Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Strategic Planning with NP Strategies

There has been a lot of strategic planning going around lately. This weekend, YNPN San Diego spent all of Saturday discussing our strategic plan with the facilitation and preparation by NP Strategies. It was an amazing experience and with the help of a company that professionally facilitates these business planning conversations.

Prior to the in-person meeting, NP Strategies took the time to gather information through our database and both internal and external interviews. They reviewed our materials, including our visioning process from Van Dolah and Associates and were able to clearly and accurately synthesize the information. One of the best pieces of information we heard was that the YNPN San Diego's mission is clearly understood by both our internal and external stakeholders. With so many complicated and bulky mission statements in the community, this felt like a real success.

NP Strategies facilitated our strategic planning process with three primary individuals including their Executive Director, an intern, and a third associate who is actually a YNPN San Diego board member. So you could say that the strategic planning was facilitated both internally and externally. We benefited enormously from having an outside facilitator the day of the strategic planning retreat which allowed us to talk through all the pieces of the plan without wearing too many hats. As a result, the organization came away with a common vision and ownership of the organization; we became more concise in the direction of our programming and, therefore, our funding and communications.

Having an outside company that specializes in strategic planning helped YNPN San Diego to identify everything from our theory of change to the quality of our programs. If you have an academic program in your area that teaches strategic planning you could always consider having a student facilitate your strategic planning for low or no cost.

One of the ways that YNPN San Diego builds its "next gen" leadership is by providing them with access to experiences like strategic planning. Any organization can encourage younger staff and volunteers to join a board and learn more about the process so that they can bring it back to your organization, helping to serve your mission to grow and investing in the professional development of future leaders.

Many thanks to NP Strategies for all their help in focusing YNPN San Diego’s efforts and making sure that we are all moving towards the same goals with a common vision!

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