CASE STORY - Strategic Planning
Doug, the Executive Director of a well known foundation for children, wanted to take his organization to the “next level.” There was much concern among his board members on what the future direction of their organization should look like. There were differences of opinion among parents of children being treated, physicians, the executive team and members of the board. To help address this challenge, Doug contacted Dennis. Their goal was to develop a vision for the organization that could be supported by all key stakeholders.
Three important “first steps” were taken when Dennis began his work with the agency.
First, he gathered information on current board governance and committee structure, prior strategic plans, board retreats, board minutes, annual goals, objectives and recent achievements.
Next, he scheduled interviews with key members of the board and executive team to learn what their individual perceptions were of their strengths, areas of needed improvement, challenges and internal and external obstacles and dreams for the future.
Finally, Dennis examined their understanding of roles and responsibilities as board members and how they differ from those of management.
After reviewing the initial findings with Doug and his board chair, a retreat was scheduled to discuss the findings and develop consensus on the future direction of the organization. It was clear that everyone involved was extremely passionate about their mission, but there was little, if any, agreement about the future.
At the four-hour weekend retreat that Dennis facilitated, several topics and issues were addressed. These included:
- Discussing the pros and cons of each person’s vision
- Gaining full agreement from the board on an overall vision
- Detailing the vision- which included the expansion of programs on a regional basis
- Pulling back (temporarily) from seeking national program status
- Agreeing to stop pursuing funding for research to allow greater resources for existing programs and services
Following Dennis’ evaluation and the retreat, the agency’s board chair and CEO wrote to Dennis stating, “We could not have built a consensus, and achieved our goals within the time frame we did without your involvement”.