My children do not go for a yearly doctor’s appointment. They, in fact go for annual wellness checkups. This idea that they are seeing a professional to ensure they are growing, developing and staying on a healthy path is a better message and a strong reminder of what is important.
Nonprofits, on the other hand, often go for years without internal reviews. The excuses – everything from “we are too small” to “we are too overworked” to “we have a retreat and review some aspect of our agency each year” are just that – excuses.
If you have taken the time to create a strategic plan and have not planned for implementation (your wellness checkup) you are, in all likelihood, wasting large parts of that valuable process.
Sure, you may have incorporated elements of the plan into your nonprofits day-to-day operations. But all too often, the pieces that seem too difficult, too time-consuming, or too off-strategy from what staff thinks should be the priority is left behind to gather dust. And the failure to implement the plan fully and regularly evaluate progress creates resentment among the leadership who spent their time and energy developing the plan in the first place.
What can you do to avoid these all too common strategic plan implementation mistakes?
- Incorporate a timed list of priorities at the end of the planning process so that everyone is aware of what may will get done in year one, what will get done in year two and three of a five-year plan.
- Ask the staff to evaluate the plan and consider what time frames they think would be appropriate for each element of the plan that requires changes.
- Establish a routine check up or check in at the time the plan is created. Determine who will do the evaluation, who will provide the information and where it falls on your calendar. This will ensure the participants will have the necessary time to prepare for the assessment.
- Consider your specific nonprofit and the players involved before establishing hard and fast rules. Determine what would ensure the plan will be followed, measured as well as achieve success for the organization.
We know that each organization is unique and while there are general rules to follow, always make sure that you are tweaking the specifics to help motivate participants and ensure success. If you feel that you are too close and could use a consultant to help evaluate your plan or how your plan will be used, please email Abigail Harmon today.