Everyday there are many nonprofits in the world moving through the beginnings of a strategic plan. In every one of these sessions, nonprofit boards are creating the roadmap for their organizations, which is exciting. But, there are many executive directors that are dreading the possibility of overloading their staff with too many initiatives. How can an executive director effectively manage expectations during the strategic planning session without putting a damper on the board’s enthusiasm?
An overworked staff of a nonprofit is staff that does not have the ability to focus on the strategic areas of the organization effectively. It does not benefit the board, the members or staff to engage in a plan that requires more time than staff or other resources are available. Unfortunately, this happens quite a bit and there is one simple “fix” that can be applied without putting a damper on the enthusiasm that takes place when a nonprofit plots its future path. That “fix” is to ensure that both staff and the board understand the people resources available to help execute the strategic plan of the organization in order to make it a success. Tracking time, understanding return on investment of staff time (ROI), developing an effective work plan and budgeting are critical elements in managing expectations and achieving high levels of results.
Setting expectations and providing your board with a complete picture of where resources are allocated helps to ensure progress on your strategic plan and continue on an exciting path while providing better results and overall satisfaction for your team. The American Psychological Associationnotes that 69% of employees report that work is a significant source of stress and turnover. In fact, an article on Workforce.comnotes that 40 percent of employees participating in their study cited stressas the primary reason for resigning from a job. You can still have an exciting planning session that yields excellent goals and strategies, but ones that are in line with staff and volunteer resources. Keep your team and board happy by giving them the tools to set an organizationalcourse that continues to soar and not crash and burn.