Key Indicators of the Strategy-Focused Organization

  • Everyone — board, staff and volunteers — understands the organization’s mission, key objectives and core values and can articulate them accurately and succinctly in their own words.
  • The organization thinks — and acts — boldly on the basis of a clear organizational strategy. It shapes its future through clear analysis, participatory decision-making and forceful intentions, rather than simply responding to emerging challenges or sudden opportunities.
  • The organization’s leadership spends significant and regular time on strategic issues. The board regularly discusses some aspect of the organization’s longer-term aspirations, possibilities and constraints and reviews progress towards the realization of longer-term strategic perspectives. The chief executive officer and the senior executive team spend between 15% and 20% of their time, on average over the course of a month or year, on Strategy Matters™.
  • The organization updates and refreshes its strategic plan on a regular basis — no less frequently than every five years — and in doing so takes analytic account of its successes and failures since the previous plan, notes changes (both positive and threatening) in its situation and context and delineates a new set of strategic goals and objectives for the next period of time.
  • All key constituents participate in strategic planning, through a process guided by the leadership of the board and the chief executive officer. Building involvement increases the likelihood of owner-ship of the resulting strategic plan and hence boosts the odds of successful implementation of the plan.
  • The organization has an implementation plan linked to its strategic plan that details the specific steps over a one or two year period to realize the key goals of the strategic plan. The implementation plan delineates specific tasks with responsible parties and anticipated completion dates for each strategic goal; includes an analytically secure financial plan; and provides clear metrics to measure the performance of board and staff.
  • The organization shares its strategic thinking and planning with its donors and prospective funders so that they understand its mission, values, aspirations and key strategic drivers. It uses its strategic thinking to develop long-term partnerships with volunteers and funders and encourage investment by them in the achievement of its strategic objectives. It regularly reports on how philanthropic financial support is enabling it to meet its goals and objectives and ensures full accountability.
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