Strategic Planning Services for the Not-for-Profit Association

Boards that attend to vision are more certain
to address that which has enduring importance.

John Carver

If you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there, but if you want to maximize the impact of your association on its industry, you need a focused approach, a road map and accountability in the vision. Using a Systems Thinking Approach™, Sue Radwan will work with you to develop your plan using a five step Systems Model, described below.  The finished plan will include timelines, delegation and how to evaluate progress and success. A unique aspect of Leading Edge facilitation is that the Board focuses on Governance and Leadership concerns and considers how the committee structure can bring a value-added role to the initiatives. As a result, the Board reviews the governance role as well as the means of the association. Support services available include member survey construction. The final report, of course, is prepared by Leading Edge Mentoring.

More on the Systems Thinking Approach® to planning

The Systems Thinking Approach™ , developed by the Haines Centre for Strategic Management, has as its core a deceptively simple but profound five-step Systems Model that helps leaders collaborate with key stakeholders to identify the best direction for their organization and then lead consistently in that direction.  The five steps are: Phase A: Desired Future State – identifying shared outcomes that take both practical reality and best possible results into account; Phase B: Key Success Measures – desired outcomes are quantified as mutually agreed-upon measures, so all essential parties define “success” in the same ways and can agree on the evaluation of results; Phase C: Current State Assessment – while many ‘strategic planners’ start with this phase, it actually only makes sense in relation to your desired outcomes – What strengths, weaknesses, resources, challenges, etc. do we have to achieve our stated vision?; Phase D: Closing the Gap – developing Core Strategies and action plans, and taking effective action to implement them fully, ensuring staff buy-in and stay-in over time; and Phase E: Future Environment Scanning – an on-going system to help leaders keep tabs on important trends and developments, determine which ones require action, and take action before they become problems. Such actions are integrated into the systems view of the organization, rather than representing divergence from the clear direction. 

The ABCDE Systems Model is supported by clear processes and practices for each step, including a Parallel Involvement Process for key stakeholders throughout the performance-based management process.  For example, we provide methods to help leaders gather feedback and input from key stakeholder groups, derive priorities and meaning from the data, reinforce employee engagement and the value of their contributions, and still retain final decision-making power.

Elected Leader Education

Dreaming is not only permissible for leaders, it is obligatory.
Yet Board members lose their vision as they tend to operational issues.

John Carver

Ultimately, the board is responsible for its own development, its own job design, its own discipline, and its own performance. But nothing changes if nothing changes. Shifting the attention of the Board is a process which takes training and consistent focus of the organization's leadership. Leading Edge Mentoring can provide the third party voice which helps the Board to realize its proper role as the moral trustees of their industry, focused on broad strategic direction and connection to the community membership.

Elected Leader Education content might include:

  • The Nature of Associations
  • Roles & Responsibilities of the Board
  • Aligning the Board and Committee Communication
  • Introduction to Policy Governance®
  • Enhancing the Board's Group Process
  • Team Building
  • Skills to Govern

Here are some testimonials from recent attendees of Sue's workshops and clients:

  • I have been thinking about you so much over the past couple weeks….thinking about what an awesome job you did ...Everyone I have talked to had only glowing remarks about how well you facilitated the planning session. Then... I saw the documents you produced from the weekend and I was even further amazed! FANA has utilized several other strategic planners over the years and you have totally eclipsed all of them! Tina Kautter, KMP Management Company, Altamonte Springs, Florida
  • Sue is inspiring.  She knows her stuff.  I try to catch every class she leads!
  • Sue is always enlightening and I always come away from a 'Sue Class' enriched and better for spending time in her presence.
  • Relaxed and interesting speaker.
  • I like how Susan found out a little about us prior to the workshop so that she could address the different issues that the majority of us were facing.
  • Sue was excellent.  Her information was presented in a concise, thorough and understandable manner.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, a good comment collector and redirector.
  • A good orator
  • Forward thinker
  • Sue, this is a chance to say that knowing you and the commitment that you have for your work and efforts to make a change, as if it was your home, is very inspiring and provides faith that the future carries better life to us all, even across the continents. Randa Muasher, Amman, Jordan
  • We wanted you to know how pleased we were with your presentation last evening.  You did a great job with your overview of policy governance and linking it to the Girl Scout documents!  I was very impressed! 
  • "thanks for your excellent coaching.  This is the most rigorous thing I've done in years and your support and tips really serve as guideposts."
  • I thank you for your work on this project.  I continue to get very positive reviews from our members.  It was a home run.”
    Mark Light, CEO, International Association of Fire Chiefs
  • Sue, you really opened my eyes to a new way of looking at organizations and strategic planning-thank you for a terrific experience”.
    Elise Lovell, MD
  • I want to thank you for your exceptional work in a short amount of time.  What is particularly impressive is your ability to understand the organization and then find solutions.
    All of which are wonderfully organized. My applause to you. You may take as many bows as you wish because they are well deserving”. 
    Barbara Banisikowski Smith, Artistic Director, Greater Lansing Ballet Company
  • Your presentation on Knowledge Management was a WOW!!! Your depth of knowledge and enthusiasm was enthralling to me—could have listened for hours!”
     Jayne Fifer, Volusia Manufacturing Association
  • Sue has served as the chair of the St. Michael Pastoral Council for the last 4 years.  During that time she has exhibited exemplary leadership, helping our council to have much more productive meetings.  She has provided a very workable structure to our agenda that has been invaluable to the Executive Committee in keeping our meetings focused on our mission and purpose.  I am very grateful for her service.“
    Father Jim Eisele, Pastor, St. Michael Parish Grand Ledge, MI
Policy Governance Consulting
  • Is your Board confused about what its job really is?
  • Has your Board lost sight of its duty to the membership?
  • Is your Board stuck in operations and micromanagement?
  • Are the structural boundaries of your organization caving in or nonexistent?
  • Is the energy of your Board stagnant?
  • Do you ever think there just has to be a better way?

If you answered "yes" to any or all of the questions above, Policy Governance® just may be the answer you are seeking. Attend an "Intro to Policy Governance®" session with key Board people to evaluate if there is something in the model for you to explore further. Contact Sue Radwan at (517) 256-4786 for current dates and locations. If your Board is already a Policy Governance® Board, consider Leading Edge services to help educate and maintain the board's focus on responsible and rational governance. Policy audit, Ends facilitation, Board assessment and Board coaching services are available.

Other Services Available
  • Professional Educational Curriculum Design
  • Distance Education Course Design
  • Facilitation of Community Dialogue
  • Vision Facilitation
  • Team Building
  • Coaching the Public Speaker
  • Coaching the Board in Effective Group Process
  • Style Analysis Profiling
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