Strategic Planning: Answers to Common Questions and nSight’s Approach to the Process
1. How have your education and experience prepared you to help facilitate strategic planning?
After 25 years in corporate marketing in Fortune 100 companies, nSight Marketing works exclusively with associations and non-profit organizations. We have developed a member-centric approach to planning. This process fits any scale organization: national, state and local. We help leaders build long-term plans that focus on the member. As a unified group, the process helps move towards their vision for success.
2. Can you describe your approach to the strategic planning process?
We believe in four key traits in our business: Brains, Heart, Guts and Energy. We believe it takes these four unified values to make positive change. Melynn uses the same approach with organizations who are investing time to plan for the future. She will encourage a realistic conversation about today’s reality and also tomorrow’s possibilities. She urges courageous healthy, respectable debate to get to the real issues facing the association. She will focus the discussion on issues, and will facilitate where necessary to make sure you make the decisions that will guide your future.
3. What are the components of your planning process?
There are three key components to our strategy and work best together:
– Board of Directors questionnaire
– Live on-site planning workshop
– Final document and/or business plan template.
4. How much pre-work do you do, and what kind?
We ask the board of directors and other invited guests to complete an important questionnaire prior to the workshop. This is important input to the session, and the success of the session is dependent on every person taking the time to complete it. The first goal is establishing a market analysis for conversations at the workshop. The second goal is to urge the attendees to think about their values as a leadership team.
After contract signing, Melynn meets via conference with Executive Officer and President to discuss details, history, logistics and any lessons learned from previous planning meetings.
5. What type of “deliverables” do you provide, other than the plan itself?
(1) We will discuss if pre-session reading materials is a fit for your group, and offer specific suggestions. This is light reading to focus the mindset before the meeting; (2) attendees often ask for the workshop slides so they can remember and re-use ideas and concepts for future use, and (3) the final plan includes a summary document (strategic plan draft) and one-page placemat to use for board meetings, committee use, and to communicate the strategic plan at a glance.
6. Will you help us develop benchmarks and performance measures in the process? If so, what is your method for doing this?
The plan is laid out to present your:
– Activities (optional)
– Measurements (optional), and
– Responsible parties to accomplish the plan (optional).
Some organizations do not want their board or committee to develop the activities. Rather, staff completes the details of the plan once the planning identifies the goals and objectives.
Melynn will also give practical ideas during the session to help your board keep the plan alive, on track and moving forward with the responsible parties actively involved.
7. How can we keep focus our agreed to goals in a rapidly changing business environment?
Your strategic goals do not change during the three-year cycle. However, the objectives and activities may change as new information and challenges arise. The plan outlines goals and objectives for year one. This is intentional – new information will likely surface in twelve months. Take a board meeting after twelve months to review the goals, and develop next step objectives to keep the plan current and relevant with new information. An emergency initiative does not replace a strategic goal.
Many associations formalize this once-a-year look back/look forward and have Melynn come in (or join via webinar) to facilitate the session.
8. Do you work as a team with a recorder or alone?
Melynn is a solo show!