Asked Questions

I recently referred a colleague to your website and I thought I would drop you a note to tell you how much I enjoyed your workshop on strategic planning at the NeighborWorks conference in December. It has fundamentally changed the way I think about this issue. Many thanks for making the time to share this information with agencies like ours.

— Denise Matyka,
Executive Director, Project Home

How do I know my organization needs a Breakthrough Strategy?

First you need to figure out the size of your organization's Mission Gap – the unmet needs of those you serve. Most non-profits have significant gaps between what they say is the difference they want to make and the reality of their situation. If you are satisfied with the status quo, you don't need a Breakthrough Strategy. But if you want to make even more of a difference, a Breakthrough Strategy approach is what your organization needs.

How do I get my board and staff in agreement that we can do better?

We believe that starts with a conversation with board and staff members, and perhaps key volunteers, to determine if all are committed to doing better. You have to take an unadorned look at your organization's Mission Gap and determine if there is true desire to close the gap more effectively. Understand that there are no magical ways to close gaps overnight. It takes insight, commitment, and hard work to close the Mission Gap and more effectively serve society.

How long does a workshop last?

After a needs assessment is performed, we can determine how best to assist an organization and determine the length of workshops. A Breakthrough Strategy Workshop is typically one day in length. Leadership and Teamwork Workshops are tailored to an organization's needs. Half-day, full day, and two-day workshops are norm.

How long is the strategic planning process?

Many organizations seek an instant fix to developing strategies that close their Mission Gaps. Instant fixes may see some short-term success, but almost always end in long-term failure. Strategy development, when done well, usually takes a few months to a full year, depending on your organization's situations and needs. For a longer answer, see Chapter Two of the Mission Impact book.

Isn't reading the book and workbook enough to do the process ourselves?

We believe that the needs in our society are so great that breakthroughs are required. We designed the Breakthrough Strategy process so many non-profits could work their way through it using the book and workbook — especially those that cannot afford a consultant. But we strongly recommend using consultants, even if you don't use us. Consultants bring objectivity, process support, and an accountability check. In our case, they also bring a depth of knowledge of how to harnass the power of the Breakthrough Strategy process for your organization. We understand that non-profits have financial constraints and can work with you in a variety of ways to keep expenses to a minimum. Our clients believe the objectivity and experienced insights we bring to the planning process are a small investment to ensure that they excel in mission achievement.

Why aren't establishing organizational values part of the Strategy Development process?

Organizational values are critically important to how an organization operates. However, we are rigorous in how we use the word ‘strategy.' Organizational values aren't part of strategy, but they have influence on strategy. If your organization wants assistance in defining its values, we can include that as part of the process. We would typically add a values statement to the mission statement review process.

How can we afford consulting fees?

Our consulting and workshop fees are nominal and affordable by most non-profits. We believe that your investment in outside expertise will produce breakthrough results for those you serve. Getting strategy right has serious implications for those you serve, as well as for your donors, staff, board, and volunteers.