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~ April 2002 ~
  • Strategic Planning


The Board Retreat
If the Goal is a Strategic Plan.

In the January page, I talked about the importance of a board retreat. In February, I discussed how to renew the board's view of the mission of the organization. In addition, in March we looked at the way to come to consensus on the core values of the organization. These steps, I pointed out, are integral to all board retreats, whether the purpose is board development, a significant specific organizational decision or the beginning of the strategic planning process.

It occurred to me that those of you who are launching a strategic planning effort might like my brief review of the process. So here it is:

Organization decides to plan strategically, i.e. evaluate and decide the best way to respond to the circumstances of the organization's environment and the most important issues it faces.

At the board retreat, the organization:

  • Articulates its mission, core values and vision
    (Vision is what the community, country or world could look like in the best of all possible worlds as a result of the organization's effort. Here is the place for everybody to share dreams and realize how important the organization really is.)
  • Looks to the future and discusses the critical issues and trends that could affect the organization's ability to achieve its vision and mission.
  • Lists its competitors, stakeholders and allies
  • Discusses the organization's strengths and weaknesses in the light of the opportunities and threats presented by the issues and trends.
  • Makes a priority list of the issues most significant to pursue, considering the organizational mission and vision.
  • Appoints a planning committee and priority issue sub-committees.
Committees research the priority issues (e.g. through stakeholder interviews, focus groups, surveys, demographics) and meet together to test the assumptions made in STEP TWO and to develop draft strategies.
Planning committee develops broad purpose statements (goals), expected measurable outcomes (objectives) and action steps to implement the strategies.
Written draft plan is submitted to board for review and editing.
Revised plan is submitted to board for approval and implementation.

Jeanne H. Bradner

Jeanne H. Bradner is an author, consultant, trainer and speaker on volunteerism, board development and leadership. She is the author of three publications, Passionate Volunteerism, The Board Member's Guide, A Beneficial Bestiary and Leading Volunteers for Results: Building Communities Today. She served as director of the Illinois Governor's Office of Voluntary Action, Midwest Regional Director of ACTION, and Executive Director of the Illinois Commission on Community Service. She is the volunteer program specialist for Illinois' Harper College Volunteer Management curriculum.

Send your comments and questions to Jeannebrad@aol.com.
Copyright 2002 by Nancy Macduff.
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