Friday, May 13, 2011

Cutting Edge Planning…..Girl Scouts of America

The Girls Scouts of America have embarked on a “Strategic Learning” process and currently, the Minnesota and Wisconsin Lakes & Pines Council is undertaking this process of creating and implementing “winning strategies” as developed by Willie Pietersen.

I feel fortunate to have been invited as part of the team and found the process to be quite in-depth but amazingly rewarding and I’ve learned a lot about the process as well as the Girl Scouts. The first step of the process was the most intense, which was to learn by generating key insights into the external environment and the organization’s own realities through a “deep dive” into research & analysis. There were five categories of inquiry: Customers, Competitors, Stakeholders, Sector Trends, and Our own Realities. I was assigned to Sector Trends.

This is the first time that this method for strategic planning has been done by a not-for-profit but the principals are the same and have been extremely successful in for-profit businesses. Strategic learning is a practical leadership process for mobilizing five competencies to create an adaptive enterprise.

The five competencies include:
1. Insight: the ability to make sense of the changing environment
2. Focus: the ability to create an intense focus on the right things
3. Alignment: the ability to align & mobilize the entire enterprise behind the strategic focus
4. Execution: the ability to implement fast
5. Renewal: the ability to these things over and over without stopping (a cycle of renewal which separates truly dynamic organizations from those that are doomed to become tomorrow’s dinosaurs)

During the most recent retreat, the team moved from the situation analysis to defining strategic choices. From the strategic choices, we worked in small groups and then came together to develop the winning proposition and key priorities.

Currently, the Board of Directors is taking the time to review the strategic choices and the planning team will meet once more (in June) for alignment and implementation. This process will define the gaps between today’s realities and the desired key priority (future state). I’m looking forward to this session and learning more about this process.

If you are interested in learning more, read the full document that describes the process.
Kathy Grochow, NRS, St. Cloud

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