So far, you’ve read about the importance of creating a clear strategic plan and its 4 essential parts. By laying out your organization’s mission, vision, and goals for the next few years of nonprofit, you’re effectively creating a roadmap that will help take you from point A to point B. This collaborative document will make sure that you and your team are moving forward in the same direction, and that all resources are working toward a common goal. But how do you utilize this document throughout the year? That’s the question. Clear communication, KPI tracking, and a regular execution process are great places to start.
Moving forward, internal communication is the most important piece when starting your planning process. It’s important to utilize real-time communication with your team so that everyone is kept in the loop simultaneously. Asana, Miro or Basecamp are three great resources that can help you manage project updates daily, and can help foster additional collaboration. The more open the communication process stays throughout your year, the more efficiently you can manage operations and adapt to changes and updates.
It’s also worth noting that everyone has different communication and management styles. Just like an artist must understand their medium to make art, you must understand your style to lead your team well. Depending on which resource you turn to, there are several different management and communication styles - each one with its own pros and cons. It’s worth taking the time to study these styles to determine which one you fit into, as well as which styles you see from your team. Utilizing this knowledge can help your team stay dedicated to the mission and plan.
KPIs, or key performance indicators, will be the markers that let you know whether you’re meeting your plan’s expectations. Determining which KPIs need to be tracked should be part of the initial planning process, so it’s critical to watch them throughout the year. In addition to the KPIs that you’ve set for your individual project goals, you need to be actively measuring the KPIs of your organization as a whole. Constant Contact has a list of helpful nonprofit KPIs to keep your eye on throughout the year.
Making sure that these two types of metrics are working together is the key to ensuring a successful implementation of your plan. If pursuing your new project goals is coming at the expense of your organization’s health, as observed through KPI changes, then goals or expectations need to be readjusted. If you find that it’s your mission or vision that needs reevaluating, having these things already clearly defined in your plan, as well as knowing which KPIs you need to be striving for, will make this easier. Alternatively, we can help you reassess and create a custom plan so that you can focus on leading your team well.
Execution is one of the 4 essential parts of a strategic plan that is an ongoing, iterative process. When creating your document, it's important to brainstorm tools and strategies that will help you execute your plan, and it's equally important to revisit these throughout the year and readjust as needed. Ultimately, executing is a choice that must be acknowledged and practiced daily.
Here are 3 common strategies you can develop to help you execute with effectiveness:
- Communicate - Clearly lay out expectations beforehand and define how you’ll measure success or failure.
- Assessment - Assess whether success was met or not, and what the consequences will result from the success or failure.
- Follow Through - Hold team members accountable to the expectations that were set, per your assessment. People do not do what you expect, they do what you inspect. Accountability in this process ensure goals are met.
Making open dialogue and regular follow-up with expectations and assessments will help keep forward momentum and can create a steady rhythm of day-to-day productivity.
Stay tuned for our next blog - Avoid These Common Strategic Planning Mistakes