The Decision-Making Power of a Values-Driven Strategic Plan in Business and at Work

A nonprofit organization near and dear to my heart grappled with some tough financial decisions this week as part of their annual budget process. Different volunteer factions in the organization were lobbying for their pet projects and budget line items.  There were some significant areas of disagreement; and the threat of an impasse resulting in no budget was real.

At the meeting to vote on the budget, the President of the Board of Directors did something that was at once both extraordinary and surprisingly practical in its simplicity: they read us the values and mission of the organization:

  • Joy
  • Compassion
  • Justice
  • A connected and growing spiritual community.

After they reminded the meeting participants of the organization’s Strategic Plan elements listed above, the President then clearly outlined how the budget decision-making process prioritized programs and initiatives supporting the growth of the organization’s spiritual community.

Since the needs of the organization (values, vision, mission) had already been identified through the organization’s earlier Strategic Planning process, there was no need to mediate the conflict (e.g., identify the needs to develop a solution resolving the areas of disagreement). The Strategic Plan was the lever that drove the budget decisions. After some spirited discussion, the organization’s budget was passed by the volunteer members present by an overwhelming majority.

How will you leverage your organization’s Strategic Plan (preferably, a one-page plan to help facilitate efficient decisions) to sustain and grow your organization for the future, in business and at work? Don’t have a Strategic Plan?  Then make your first decision to develop a Strategic Plan – soon.

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