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From Strategy to Success


From Strategy to Success: Real-Time Strategic Planning in Action

Celebrating 100 years of delivering nonprofit human services and programs to residents of New York's Lower East Side and Brooklyn, Grand St. Settlement faced critical questions about the organization's future in light of new opportunities and changing community needs. 

Having just brought on a new executive director and seeing significant opportunities for growth, Grand St. opted to use La Piana Consulting’s Real-Time Strategic Planning framework to engage in a process to review and update its organizational strategy.

Executive director Robert Cordero describes what the organization was looking for: “We wanted clarity about strategies to be explored, tested, and put into practice, and to be aligned throughout the organization — board, management team, staff, and key partners and stakeholders — to resource and deliver on these strategies.” This need dovetailed with the Real-Time Strategic Planning approach to strategy development, which begins by framing strategy as “a coordinated set of actions designed to create and sustain a competitive advantage in achieving a nonprofit’s mission,” then engages the organization in a comprehensive process to articulate its organizational identity, understand the market in which it operates and the opportunities presented by this market, and determine how to best focus its unique strengths in strategies to advance its mission.

Grand St. sought several outcomes through this process, including that it would:

  • Be in a stronger position to successfully achieve its mission, through greater understanding of the external environment in which it operates, and through agreement on and confirmation of key strategies to respond to this environment
  • Gain greater clarity about the current state and culture of the organization and an enhanced focus on its priority work, issues, challenges, and opportunities
  • Clarify its understanding of its unique strengths and organizational identity, and how these support its strategic choices
  • Identify an organizational structure that is aligned with carrying out its strategies and will enable it to successfully achieve its mission
  • Develop clear guidance for how the organization will make ongoing decisions aligned with organizational strategies
  • Increase the skills and capacity of its staff and board to make ongoing strategic decisions, enabling the organization to respond to changes over time

With thoughtful planning, ongoing leadership from its board and staff, and a process guided by the Real-Time Strategic Planning approach to strategy development, Grand St. successfully achieved these outcomes and anticipates a vibrant future. Download this case study to learn more about Grand St.’s experience and to follow them on their journey from strategy to success.

Melissa Mendes Campos

To buy The Nonprofit Strategy Revolution, Second Edition: Real-Time Strategic Planning in a Rapid-Response World, click here.

To read more on authors David La Piana and Melissa Mendes Campos, click here.

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