9 Reasons to Expand Strategy Development Participants

High performing boards engage in strategy development. But, high performing organizations engage more than just their boards in the strategy development process.

Although the Board is responsible for approving strategy and 68% of non-profits report that staff and board work jointly to develop the strategy (Gazley & Bowers, High Performing Board), good strategy is developed by actively engaging a broader group of stakeholders. Certainly, many associations feed member survey data into the process; but, this isn’t enough. Including stakeholders beyond the staff and board in the strategy development retreat or think tank produces better strategy and conveys added benefit to the organization.

Of course, significant thought must be invested in determining who beyond the board should participate. Stakeholder groups that you should consider including are: staff, non-board members, former members, potential members, allied association executives and other key ally organizations.

In addition to considering the stakeholder group potential participants belong to, one should consider the personal attributes and background of the individual. As you consider individuals, don’t discount those who may have dissenting views from the majority or those that are disruptors. Good strategy comes emanates from diverse perspective.

Here are my top 9 reasons why you should engage participants beyond the Board:

  1. Diverse perspective facilitates creative thinking and allows for 360-degree analysis.
  2. Social intuitive environmental scanning efforts are enhanced.
  3. Broader support for strategy execution is developed.
  4. Transparency is added to the process and organization.
  5. Communication of the final strategy is more effective and efficient.
  6. The message that your organization values stakeholder input is communicated.
  7. Alliances and relationships are strengthened.
  8. A positive message about your organization is delivered and its image is elevated.
  9. Better strategy is developed.

Can you name a 10th reason?

As you seek to expand your participants, consider member type and size, functional background, supply chain level, industry sector, and demographic diversity. Start by filling the obvious diversity gaps that exist within your board and go from there.

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