How to prioritize strategic directions in the long-term run for a NGO?

Project Location: Global.

The challenge

In the course of time the goals of the NGO have altered due to bigger scope of operations and the international growth. The organization recognizes a need for focus and prioritization. Still, the board decides to build-up on the existing strategies rather than invent new ones from the scratch. The challenge is to define the new strategy by combining what has already been there with what will be important for the future.

Our approach

Together with a cooperation partner coming from NGO background, we develop a four-levels pyramid approach to define a new positive vision, focused mission, long-term strategic directions to help the organization to concentrate on the essential, and a framework for implementation which is reflected in the mid-term objectives:

  • Level 1 consists of vision and mission statements;
  • Level 2 is based on the previous one and comprised the success model and the long-term strategy directions;
  • Level 3 includes mid-term objectives for the organization;
  • Level 4 – on the top – is representing the framework paper for the implementation as well as specific implementation projects.

Designing the architecture of the project is a vital part, which lets the client see the incremental roll-out of the strategy planning process.

 

NGO_01

 

In the course of a concept meeting with the board the objectives and main scope of the project is defined, followed by an official communication to the entire organization. As a preparation for the strategy development process in-depth interviews with the line managers and main external stakeholders are conducted.

The results are then presented at the first Strategy Process Workshop, which is held to cover the first and the second level of the strategy pyramid model. Together with the senior executives, the new Vision, Mission and success model are formulated. Additionally, the Editing Team is selected with the aim to work on concept-related parts of the strategy as a preparation for workshops. A Reflecting Team consisting of the board and the project lead is created in order to make sure the interim results would be aligned with the initial goals and objectives of the strategy development process.

The Second Strategy Process Workshop is aimed at defining the mid-term objectives based on the results of the Editing and Reflecting Teams working results. It has also let us receive the first feedback on the completed progress and reveal some additional problematic areas in the organization, which need to be addressed.

The Summer Camp Workshop becomes an opportunity not only to gather all line- and functional managers from all over the world to communicate the achieved results, but also to involve them into the cascading process. This is achieved by organizing a Webinar on sight where the summer camp participants communicate the results of the strategy process to all employees of the organization globally.

Between the workshops, regular communication activities took place, where the board and the management updated their colleagues on the progress of the strategy process speaking “one voice”.

The results

The four-levels pyramid method leads to a very clear incremental development of the strategy – a clear step by step approach is followed by a high involvement of the organization at different levels.

The reformulation of the vision into a positive wording leads to a positive perception and brought a lot of motivation and drive to the everyday activities.

By realizing what is the organization’s success model and strengths, employees feel proud of what has been achieved so far and on what they can build up on.

The goal of focusing on the essential leads to a strong mission statement and the definition of 11 main directions which will guide the organization for the next 10 years. Within the directions clear prioritization takes place which means a huge shift in the way the organization operates and plans their activities.

This leads to the result that the organization is able to set realistic but ambitious objectives, and most importantly the ways to reach them.