Over the past two weeks we’ve shared with you the importance of strategic visioning, and (hopefully) convinced you that it is one of the best tools you can use to regain control and plan for the future. As much as we’d love to hand you a golden ticket and send you on your way to create your vision, there are a few additional steps necessary to get you started .
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – visioning is not something that can be done solo. Every leader should have a vision, but unlocking those ideas and putting them into a format that can realign and re-engage stakeholders takes a partner or two.
We have witnessed firsthand the downside of attempting to do this alone. We spoke to the Executive Director of an organization that was struggling to find its way in a new reality. They had changed the nature of almost every program they offered to adapt to the pandemic and needed help charting a course for the future. We knew a strategic visioning process would allow this ED an opportunity to explore his options and identify organizational priorities and goals.
So, he decided to sit down and create an organizational vision on his own. Two weeks later, our phone rang. It was the ED, feeling even more frustrated than before — things simply weren’t going well.
“I can’t do this. I am not a visionary,” he finally shared.
Not true. He had great ideas, a dream for the organization’s future and thoughts about how he could better partner with his board to achieve their goals. But what was missing was a thought partner. He had not engaged a single colleague or board member in this effort, and thus had not made the process collaborative nor the vision holistic. Bottom line, strategic visioning is something we just can’t do alone. No one can.
When we work together with team members, board members, thought leadership and community leaders, the visioning process becomes exciting, creative, motivating and uniting. It builds community and promotes accountability to a shared goal or purpose. So, finding the right partner is critical. Here are the characteristics we seek in a visioning team:
Much of strategic visioning is about aligning key stakeholders around a shared goal – in this case, the goal is to create a clear vision for your organization. Through a step-by-step process that involves members of a leadership team, a vision can come to light and have the optimal impact of aligning, engaging, and motivating the organization. A partner who is committed to the process and can navigate the various personalities is a huge asset for success.
Respected by your board
There is no way to create a strategic vision without involving your board. In fact, one of the goals of the process is to involve and engage this critical group of leaders. A strategic visioning partner who is respected by your board will allow them to dive into the process without doubts or hesitation.
Willing to challenge
If you function as the professional or volunteer leader of your organization, it is likely that you will drive much of the visioning process. The partner you choose to engage in strategic visioning should be someone who can help you to see a future that is bold but realistic, ask a lot of questions, and is not afraid to challenge your assumptions. Your partners should be people who will push you outside of your comfort zone.
This process is rewarding and exciting, but it takes work to get there. Finding partners who can both take this journey with you and guide you through a process that is challenging and rigorous is a recipe for success. Some partners might be internal to your organization, but an external partner, like an experienced coach or consultant, can play an important role in helping you to define your process, choose internal partners, develop ambitious goals, stay accountable to a timeline and ultimately present the vision to your board.
Interested in next steps? You don’t want to miss these resources and opportunities:
- Not sure if strategic visioning is right for you? Download today’s freebie to take our self-evaluation quiz.
- Join us next week for our webinar: Moving Past the Pivot: Why Strategic Planning is Priority #1
We’ve covered the “pivot” and learned to function in “uncertain times”. So now what? Join Evolve’s CEO, Amy Schiffman, and Consultant (and veteran strategist), Stefan Teodosic, as we put your new scenario planning skills to work on a new or updated strategic plan. We’ll talk about who is involved, why there is no tool more valuable to your organization’s future, and what role visioning plays in this process. Perhaps most importantly, we’ll teach you how to get started. Join us as we explore life outside of crisis mode — we promise to activate your strategic superpowers.
- As always, we’d love to talk about being your partners in strategic visioning or any other challenges your organization has. Don’t hesitate to reach out.