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Inclusiveness is one of the key ingredients of a good strategic planning process. When your organization's leadership, staff and Board are fully engaged and involved, your plan is much more likely to be successfully implemented. If you also take time to talk with other external stakeholders – funders, community and business leaders, and public officials – your plan for the future will be even more robust.
Schultz & Williams has recently added another component to its already comprehensive approach for helping an organization develop a strategic plan: the expert panel. This planning tool takes the concept of expanding your thinking and improves upon it.
Making the most of the expert panel, S&W brings together experts, leaders in their field and innovative thinkers, and then facilitates a workshop with the strategic planning committee to explore, challenge and evaluate a series of strategic opportunities. For these panels to work, it's important to get the best mix of people in the room, focus discussions in the right direction and prioritize the outputs.
Success can be achieved through identification of key planning issues, deft facilitation and prior agreement on the mission and vision of the organization. The new ideas and outputs of the panel discussions are then used as the input for the next stages of planning – typically the development of strategic goals and objectives and the associated resource requirements.
This new, added group of “consultants” provides an abundance of benefits, because they:
This addition to the strategic planning process was used quite effectively and to rave reviews with two of our zoo clients, The Naples Zoo and The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. In each case, the experts – coming from diverse experiences in sustainability, conservation, guest services and economic development – energized the group and came up with a host of new ideas that were further explored and evaluated. Some of these fresh ideas were later integrated into the institutional plan and “roadmap” for the future.
To learn more about how S&W can incorporate these expert panels into your next strategic planning efforts, please contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (215)625-9955.
Schultz & Williams is a national consulting firm based in Philadelphia providing management, fundraising and marketing consulting for nonprofit organizations, along with full-service direct marketing, database and creative/production services.