Strategic Planning

PLACE has an ever-growing portfolio of organizational strategic planning initiatives that have been an outgrowth of our interim management work and our own past experience running organizations similar to those for which we now consult. While we approach every strategic planning engagement as an opportunity to refine an organization’s road map for its future, each process takes its own form based on the individual organization.

PLACE begins the strategic planning process with the organizational audit during which we review foundational organizational documents, such as bylaws, articles of incorporation, mission, etc.; funding streams; collateral marketing materials and website(s); and staffing plans, organizational charts, and job descriptions. We also assemble best practices information from similar organizations to assess where our clients may be over- or under-achieving.

This initial analysis assists us in identifying key questions that help us design conversations for retreats and other gatherings of Board members/volunteers/decision makers. Each organization with which we work has very different questions and key discussion points that shape their Strategic Planning Retreat. We facilitate those discussions so that all participant voices and perspectives are heard. Those questions will be based on the needs and aspirations of the organization. Through us raising the questions, we push participants to:

  • Set/refine their organization’s direction and priorities (translation: “I know what I should do first.”)
  • Get everyone on the same page (translation: “I understand why decisions are being made and what my part is in meeting our goals.”)
  • Simplify decision making (translation: “I am better equipped to say, ‘no,’ and keep my work load manageable.”)
  • Communicate the message (translation: “I can tell our story in a way that is clear and excites others about the work we do.”)

In recent years, PLACE has assisted the following organizations with their Strategic Plans and/or annual Board retreats:

Uptown United, 2016
West Loop Community Organization, 2016
Downtown Evanston, Inc., 2016
Rogers Park Business Alliance, 2015
Northcenter Chamber of Commerce, 2013