Building shared understanding, commitment, and alignment with groups is a process. It can be critical to an organization when the stakes are high, the group is new to each other, or there has been an immense amount of change. I don’t think there are many of us that can say we haven’t dealt with a lot of change, especially the last two years. Alignment and action toward goals do not happen overnight. Planning takes time, especially virtually, but the benefits of finding alignment and action in a group include increased engagement and sustained commitment.
I like to use the Institute of Cultural Affairs’ Technology of Participation process for strategic planning and action planning to help groups align their vision, strategies, and ideas turning them into tactical steps. A good example of this is my work with the Pinellas Conservation Coalition, a new to each other group working to use their collective influence, power, and knowledge to advance land conservation and acquisition in Pinellas County over the next several years.
After a handful of meetings with their small planning committee we co-created a process in which they identified stakeholders to be involved, designed a visioning workshop, and a series of action planning workshops. All were done online using Zoom, Google Slides, and Trello for collaboration. The group explored what victory would look like by the end of the year, crafted their commitments, and developed a coordinated work plan. They identified leaders to work on the action plan and formed action teams over 3 workshops in 3 months. They now have a coalition vision built by the entire membership that the coalition leaders are working to implement together. As one participant stated, “I found this to be the best organizational experience I’ve been involved in (and there are many). Categorizing and prioritizing the mission, goals, and actions of the group, through the process, enabled a real structure and focus for launch. Real volunteers stepped up to provide the committee structure to move the process forward”.
The group was able to align and create action through structured, facilitated, and co-created designs and workshops. I can’t wait to see where they will be in the next several years with conversation. They are turning their alignment into action! Align your team by engaging them in a process that evokes creativity, accountability, and focus. What if we could engage your group in a 2-day strategic planning process to launch you into 2022 with strategic directions and a plan for the first year? Imagine what your team could do if they were aligned and moving forward together.