Last week I gave the students in my graduate Nonprofit Strategy course their midterm in which I asked them to invent their own strategic planning process. After studying various approaches all semester, I thought it would be interesting to see what they would come up with. With that in mind, I thought I would create something a bit different than my Mission Impact approach – just for fun.
Check this out – it could work for a company or a nonprofit.
Step 1: Vision. Once you are clear on your Mission, then create an Aspirational Vision – what would your organization look like and be like if you could have it any way you wanted it (same as Mission Impact).
Step 2: Opportunities. Lots of people hate SWOTs and, let’s face it, they usually don’t do a very accurate job with it. So, forget about Strengths, Weaknesses, and Threats – just focus on Opportunities. Look at your Vision and the external environment, what Opportunities do you see which – if you seized them – would significantly advance your Mission and Vision?
Step 3: Capabilities. What Capabilities do we need in order to seize these Opportunities? The answer to this question may require you to totally reinvent your organization – and quickly. You may need a totally different Board, Staff, Financial Model, Service Offerings, and more.
Step 4: Goals, Strategies, & Plans: Your Goals would be designed to develop the Capabilities as quickly as possible. And of course, I would advocate for Almost Impossible Goals (read more here). Strategies & Plans would be created around these.
This approach puts a premium on accurately identifying Opportunities in the environment that will advance the Mission and Vision, and then identifying the organization Capabilities required.
The world is changing rapidly. Most organizations are organized for what the world was like 25 years ago, not for today or much less tomorrow. This new approach will require a radical rethinking and redesign of what your organization looks like. But it just might help you stay relevant.