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Re: ELITE 7 years, 8 months ago #222

Lofty Missions, Down-to-Earth Plans by V. Kasturi Rangan, Harvard Business Review, is definitely a worthwhile read. The author argues that an organization with a lofty or broad mission statement spreads themselves too thin by trying to address all related issues rather than becoming an expert with a more narrow focus. To be more effective, the article provides a useful framework for looking at organizational strategy development. The Strategy Stairway consists of:

1. Mission Statement – the broad statement that identifies a problem (i.e. "fighting the causes and conditions of poverty").

2. Operational Mission: Answers “What are you going to do about this problem?”. The operational mission should be measurable and reflect the environment we are in, therefore it may change as the political or social environment in which we address the problem changes.

3. Strategy Platform: contains 4 components that address how the operational mission will be achieved

1 Client and Market Development

2 Program and Service Development and Delivery

3 Donor and Funder Development, and

4 Organization Development and Governance

4. Program Choice: When a new program opportunity arises, we should ask “How does the program contribute to the appropriate strategy component – funding development, for instance, or operational development?”

Here at Community Action Nebraska we are currently in the process of developing a 3 year strategic plan for our agency. Since we are a state association office, we have held several meetings with our 9 member agencies to get their input and feedback regarding what our goals and actions steps ought to be.

Although we are fortunate to have a lot of people involved in the discussion, as a State Association office, it was challenging getting constructive ideas from the agencies because they don't have the best understanding of what we do, our processes, and what is within our scope of duties. I think some of them were considering what they would want in a strategic plan, without considering how we differ in a meaningful way from the agencies that directly serve clients. If we were to do it again, I would recommend we get their input, create the strategic plan ourselves based on their suggestions, and then have them approve it. There were "too many cooks in the kitchen" when trying to develop this plan. We are making good progress, but it feels as if we have had to take the long road there.

Re: ELITE 7 years, 8 months ago #223

1. I read Strategic Planning Process for Public and Non-profits. The article focused on the development and significance of strategic planning, the identification and clarification of mandates (the musts confronting the organization), the mission and values, external environment (threats the organization-political, economical, and social), internal environment (strengths and weaknesses), strategic and developmental issues. Direct, Goal, and Scenario/vision approaches were examined to determine the purpose/focus of the organization. The role and significance of planning teams was also discussed, which is critical for agency success. Interestingly, Wayne Gretzky emphasized "strategic thinking and acting, not strategic planning per se are most important" for organizational success. In addition, the article Strategic Leadership 101 mentioned everyone (employees) should be a part of the planning process. Leadership and knowledge of the lowest to the highest level employee/person of the organization is relevant. Hence, upper-level management and the Board shouldn't make all the decisions.

2. Following the webinar last week, I realized my role in agency strategic planning had actually been far less than my initial thought. I've had the opportunity to review and examine agency policies, program financials and workplans; but most agency planning has been led by the Board and Executive Director. An agency can be more effective, if all members of the agency understand the agency mission, which allows everyone to work toward the same goal and on one accord.

Re: ELITE 7 years, 8 months ago #224

1. The reading that I chose was "Delivering on the Promise of Non-Profits," which is an article focused on the importance of non-profit organization's being able to demonstrate impact and results in an increasingly challenging funding environment. The article cited the case of the Harlem Children's Zone, which experienced significant growth and success after investing resources to refine its mission and to better communicate its results.

As an agency, People Incorporated has come to the realization that being able to demonstrate the long term success and outcomes that we help clients to achieve will become even more important as we compete for scarce resources to support and grow our programs.
2. As VP for Development, one of my key responsibilities is to support and help lead the agency's strategic planning processes. I am involved in virtually all aspects of the process, including facilitating planning sessions, refining goals and objectives, and working with the board of directors and other leaders to help set the agency's path and priorities.

Re: ELITE 7 years, 8 months ago #225

I chose to read "Adapting to Change -- 22 Structural Strategies for Non-Profits". The main focus was on structural strategies agencies should/could use when dealing with organizational change. I enjoyed this short article mainly because it's a quick snapshot of "best practices" and strategies the should be used when navigating through organizational change and how to increase the chance of coming out of it successful. There were several steps outlined that I personally wouldn't have thought of, but in the context of the article made perfect sense. All of the steps were short and concise and completely realistic. This will definitely be a quick reference tool I see myself referring to in the future.

CAP Riverside just recently finished our most recent strategic plan (2013-2015). Being a member of our agency's planning division, I was able to be quite involved in the process. This year's plan was board-driven so I was able to observe and help plan strategic planning committee meetings and training sessions as well as give input to overall process and the final product. This was the first strategic planning process I'd been involved with at CAP so reading our agency's old plan, re-familiarizing myself with the vision and mission, re-visiting our agency's blueprint and ROMA goal alignment, and asking questions helped greatly in my understanding of the process.
Last Edit: 7 years, 8 months ago by Meghan Hahn.

Re: ELITE 7 years, 8 months ago #226

I began reading Michael Eisner's Working Together: Why great partnerships succeed. It seems like it is going to be an excellent read. I believe that partnering with the correct individuals is vital to the success of an operation.

Re: ELITE 7 years, 8 months ago #227

I just wanted to say that I am fairly new to Strategic Planning. Our agency has had workshops to help employees understand the vision that the company has. About a year ago our agency began a new Strategic Planning called CAP Quest. It's a flow chart that illustrates our goals and of where we want to be in 5, 10, 15 and 20 years. Last week I had a conversation with a co-worker. At times she felt like she didn't know where she fit in the agency. I informed her that we all are vital to the continued success of our agency. At times individuals can feel as though they do not belong, because they do not comprehend the importance they represent in the whole schematics.
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Any opinion, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the US DHHS, ACF.