#31 A more transparent approach to strategic planning

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If any of you have been in the social impact sector for awhile – especially in the nonprofit space – you’re all too familiar with the painstaking process of strategic planning.

It takes either an afternoon or couple days at a retreat or forever, and neither is optimal. 

I’m all about getting things done intensively; and that’s the spirit behind all my work – my Impact Tuneup turns around in a week.

Yet sometimes with strategy quick isn’t always better.

Let’s compare this to owning a house – very top of mind for me and Brandon. However, a day or a weekend or a week is time to reorganize or redecorate or Kon Mari your strategy; it’s doesn’t allow time for reflection and white space that’s needed if, say, you’re hoping to grow your family and need to add space to your home, or if you want to make your home more energy efficient. 

That type of planning needs time.

But not TOO MUCH time. 

As a client and board member, I have seen strategic planning take not weeks but months. Many months that creep closer to a year. 

It’s not because there’s a lot to do, it’s because there’s a lot to decide on – and the decisions that push timelines back and back and back aren’t about strategy, they’re about the process of strategy creation. 

To put it bluntly, many of the most prestigious, expensive strategic planning committees and consultants (as well as many others) too often don’t have their shit together. 

They’re figuring out the process as they go. 

The best social enterprise and nonprofit strategic planning committees and consultants our there – and there are so many others I admire – have the following totally down:

  1. A fully structured process with frameworks ready, meetings calendered, and decision points articulated well in advance with white space for reflection and modification

  2. Deep knowledge of all the components of strategy: business and financial modeling, impact metrics and evaluation, brand and messaging, and customer segmentation and value propositions

  3. Intuitive fluency in double bottom line business models and multiple sources of revenue generation that accompanies them

  4. Experience and ability to coach and work with senior leaders and board members

If you’re missing this in whomever you’re thinking of turning to – or whomever you’re currently turning to – in your strategic plan, you’re going to run into roadblocks. 

I’m not the only consultant out there that has this planning thing down and tested. There are so many others! But if you’re curious as to my approach, I decided to put it all out there and put my go-to Strategic Planning SOW template on my website. 

Client expectations, timelines, deliverables, decision points, and pricing are all there and as transparent as I can make them. Even if you don’t want to work with me and choose to plan in house, go ahead and use this as a template for your plan!

But if you’re ready to totally rock your strategic plan, you know where to find me.