It took at least three years to develop ECS’s first strategic plan. Once written, we rarely reviewed it as it didn’t offer a practical approach to making the decisions we faced on a day-to-day basis.
I wish we’d had David La Piana’s strategic planning book, The Nonprofit Strategy Revolution: Real-Time Strategic Planning in a Rapid-Response World, in our formative years. It’s the first book I have read that applies a realistic, practical, ongoing, mission-driven decision-making process to nonprofit leadership.
What has been most valuable to me is La Piana’s understanding of the real-time opportunities and challenges faced by growing non-profit organizations. His clear explanations and terminology completely resonate with me and my experience.
La Piana has given me a language to talk about the ongoing choices we must make in our organization. We must only embrace those initiatives that will continue to support our mission, that define us and differentiate us from our competitors. While I always have these tenets in mind, this book has equipped me to help other people understand my thinking, why and how certain decisions were made and how to effectively share the leadership responsibility with them.
How does this apply to ECS? How might this apply to your organization?
We currently are presented with many opportunities for innovation, new programs and partnership. Along with those opportunities, ECS also faces challenges that threaten to chip away at what makes us uniquely “us.” Thus, we must be vigilant to run new ideas and challenges through a filter that “separates the wheat from the chaff” – in other words, embrace only those initiatives that will ultimately support our mission.
The Nonprofit Strategy Revolution: Real-Time Strategic Planning in a Rapid-Response World serves as an invaluable practical guidebook for me. I believe anyone interested in nonprofit leadership, who needs to make effective and rapid decisions, will benefit from reading this book.