Three Keys to a Great Strategic Plan
The Backbone of Strategy
A good strategic plan should address a core set of questions – here are three simple and basic ones that we always push our partners to answer:
What does an organization do uniquely well?
What does an organization need to get better at?
What should an organization not be doing at all?
Why Goals Matter
Here we lay out a simple set of five questions that provide the backbone of any strategy or strategic plan. If an organization can answer these five questions clearly, it has a sound underlying strategy, even if it is not written down anywhere.
Five Critical Questions for Every Organization
As we frequently find ourselves emphasizing at Maliasili Initiatives throughout all our work with our partners, the single most important question any organization needs to answer is: What do we want to achieve? The key to answering this question, and in building the systems and plans to help an organization achieve its core purpose and mission, lies in setting good goals.
Organizations are both complex and simple. They are complex in that they are made up of different people, working together to solve difficult social problems that often operate at multiple scales and over long time horizons. Successful organizations tend to grow, which adds to the scope of work, level of resources, number of relationships that must be managed and so forth. Thus growth and success only increase an organization’s level of complexity.
The Sustainable Development Goals need Strong Organizations
We find that outstanding organizations, focused on results and achieving large-scale impact, also tend to be hedgehogs. A focus on solving a particular problem, and refining a specific methodology that produces consistent results, is in line with the ‘hedgehog concept.’ This kind of focus characterizes an organization like Lion Guardians, with its rigorous approach to resolving conflicts between people and lions, or Mpingo Conservation and Development Initiative, which its replicable methods for community forest management.
Forests need people - and strong organizations
This is an exciting and daunting week for the world. For three days global leaders, pop stars, development experts, and citizen activists will convene in New York City with the ambitious goal of setting an agenda to end poverty, empower women, feed the hungry, and protect the environment – among others. This short (3 minute) video by IIED provides a clear and succinct overview of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):
Where MCDI works, the future for people and forests looks brighter. And while MCDI has made considerable progress in scaling it’s efforts, it’s operations cover only a fraction of the country. So, in going back to the Congress’s theme, if you want to invest in a sustainable future for people and forests, strengthening leading organizations like MCDI is a great place to start.