Vantage Associates http://www.vantageassociates.com
Planning Is a Continuous Process
Many organizations think that strategic planning is something an organization does once every three or four years. They believe a five-year plan needs to be developed every five years. The truth is planning is most effective if it is done on a continuous basis. In fact, the most successful organizations are the ones that integrate planning into their overall management process. There are several reasons for this and here are a few:

Skill Development - Like anything else, planning is a skill that must be learned and developed. Regular planning provides managers with opportunities to practice and develop their planning skills. These skills include the ability to assess the environment, evaluate the competition, define and measure outcomes and communicate the vision and direction of the organization.

Turnover - Most organizations experience moderate turnover throughout the year. When planning is continuous, new managers have an opportunity to participate in developing the plan they are expected to implement. Commitment to any plan is directly related to the degree of participation in developing the plan. This is especially true among nonprofits where volunteer boards and term limits result in higher than average turnover.

Dynamic Environment - The recent recession and resulting uncertainty highlights the dynamic nature of our economy. Over the last few years, many managers know they must be nimble and able to adapt in order to survive. As a change management process, planning can help an organization navigate change in a positive way.

Communication - Regular planning is a way to increase the manager's awareness of the organization's priorities. This awareness helps influence the hundreds of small decisions made every day. This broader communications provides the context so many employee crave.

Nonprofit Salary Survey
One of the major responsibilities of a nonprofit board is to evaluate Executive Director performance and set compensation. Best practice for setting compensation requires an analysis and comparison to other organizations of a similar nature.

I recently completed a salary survey for Executive Directors of nonprofits in Alabama. The report and raw data can be down loaded at the following link: Nonprofit ED Salary Survey Results

If you have any questions about the survey or analysis, please send me an email at Jim Sisson.
Poll Question
The poll question last quarter asked: How likely is it the Supreme Court will overturn all or part of the new healthcare law? Here is the result:
28%Very Likely
39%Somewhat Likely
11%Don't Know (50/50)
22%Somewhat Unlikely
0%Very Unlikely
Our poll question this quarter is: The greatest challenge facing your organization is:

  • Hiring, training and retaining employees
  • Managing expenses
  • Managing growth/sales/revenue
  • Leadership/management succession
  • Customer/client satisfaction
  • We will report the results in the next issue. Click here to participate in our poll. You may return to the Poll Page to monitor the results as often as you like.
    Three C's of Planning
    When planning is done well, in addition to a plan, it will also generate other benefits

    Communications- In order to make good decisions about the future, an organization must develop a common understanding about the present. The decision makers must educate themselves and each other about the current situation and the most important challenges facing the organization. This is accomplished by clear and direct communication among managers.

    Consensus- Planning always requires making hard choices. It is essential the organization establish clear priorities. This is often a process of persuasion and negotiation. Through a combination of productive debate and clear analysis the planning process drives the organization toward consensus. This is even more challenging in nonprofits which tend to be more democratic in their decision making.

    Commitment- At the end of the day, the organization's commitment to the strategic plan is the most important factor in determining success. Even the perfect plan is doomed to fail if it doesn't have the commitment of the management team.



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