The focus of traditional strategic planning is to produce a formal written document, within a preset time frame, to endure for a predetermined length of time, usually three years. This traditional strategic plan covers a predetermined list of areas with very specific and often distant goals and objectives. This focus is just not compatible with the formation of effective strategy in a nonprofit functioning in the rapid-response real world of today.
To address this problem, La Piana Consulting led a four-year research effort resulting in the Real-Time Strategic Planning methodology that engages participants, addresses the Big Questions facing the organization, and creates an atmosphere where ongoing strategic thinking and acting can flourish.
The findings from this research project were published in 2008 by Fieldstone Alliance as a book titled The Nonprofit Strategy Revolution: Real-Time Strategic Planning in a Rapid Response World. The Book includes a CD with over 27 interactive tools and worksheets essential for forming strategies.
The Real-Time Strategic Planning Process
Nonprofits that have used this approach agree that this is much better than the traditional planning process they have used in the past, which often results in a written document that sits on a shelf gathering dust.
Beginning with the Real-Time approach, we can help you to determine how best to address your Big Questions in the context of your mission. We can:
- Take you through a one-day kick off session in which you articulate your organizational identity and business model from elements such as your organization’s geographic, programmatic and customer scope, as well as your organization’s competitive advantage and market conditions
- Use informal and formal market research techniques to gather and analyze intelligence from a variety of stakeholders, including clients, funders, competitors, colleagues, public policy makers, and former board members and employees
- Help you foster an environment in which ongoing decisions are made from a strategic perspective
- Support decision-making that builds on your organization's enduring values, mission, and vision
- Identify and focus on the top opportunities and challenges facing your organization, its Big Questions, which we can then address aggressively
- Develop a Strategy Screen that enables you to set out criteria for strategic decisions before the decision is on the table, thus expediting your strategic response to emerging opportunities and challenges
- Embed within your organization a methodology for identifying and addressing future Big Questions as they emerge, rather than only once every planning cycle
- Develop complete business plans to serve as a blueprint for your next steps
- Leave you with simple but often quite powerful tools you can choose from as you continue to enhance your organization’s ability to anticipate and respond to strategic challenges
- Document your decisions in accessible language, in an easily changeable format that includes strategies for monitoring and evaluating the outcomes you achieve over time
- Develop effective promotion and communication strategies for addressing both internal and external constituents, and for achieving an optimal market position