Once a strategic plan is in place, it shouldn’t sit on the shelf. Proactive organizations revisit their plans regularly and pay attention to the milestones for achieving their vision. This takes many forms; here are a few examples:
1. Syncing up: Consider an online survey to assess whether there is a common understanding about the mission, and if the Board’s goals are aligned with the staff’s. This technique is especially useful when you’ve had new board members or new staff members join your organization.
2. Self-evaluation: Even the best board can benefit from a self-evaluation about performance, leadership and alignment with strategic plans. Such an assessment is particularly important as a tool for correcting course.
3. Big picture: Organizations may neglect strategic planning because it is hard to look beyond today’s urgent concerns. Try focusing first on annual plans that lay out key priorities, then spend time envisioning longer term milestones through a board retreat. The bonus: preparation for the retreat brings out topics for discussion among Board and staff that may not have surfaced otherwise.