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Align Your Board & Increase Your Chances of Strategy Implementation

By Anthony Taylor - April 01, 2022

SME Strategy is a strategy consulting company that specializes in aligning teams around their vision, mission, values, goals and action plans. Learn more about how we can help align your team with our strategic planning and implementation services.

Are you a CEO or Executive Director? I want to talk to you about the importance of getting your board aligned and engaged with where you want to go, and the direction of the entire organization.

My name is Anthony Taylor, I've been facilitating strategic planning sessions and supporting executive leadership for the past decade or so. One of the big challenges I see with small not-for-profits and new boards is that there often isn't alignment or there isn't always alignment between the CEO and Executive Director, board, and leadership. It's one of the reasons we get called in as facilitators to support those conversations.

Now, what ends up happening when those groups aren't aligned, is it becomes really frustrating for the CEO, and it becomes really frustrating for the board to be able to move initiatives forward. Not having that alignment can quickly deteriorate the relationship between the CEO and its board. So one of the big things that we do in our strategic planning sessions, which you can do as well, is to get really clear on what success looks like.

Frustration often surfaces because of differences in understanding and expectation. So as a CEO, what you can do is ask your board what success looks like for them. Now that could either be for the organization, or the relationship between you as the CEO/Executive Director and the board itself.

So what does success in that relationship look like? Most importantly, what does success for the organization look like? Because different members of your board might have different ideas of what success looks like. If you as a CEO are working within a board that has multiple versions of success, then you're bound to disappoint somebody, which only looks bad on you.

So the number one thing you can do is align your board and make sure that your board's version of success aligns with your version of success. Then, jointly work together to create a strategic plan in order to move that forward.
So the strategic planning process we follow looks at: Where are we at? Where do we want to get to? What's going to get in the way? and then What do we need to do to move that forward? By having those conversations with your board, you're going to be much more successful as a CEO or Executive Director, and it's going to help your board manage you.

 

Need help with your strategic planning process? A facilitator can help:Learn more about working with a facilitator

 

So really creating a supportive relationship both ways that's going to help ultimately move the organization forward to where it wants to go. We've been making a couple videos recently about stakeholder engagement. So whether you're on a board, an Executive Director, or CEO, managing a board or working with a board, you need to understand what's important to each of those groups, what's needed and required in terms of communication. You need to be bought in and engaged with one another. To make sure that everybody's expectations are clear, there are things you can do on the front end to support a successful relationship, and ultimately a successful strategy implementation.

So if you're feeling stuck or feeling like you and your board are all moving in different directions, make sure you go through the process of aligning on what success looks like, aligning on what the gaps are, and prioritizing a set course of action. It'll support your relationship, it'll support strategy execution, and it'll help your organization get to where you want to go.

If you're unsure of how to move forward in that process, you can reach out to us at SME Strategy, we can help walk you through the process of creating a strategic plan. We'll help align your board, key stakeholders and senior leadership to make sure that everybody's expectations and understandings are clear, and that everybody is moving towards their One Destination.

So be sure to visit us smestrategy.net. You can learn more about how we approach strategic planning. Then if you have any questions about how to align a board and a CEO or Executive Director, drop them in the comments. We'd be happy to answer them and share what's worked well with us.

So thanks so much for watching. I hope you enjoyed today's video on aligning your board and your CEO/Executive Director, and I look forward to sharing with you again.

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