions that come up include:

  • What do you need to do to carve out strategic planning time for you and your team?
  • What do you need to get clarity a decision on for the New Year?
  • What are you going to continue to spend time on this throughout the year?

The challenge is that most leaders are so caught up in the day-to-day, they never seem to get to working on strategy – when they know they need to. Most leaders – especially in the nonprofit sector – get stuck in short-term operational issues.

It is not uncommon to feel a bit overloaded with work but it’s absolutely worth carving out a bit of time for strategic planning, since this offers a way to not only envision, but also map out what you hope to achieve in the coming year. Whether you adopt a formal or casual approach, the hope is the same: that your work will help set the course for a successful year.

The new year presents an opportunity to set aside time to really soak into the strategic thinking and looking-ahead. It can all seem so overwhelming, so this short post is how to start effectively planning and executing!

Effective Planning and Execution

So, getting back to work, here are my five keys to effective strategic planning and execution.

  1. Begin with the end in mind.

Set your end goal and make sure it’s actionable and measurable regardless of people, process, and technology you currently possess to measure.

  1. Ask ‘why’ (a lot!).

Challenge yourself and colleagues as to why the goal is essential.  This should create spirited discussions and may be the hardest part of the process.

  1. Prioritize.

You can’t do everything. Priorities will drive investment in people, process, and technology. Planning is a multi-year process. Are there prerequisite goals that are foundational to achieve other goals?

  1. Document. Document. Document.

All activities, milestones, measurements that need to be met to march toward hitting the goal.

  1. Be extraordinarily disciplined and systematic.

What gaps exist to do so? If you followed steps 1-4, it should become clear what investments in people, process, and technology are justified to meet the strategy.

Strategic planning can be hard for many reasons. A lot of it requires making hard choices that impact people in some way.

We’re big believers in the human side of planning and take empathy seriously.

We like to use design-thinking and agile methodologies to help humanize and simplify this process.

If your organization needs help to untangle complex decisions while gathering buy-in along the way, get in touch, we’re here to help!

Happy Planning and Happy New Year!

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