Staying Nimble at 160: Real-Time Strategic Planning Helps YMCA Keep Pace with Change

How does an organization born in the mid-1800s stay vital and relevant in today’s rapid-response world?

In Illinois, the Greater Peoria Family YMCA is using La Piana Consulting’s Real-Time Strategic Planning (RTSP) process to assess opportunities and respond strategically to the emerging needs of children, families, and communities. In a June 2012 article for, the organization’s CEO, Daniel Chonowski, describes how Real-Time Strategic Planning is different from traditional strategic planning, and what that meant to the Greater Peoria Family YMCA:

“The model encourages thinking with clarity and acting immediately so that it’s a continuous planning and responding cycle. In the old methodology, there was a greater emphasis on producing the plan itself, and implementation was not emphasized equally. In this new process, there is a greater emphasis on the implementation of the plan, helping the YMCA to execute the plan.”

Detailed in our 2008 book, The Nonprofit Strategy Revolution, this accelerated strategic planning model is flexible and customizable. Since its publication, we have worked with the Y-USA to adapt the methodology for use across the national network by its own organizational development and training staff. Hundreds of local Ys have used the approach, and staff have found the emphasis on strategy to be engaging for their board leadership, providing a tool to cultivate these important volunteer leaders.

We continue to lead the process with our own consulting clients, helping them to build their capacity for ongoing strategic thinking and acting. Get a closer look at RTSP here, or contact us for more info.

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