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Is now the best time to do Strategic Planning?


Strategic Planning is expensive and takes time.  When is the best time to do it?

Engaging at the right time can give you the highest return on your investment of time, energy and money.

Is now the time?

  • Are you seeing or sensing new opportunities on the horizon that don’t fit into your past way of operating?
  • Have you recently re-organized your board governance structure?
  • Is your board united around the need to have a fresh look at your organizational/business model?
  • Have you recently merged with or acquired another organization?
  • Have you grown quickly in the recent past and organizational/operational structures have not kept up with this growth?
  • Do you have a new CEO?

Did you answer ‘yes’ to just one of these questions?   It may be time to consider engaging in a process to align all your resources behind a shared future vision with a specific plan and budget to make it happen.  At HIGOL, we call this Strategic Action Planning.

Strategic Action Planning addresses both new opportunities and existing conditions in the environment as well as the organization’s internal capacity to ensure all impediments to growth are removed or transformed.

Energy is unleashed.  You are ready to GOOOOOOOO!

The potential of a holistic comprehensive approach to Strategic Planning?

Would you like to raise $35,000 in unrestricted funding in twenty-four hours with handful of emails (whenever you need it)?

This is what the Triangle Land Conservancy did on Giving Tuesday in 2019.


In 2018 they took six months to get their organization fully aligned using the Strategic Action Planning framework.

At the end of the process the board and staff were excited and clear.  They would double the impact of their conservation efforts across the region in 7 years – 25,000 acres conserved by 2025!

This required increasing their organizational budget by 50%.  They did that one year.  Their work continues to expand across many corners of the Triangle.  This includes new projects, new funders, new partners, new conservation advocates!

It is becoming ever clearer they will achieve their bold goal, and they are only in year two of a seven-year plan.

Raising those funds on Giving Tuesday was a natural outgrowth of their new-found ability to leverage the he#* out of that plan.  Every email they sent that day referenced the plan and their big goal.

Want to check out the plan that is helping them raise hundreds of thousands of dollars?  Click here and scroll down a bit.

When NOT to do Strategic Action Planning

  • Don’t engage in Strategic Action Planning (at least not with us) if your primary motivation is that a funder is requiring you to do it.  The process will not work and be a waste of time and resources.
  • Don’t engage if this is a ‘pro-forma’ exercise for you – for example, the date on your old plan is up and that is the primary reason you want a new strategic plan.
  • Don’t engage in such a process if you are not ready to take a very honest look at your organization and what is required to grow and have real impact.

This can mean difficult conversations and facing what is really happening.

It also means more freedom, less effort, way more opportunity and financial resources.

One of our CEO clients realized he had to fire a key staff person to be able to achieve the vision he was driving.  He was not willing to do it.

I respected that decision, but Strategic Action Planning did not and will not work under those circumstances.

  • Don’t engage in the process if you don’t have a strong desire to grow.

This means being willing to step out as a leader in ways that may make you uncomfortable and having a commitment to making decisions that will most benefit the organization as a whole.

This may be a bit scary, but we are here to support you.  That can make a huge difference.

How long does Strategic Action Planning take?

Six to eight months is a good time frame to work within.  Less and you don’t have time to gather the info you need and fully digest it (while still running your organization) and make decisions that truly build momentum.

More time and the process can lose momentum and get bogged down.

We love to see organizations time it so the plan is completing as next year’s budget planning cycle is beginning.

More questions?

I am happy to answer them.  Contact me here.

Happy Strategic (Action) Planning!

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