Meaningful strategy 1 (NCVO Annual Conference)


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Donald Ritchie, Strategy and Impact Adviser, NCVO

Clear and meaningful strategic direction is vital in challenging times. A strong strategy can ensure that the decisions you make today are in your organisation’s best longterm interests. Meaningful plans can help you to implement change in your organisations, take stakeholders along with that change and build effective cases for support and attracting sustainable funding. This workshop will feature the ‘10 Big Strategy Decisions’, a pioneering approach to charity strategy developed at NCVO, to give you an overview of what a meaningful strategy comprises and an opportunity to grapple with these decisions first hand.

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  • Sample workshop
  • Meaningful strategy 1 (NCVO Annual Conference)

    1. 1. Meaningful strategyDonald Ritchie, Strategy and Impact Advisor,NCVO
    2. 2. About today’s workshop• What is strategy?• NCVO’s 10 Big Strategy Decisions• The importance of process• Time for you to explore a couple of the 10 Big Decisions
    3. 3. What is Strategy?
    4. 4. Strategy is …A package of big picture and long term decisions that• Are driven by vision and mission• Set future direction for the organisation as a whole• Are outward looking• Focus on impact
    5. 5. Good strategy is …• Aspirational – the best decisions on the evidence at the time• Ambitious, but grounded in internal and external realities• Coherent – resolving any tensions between sets of decisions• Practical – leading to joined-up operational decisions• Agreed and owned by the key people involved• Well communicated – understood by your main audiences
    6. 6. A strategy is not a plan• Strategy sets out big decisions over a period of years• Plans set out how those decisions will be implemented• Strategy tends to be shorter and more aspirational, whilst plans tend to be more detailed and fixedAlso … strategy is not inflexible• It learns from experience and responds to external change
    7. 7. A good way to think about strategy …… is backwards Inputs Outputs ImpactsThen you can plan shorter-term implementation forwards Inputs Activities Outputs Impacts
    8. 8. There is a hierarchy of strategy decisions1. ‘Why’ decisions – come first as they drive all of the other decisions2. ‘What’ decisions – about the work that you will and won’t do3. ‘How’ decisions – key choices that frame delivery4. More ‘How’ decisions – about your ability to realise the strategy
    9. 9. Values in actionChoose one of your organisation’s core values, and think about: – Examples of how that value is embodied in the work of your organisation – What an outsider would make of your organisation without being told the valueWork in pairs: take 5 mins each to interview your partner
    10. 10. 1. Values 10. 2. Beneficiaries Improvements 9. Resources 3. Impact 10 Big Strategy Decisions 8. 4. ActivitiesCommunications & Outputs 7. Relationships 5. Focus 6. Position
    11. 11. Why?1. Values: your organisation’s beliefs & principles What are your values – about the world, and about how your organisation does things?2. Beneficiaries: who or what your organisation benefits Who exactly are your beneficiaries? What needs do (and will) your beneficiaries have? Which of those needs are you best placed to meet?
    12. 12. Why?3. Impact: the ‘change in the world’ you exist to achieve What actual difference will you make for your beneficiaries? This is the main driver for all of your other strategic decisions
    13. 13. What?4. Activities / Outputs: the key work areas that deliver your impact What activities will you offer, to make the best progress towards achieving your desired impact? o Don’t assume that what you have done before is still the best moving forwards o Remember that strategy is big picture – resist operational detail5. Focus: the tough choices that you make What will you not do? Is it realistic that you can deliver the remaining activities well?
    14. 14. How?6. Position: how you differ from similar organisations What is special, different or unique about your organisation?7. External relationships: your partners and competitors Which relationships will be key to delivering your strategy, which others will you need to manage, and what change is involved?8. Communications: how you wish to be seen by others Who are your key audiences, and what messages do you want to get across to them?
    15. 15. How?9. Resources: how your organisation will resource itself? And …10. Improvements: to maximise your impact and be ‘fit for purpose’ What funding will you need? What people, capabilities, skills and knowledge will you need? What systems, facilities and other resources will you need? What leadership, culture and ways of working will you need? How do these arrangements differ to what you have today … and so what needs to change?
    16. 16. Who exactly do you benefit?Discuss as precisely as possible who your beneficiaries areTo help flesh that out you can think about for example: - How many beneficiaries - Where they are - Why you support these ones (and not others) - Who you don’t support - Etc, etcWork in pairs: take 5 mins each to interview your partner
    17. 17. Good process makes good strategy
    18. 18. Four stages of strategy making1. Design and prepare the process: often undervalued – effort spent at this stage saves time down the line and makes for better results2. Research and analysis: gather any evidence you need, analyse it and validate your findings (but note: findings are not decisions)3. Options and decisions: generate options, carefully appraise those options, and then make your strategic decisions4. Implementation: communicate the strategy to your key audiences, put it into action, and then review to keep it fresh
    19. 19. Who to involve, how much and when?• Involving your people in strategy making brings real benefits: – It informs your choices and decisions – It develops understanding – It builds buy-in and commitment• There are two main factors in deciding who to involve: – The people that are directly affected by decisions and/or likely to be involved in their implementation – The culture of your organisation• Involving people at the right stage(s) of the process is important
    20. 20. Any final questions?
    21. 21. Thanks!And do keep in touch …✉