If you haven’t seen the recent Saturday Night Live skit featuring partygoers awkwardly conversing at their first post-pandemic social gathering, you’re in for a treat. The characters attend the party because they think they should, but most of them are secretly wondering if they were actually ready to get back to normal. How do you know when you’re ready to do anything after the year we’ve just lived through?
The same is true for nonprofit and school leaders who are contemplating embarking on large-scale strategic initiatives such as strategic planning. Launching this work should be carefully considered in the best of times. So, what’s the best way to know if your team and community are ready to take it on now? Here’s what nonprofit and school leaders who are kicking off strategic planning initiatives right now, are telling us about how they knew it was time.
Before the pandemic, our organization would jump on every opportunity. We would develop programs when there was financial support vs. developing programs because they were seen as essential. This was only compounded during COVID-19 when we didn’t have a plan as a framework for decision making—yet we made hard decisions, nonetheless. We knew the minute we saw light at the end of the tunnel we needed to do the work.”
Make no mistake, we were doing well as a school before COVID-19—but the way our administrators, our teachers, and our families rose to the occasion these past 15-months, you would have thought we had pandemic contingency plans in place for years. Pulling together as we did helped us see ever so clearly how aligned we are as a community, and how well-suited we are to crushing goals when we put our minds to it. We couldn’t wait until we could harness that collective power toward proactively advancing education and our school.”
We contracted in budget and headcount by a considerable factor. So we’re a smaller organization now that is doing more with less. The needs are still there, but we’ve had to be realistic about what we need to do vs. what we can do given our new situation. We know we’re not going to snap back to the same headcount /revenue overnight — our strategic plan will guide the way.”
Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) work has always been a high priority for us as a school, but it has taken on next level importance today. We want to rethink everything we do as a school and leave no stone unturned in the way we dismantle deeply ingrained habits of mind.”
Now we are ☺”
If any of these reflections sound familiar, you may be ready to embark on a post-pandemic strategic planning initiative of your own.
Director of Education Strategy Romayne Levee leads our education practice, working with independent schools and educational organizations to raise their profiles with strategies that benefit school leaders and their communities immeasurably. She has developed dynamic strategic plans and brand strategies for Mission Minded clients from coast to coast, including San Francisco Day School, Friends School of Baltimore, and Marlborough School (LA). Romayne is the founding Board Chair of Vistamar School, an independent high school in LA, and currently serves on the Board of Lewis & Clark College.
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