Dallas Speakers Bureau – Marketing & Sales Speaker, Ann Ranson on “What is Strategy? Three Steps to Refresh your Strategy”

Your strategic plan needs a refresh. Even if you finished it as recently as Q1. None of us were planning on a pandemic, economic crisis, and unrest due to racial inequities, let alone for them to happen at the same time. So, as soon as you can, I recommend that you get out your current plan and work through these steps to make sure that you’re well-positioned for the coming months, not years. This is a time when I suggest a more short-term view, but only for your refresh. Remember that the essence of strategy is to provide you with a road map on how you will achieve success as defined by your mission and vision.

Step One: Reconnect with your vision and where your organization is going. For this review, set aside think time, then ask yourself some tough questions.
· According to Tom Luce, chairman of Texas 2036, and notable leader and supporter of nonprofits, pandemics represent ‘creative destruction’. What destruction, if any, have you experienced? And what is the impact of it?
· Have the current challenges substantially changed your direction and/or ability to near your vision over the next 10 years?

Step Two: Conduct a current SWOT Analysis
· Considering the recent crises, it’s important to look at your core competencies through the lens of current Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats as in all likelihood some of them have changed, and perhaps quite dramatically.

What changes need to be made?
How is your money holding up and where are your current vulnerabilities? What expenses can be delayed or reduced? What new fundraising activities should be tried? Do you have access to endowment or restricted funds, and under what circumstances can you tap them?
How is your team? Their mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health? This is a time to really look at each person holistically to determine their needs and where you can offer support. What are you doing/planning to maintain team connections while people are likely working from home?
-What is yours to do in healing your community, above and beyond, or different from what you’ve done in the past?
-How well are you responding to the needs that Americans are now expressing? Review this new report from Just Capital and the Harris Poll on “What Americans Want” to help you see where there may be gaps within your organization.

Step Three: Review the outcomes of the above analyses and develop a list of priorities, using Eisenhower’s Urgent-Important Matrix, popularized by Stephen Covey in his book, “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”.

For purposes of this activity, URGENT means “a task that requires immediate attention, often a reaction”. IMPORTANT means “a task that contributes to the achievement of your mission, values and goals”. Many experts, including Stephen Covey suggest that most of our time should be spent in Quadrant 2 – Not Urgent, Important.

By following these simple Three Steps, you will have a Strategic Plan that supports you during these turbulent times.