Boston Nonprofit Leaders Convene to Discuss How to Effectively Manage Strategy In the Face of Unprecedented Challenges
Boston, May 22, 2009 — More than fifty nonprofit executives from the greater Boston area convened last week to discuss the importance of managing strategy in challenging economic times. Hosted by Ascendant Strategy Management Group, a consultancy focused on helping nonprofit and public sector organizations increase their impact, the event focused on the role that executive meetings have in the strategy management process.
Dr. David P. Norton, best-selling author, originator of the Balanced Scorecard concept and founder of Palladium Group, kicked off the working session by putting strategy review meetings in the context of the strategy focused organization. He cited research which shows that fewer than one in ten organizations effectively execute strategy - many simply because they don't invest the time necessary to manage strategy.
Ted Jackson, Managing Partner at Ascendant, then spoke in detail about management meetings and the role they play in managing strategy. He described the typical frequency and purpose of these meetings as well as how to prepare and execute effective management meetings. Most of the organizations in attendance confirmed the research that Dr. Norton cited: They either did not conduct strategy meetings, or they were never able to make decisions during the meetings they did hold.
The conversation was then joined by Marjean Perhot, from Catholic Charities Archdiocese of Boston. Ms. Perhot explained how their new method of reporting was able to align the field staff with the management team. "The direct line staff 'get it,' and they were happy to help collect data and demonstrate how their work links with the strategy of the organization," said Marjean. "Our board members were able to understand our progress and align their activities and requests to our strategy. Because of our use of the Balanced Scorecard, we have become a 'go-to' agency for the government during this financial crisis."
Sarah Long, from ACCION International, a microfinance industry leader, then spoke about their recent Balanced Scorecard reporting process. Sarah discussed the power of putting qualitative and quantitative information together for the Board of Directors. "One of our board members was jumping with excitement when he saw the clarity of the presentation of the metrics and their clear link to the strategy," Sarah said. She also spoke about the effort to pull together such a report, "It wasn't easy, but it was worth it."
Dr. Norton wrapped up the presentation by explaining "Today, I was here to learn from you. What I saw and heard was that you can make a meaningful impact in a very short period of time. It is great to see so many prestigious organizations in this community - like the YMCA, Mass Mentoring Partnership, Christian Science Monitor, and The Boston Foundation - coming together to learn from each other how to execute strategy. I look forward to our next conversation."
Ascendant Strategy Management Group helps nonprofits, agencies, associations, and foundations manage strategy, collaborate with stakeholders, and build communities around their strategy execution efforts. We offer Balanced Scorecard and performance management training, facilitation, and consulting to help organizations accelerate mission results. For more information, visit Ascendant online at http://www.ascendantsmg.com.