Strategy for good governance

Strategic planning is essential to good governance. Strategy means a plan of action designed to achieve a long-term or overall aim.

Good strategy is about planning well and setting a clear direction

Good strategy sessions can identify opportunities and risks that may not have been thought of in your regular board meetings.

Preparing for a strategic planning meeting is not the same as for your regularly planned board meetings. It takes time, energy, patience, and commitment. A good strategy session also takes open-minded vision and foresight.

A strategic plan can play a pivotal role in the growth and success of your organisation. It can provide you and the board with a blue-print on how to respond to opportunities and challenges, and help you formulate how to succeed!

How to use strategy sessions for success

  • Put some time on your board agenda for strategy sessions – allow for at least 30-45 minutes.
  • Try strategy sessions once or twice a year.
  • Make sure everyone knows what the strategy session will cover ahead of time.
  • Consider inviting a facilitator to run your strategy meeting – someone independent who can use their skills to collate ideas into action. It’s worth the investment.

Running a successful strategy meeting takes commitment

Preparing for a strategic planning meeting is not the same as for your regularly planned board meetings. It takes time, energy, patience, and commitment. It also takes open-minded vision and foresight.

  1. Create an agenda
    Plan what you want to focus on for this strategy session ahead of time. Is it to discuss fundraising or lack of fundraising plan? It is important to remember that strategy meetings can be used to create open and transparent dialogue and discussions with your board members so everyone is on board with your vision, mission, and objectives.
  2. Use different methods of brainstorming
    The purpose of brainstorming is to produce a broad list of potential ideas, solutions, or plans. When done well, brainstorming increases the creativity and productivity of the group.
  3. Keep the energy high
    Include time in your meeting for adequate breaks and activities to keep the group’s attention.
  4. Reach a consensus
    With consensus, there is often compromise. Not everyone gets everything they want out of the final decision. Create an environment where everyone has the opportunity to provide input. Often when a decision is reached, everyone will support it.
  5. Turn strategy into action
    Once everyone has talked about the topic that needs your focus, turn this strategy into action points.

Turn strategy into action - top tips and advice

  • Break the plan into easy tasks and actions that you and your team can achieve.
  • Communicate the plan – take a photo of your whiteboard and share this with your board members.
  • Link financial resources with strategy – can you afford your new idea, do you have the staff, or time?
  • Set a deadline you can’t miss and follow up with your strategy session by checking in on progress at your next board meeting.
  • Communicate responsibilities with your board or management team. If you need to set up a new sub-committee, make sure you keep track of who will be responsible.
  • Make decisions as a team and share lessons learned.
  • Make sure your goals are actionable and measurable.

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