Achieving Strategic Clarity - Full Curriculum

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Step 1: Understanding the Importance of Strategy

  • Online individual work: You will become familiar with the tools of intended impact and theory of change and the role these play in supporting a great strategy. You will reflect on the decisions that you think could be aided by gaining strategic clarity. You will also reflect on and recommend a set of team norms.
  • Live team workshop: As a team, you will identify major decisions for which your organization needs strategic clarity. You will also share your individual reflections on the program’s process and decide on team norms.

Step 2: Defining your Impact

  • Online individual work: You will learn about intended impact statements, which define who you seek to serve and the impact you seek to have. You will also learn about what makes an intended impact statement effective and review examples from other organizations. Then each team member will draft an intended impact statement to share during the team workshop.
  • Live team workshop: As a team, you will review each other’s intended impact submissions and identify areas of agreement and difference. You will then work together to draft an intended impact statement for your organization that outlines who you seek to serve and the impact you seek to have.

Step 3: Developing a Theory of Change

  • Online individual work: You will learn about the key elements of an effective theory of change, and review examples from other organizations. Then you will individually draft a theory of change, which outlines how your organization seeks to achieve impact, to share during the team workshop.
  • Live team workshop: You will review each team member’s draft theory of change and reflect as a group on areas of agreement and difference across the submissions. Together, you will develop a first draft of your organization’s theory of change that outlines the work your organization seeks to do and the metrics that will help to evaluate your success. You will also identify key questions that your team will want to revisit later.

Step 4: Testing your Approach

  • Online individual work: You will review your team’s intended impact statement and theory of change drafts against criteria such as the impact approach and support you’ll receive from staff, donors, and the community. Reflecting on these criteria and the urgency of the questions facing your organization, each team member will identify the open questions that you believe are most important to address as an organization.
  • Live team workshop: Your team will discuss where you feel least confident about your intended impact statements and theory of change drafts, and where you feel learning is most critical. Together, you will identify three learning questions, or questions that require additional testing, research, and input, and assign questions to team members to explore and answer.

Step 5: Developing a Learning Plan

  • Online individual work: You will learn about different approaches to research and apply these to focus and refine the learning question you’ve been assigned. You will then draft a learning plan to get to a “good enough” answer to your learning question. (You may collaborate with other team members assigned the same question.)
  • Live team workshop: You will share your draft plan to make progress on your learning questions and solicit feedback from the team, including screening for biases and looking for opportunities to simplify the work. As a team, you’ll then map out your overall learning plan at a high level.

Step 6: Living your Emerging Strategy

  • Online individual work: You will spend time reflecting on the process so far and hear from nonprofit leaders about how they have gained and maintained strategic clarity within their own organizations. Each team member will reflect on questions related to how your organization engages stakeholders and the specific implications of what you’ve learned to date.
  • Live team workshop: As a team, you will reflect on your intended impact statement and theory of change drafts and determine the implications for your organization. You will then discuss how you will engage stakeholders as you continue to refine your drafts and revisit the major decisions you defined in step 1, outlining the implications of your emerging strategy on those decisions and any other areas that surfaced during these discussions.
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