Is your strategic plan sitting on a shelf, forgotten and disconnected from your business? Much like the day after the birth of a baby, many Boards invest time in a strategic planning retreat, only to have no plan for the day after. The following are best practices I have seen to keep the plan alive, relevant and instrumental to an organization’s success.
To ensure the plan is “ever green”:
• Administration provides regular written updates to the Board of progress against the plan.
• The Board reviews and, if necessary, revises the plan on an annual basis or sooner if there is a major disruption in the sector/industry.
• The Board plans with a “blank sheet approach” every 3 – 5 years.
• The plan is cascaded into the CEO’s or Executive Director’s annual objectives.
To ensure the Board stays focused at the strategic level:
• The Board approves the plan (strategic priorities and long term goals), and instructs Administration to finalize action plans, timelines and metrics as well as incorporate the plan into the budget and work planning processes.
• Board member(s) take on the role of “Champion” for specific strategic priorities. Champions do not do the work of Administration. Champions ensure progress is made against the goals of the strategic priority, act as a sounding board for Administration, and raise the strategic priority as a test or filter for Board decisions.
• Agendas are formatted using the strategic priorities. Board members question agenda items that do not directly relate to strategic priorities.
• Board meetings are “themed” throughout the year to focus on a specific strategic priority.
• A visual with the vision, mission, values, strategic priorities and long-term goals is posted at every Board meeting.
• The plan is incorporated in presentations, materials and “elevator speeches” to educate and involve external stakeholders.