5 Benefits of Strategic Planning

While most business owners understand the importance of having a strategic plan as a foundation for a sustainable organization, many are intimidated by the complexities and hard truths that are unlocked throughout the strategic planning process. So, they continue to put it off. Even more common is a strategic plan sitting on the shelf untouched and unapplied across the organization after all the hard work, insight, and aspiration was poured into it! When you align your organization to a shared North Star, you can increase operational efficiency, market share and profitability, as well as approach challenges proactively. Learn how to create a powerful, sustainable human enterprise by committing to strategic planning now!

5 Benefits of Strategic Planning

Strategic planning is not just for large companies – organizations of all sizes can benefit from this exercise! Set your organization up for long-term success through the creation and adoption of a strategic plan. Read about the five benefits of strategic planning below.

1. Identifies a North Star

Creating a strategic plan every three to five years provides a focused sense of direction for your organization to move towards collectively. This establishes necessary guard rails for aligning objectives and goals to your mission and vision. New space opens up for growth across all facets of your business, through resource allocation and efficient decision-making. When all stakeholders have a clear understanding of organizational goals, how and why they were chosen, and what they can do to help achieve them, you reinvigorate your staff with an increased sense of responsibility and purpose.

2. Increases Operational Efficiency

When you have a strategic plan in place, it is much easier to ladder up the functional activities of your organization to achieve set goals. In order to reach your objectives, management can refer to the strategic plan to make informed decisions surrounding resource and budget allocation, also and setting specific KPIs to measure progress along the way. With effective monitoring and enhanced communication between all stakeholders (with the strategic plan in mind!), your company can reduce waste across the board and increase operational efficiency.

3. Rejects Reactivity and Unlocks Proactivity

Strategic planning for long term goals allows your organization to prepare for all anticipated challenges on the horizon. Without a plan, you are subject to the volatility of market trends and forced to act from a position of reactivity instead of proactivity. Why not armor yourself with a strong strategic plan so that you can fortify your ability to benefit from future opportunities and stay one step ahead of the competition? When you foster a proactive business, you hold the reins to your company’s future success.

4. Increases Market Share and Profitability

When the efforts of your strategic planning have been implemented across all channels of your organization, it becomes easier to unlock insights on market trends, customer segments, buying behaviors, product and service offerings, and more! With a targeted approach towards your sales and marketing efforts, particularly one informed by your organization’s strategic intent, you are more likely to gain a stronger market position and increase profitability.

5. Creates Powerful, Sustainable Businesses

As industries and markets move through never-ending cycles of change, it is critical that businesses have clear foresight and strong foundations to survive long-term. The ability to effectively and efficiently adapt is empowered by a strategic plan that has properly assessed your strengths, weaknesses, resources, competitors, and current and desired future state. This will equip you to make smarter decisions, minimize risk, and create durability for your business. Having a strategic plan will empower your employees to unite around a shared vision, resulting in a powerful, sustainable human enterprise.

Begin the Strategic Planning Process with EVOLVE to Lead Today!

Ready to kick off your strategic planning? One of the first milestones in this work is assessing your current state against the future state you’re hoping to achieve within the next three to five years. When you take the time to define your long-term goals and develop strategies, tactics, timelines, and responsibilities to help you achieve them, you will truly reduce your risk and reap rewards. Kick-off your strategic planning process with EVOLVE to Lead today!

Coaching the Coach: What is Executive Coaching?

Have you been considering hiring an executive coach? Perhaps it has been recommended by your company to add an executive coaching engagement to your development program? At EVOLVE to Lead, we help you navigate the next steps in your professional journey with a focus on your personal values. We hold up the mirror and encourage you to ask yourself: Where am I in my life? Are there things I’ve really wanted to accomplish or confront in my current role that I’ve felt afraid to do? With an executive coach, you’ll be able to reflect on your current state, reveal what should be amplified or what needs to change, and finally reimagine the kind of impact you can have on your community. Learn more about how executive coaching can help you reach the next level of your career.

What is Executive Coaching?

An executive coach provides the most personal and individually tailored development for high-level decision-makers within organizations. While executives are typically high-performers on their own, a coach can help optimize leadership performance by revealing blind spots. Through the creation of a safe, structured space in their confidential one-on-one meetings, executives are encouraged to vulnerably fail forward. Executive coaches act as trustworthy sounding boards to unlock the executive’s potential by carefully walking them through the process of understanding their current competencies and creating the roadmap to achieve their goals. Depending on the relationship that is built between the coach and the executive, the coach will typically abstain from offering advice or definitive solutions to client problems. Instead, they will guide the executive through revealing questions to help them clarify and solve these problems themselves.

Who hires executive coaches?

While CEOs and business owners may make the decision to hire an executive coach, it is common for organizations to recommend a coach to a senior executive as part of an executive development program. Organizations typically invest in an executive coach if their leaders are being groomed for a larger role, need help resolving interpersonal or behavioral conflicts, or were recently promoted and need transitional coaching.

What is the executive coaching process?

When you engage with an executive coach, you can expect to work together for at least six months to one year. At EVOLVE to Lead, we collect 360-degree feedback and perform an individualized assessment from a variety of methodologies such as the DiSC assessment, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, or Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator. With an understanding of your current competencies and areas for growth, we then create an Individual Development Plan (IDP).  With this IDP as our shared North Star, we’ll routinely review the goals we set together on a weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis. As this is a relationship built on trust and continuous development, we dedicate ongoing one-on-one support on a monthly basis and commit to always showing up to meet you wherever you are on your journey. While these conversations are always confidential, if your organization was the one that engaged the coaching services on your behalf, we may provide periodic status updates on milestones achieved, but anything outside of this would only be shared with your permission.

What are the benefits of executive coaching?

While the measured results of executive coaching will be informed by the specific goals that were set within the IDP, there are certainly universal benefits of partnering with an executive coach. Whether it’s being a better leader or managing stress more effectively, all senior members of an organization can be elevated through executive coaching. Here are some of the many benefits you may gain from executive coaching:

  • Heightened self-awareness
  • Deeper empathy and emotional intelligence
  • Higher levels of motivation
  • More effective and flexible leadership
  • Creation of fellowship amongst the team
  • Increased results in targeted performance area
  • Optimization of existing strengths
  • Achieving personal career goals

Find Your Executive Coach at EVOLVE to Lead Today!

Are you ready to invest in one-on-one executive coaching to help you set and reach development goals, achieve heightened self-awareness, and improve your ability to lead and self-regulate? At EVOLVE to Lead, we coach senior executives along their personal and professional journey, helping them determine what needs to happen in order to actualize their highest selves. With our diversified experience across corporate, government, and nonprofit sectors, we understand the nuances within each of these institutional cultures, and the challenges that leaders face as a result of those structures. Begin your journey with an executive coach at EVOLVE to Lead today!

Change the Game with the ADKAR Change Management Model

While change is inevitable, this complex process is often viewed through the technical lens of implementation instead of stepping back and focusing on what will impact change the most: the people themselves. Organizations who invest in supporting individuals along the change spectrum and empower them to see themselves as part of the solution will see sustainable change across their entire workforce. So how can leaders facilitate this large-scale change amongst each employee? The Prosci ADKAR Change Management Model details five building blocks that help create lasting change at the individual level: awareness, desire, knowledge, ability, and reinforcement. Learn how the ADKAR Model can help leaders at your organization combat resistance to the people side of change.

The 5 Phases of the ADKAR Change Management Model

Roadblocks to implementing successful change often aren’t the changes themselves, but rather employee mentality towards that change.  Employees are often unaware of the personal and organizational benefits of adopting company-wide changes and unprepared to be successful in their new roles. Through awareness, desire, knowledge, ability, and reinforcement, you can help each team member effectively sustain the new practices that come with change. Let’s learn about the five building blocks of the ADKAR Change Management Model together to better facilitate individual change.

1. Awareness of the Need for Change

One of the biggest resistances to change is a lack of understanding why it is needed in the first place. Being transparent about the issues that brought about the change is key to building trust among those affected by this transition. Have empathy for the fact that asking for this change requires employees to step outside of their comfort zones. Meet each person where they are by opening up two-way communication such as clarifying the ROI of change, discussing what pain points to anticipate, and encouraging questions and suggestions from your employees. Ultimately, being upfront and clear about your reasoning behind the change well ahead of time allows your employees to have the confidence and willingness to accept what’s on the horizon.

2. Desire to Support the Change

While employees may understand why the change needs to be made, having the desire to participate is a whole other ball game. Inspiring the desire to change is probably the most difficult part of the ADKAR Change Management Model, as you need to appeal to the logical and emotional side of those involved. If your employees don’t have skin in the game and understand why the change benefits them personally, you will likely see roadblocks at every turn. Creating a feedback loop ensures that concerns and suggestions are raised, captured, and immediately implemented when relevant by creating a feedback loop.

3. Knowledge of How to Change

OK, so you’ve got people on board with wanting to make the change. Great! However, they can only implement that change if they are comfortable with the new procedures and know where they fit in the process flow. It is helpful to identify all existing knowledge gaps in advance and clearly define the skills that are needed to implement change every step of the way. To begin filling in these gaps and encouraging best practices for your employees, you should provide adequate training and documentation of the new processes and procedures for them to refer back to. Leaders of change management should also offer guidance on the soft-skills and behavioral changes needed to continue moving along the change spectrum.

4. Ability to Demonstrate Skills and Behavior

Just because an individual theoretically understands how to implement the change, doesn’t mean they will have the ability to translate it practically within their roles right away. To effectively make this shift, it is best to have some practice runs, reflect on what went well and what still needs improvement, and provide constructive feedback where relevant. This hands-on training can help avoid costly errors in the future. Think of it as the scrimmage before the big game.

5. Reinforcement to Sustain the Change

Once the change has successfully been implemented is not the time to relent. These processes and procedures are still brand new to your organization, and it is widely accepted that it takes 66 days before a new behavior becomes automatic. Reinforcement is a critical measure  to ensure that the change is sustainable and people don’t revert to old workflows. Providing positive reinforcement in the form of recognition, rewards, performance measures, and feedback, shows your employees the crucial role they play in helping the organization achieve its targeted results. To avoid backsliding on the change spectrum, lookout for parts of the process that aren’t working or bottlenecks that are forming, which can overwork and stress out your staff. By enacting a monitoring process after the change has been implemented, you can provide the proper support and resources to quickly correct any issues that have formed early on.  Now is the time to show your staff that you are committed to the change for the long run!

Implement the Prosci ADKAR Model with EVOLVE to Lead Today!

The Prosci ADKAR Model is built around successfully enacting change at the day-to-day individual level. Organizational change comes from the collective effort of each individual employee steadily evolving from their current state to their future state. Leaders of change management must learn how to support individuals along the change spectrum, including troubleshooting each step of the ADKAR model along the way. The work is complete when each employee confidently believes that they have the awareness, desire, knowledge, ability, and reinforcement to sustain this change. Implement the ADKAR Change Management Model at your organization with EVOLVE to Lead Today!

5 Virtual Fundraising Ideas During Covid-19

Nonprofit organizations commit to serving their causes when help is most needed, and boy does it seem like that universal siren is wailing louder and louder. With the COVID-19 pandemic effectively pausing any traditional in-person fundraising opportunities, it’s critical for nonprofit organizations to find ways to digitally engage their donor bases. While the global pandemic has limited resources and connections for all of us, it is so important to develop and nurture relationships during this difficult time between all those who are impacted by your organization. Check out our five virtual fundraising ideas to try during COVID-19 below.

Try Our 5 Virtual Fundraising Ideas During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Whether you are figuring out a way to move a highly-anticipated in-person event online or coming up with new ways to find community with your donor base, there are plenty of creative opportunities to successfully do so! Get started with our Top 5 virtual fundraising ideas to help your nonprofit raise money during the COVID-19 pandemic.

1. Online Gala

Why cancel your annual gala just because your community can’t gather in person? Between Zoom conferences, Facebook Live, and YouTube Live, there are plenty of ways to broadcast your virtual gala to your supporters. There are many benefits to hosting an online gala. Not only do your supporters get to watch from the comfort and safety of their own homes, but you will also save money on traditional overhead costs like a venue rental and catering. These live streaming fundraising events typically feature a keynote speaker. We recommend asking them to record their speech ahead of time and then join a live Q&A session immediately after for a smoother experience. Other popular programming includes hosting an award ceremony, where you can spotlight impactful volunteers, employees, or community members, and fundraising through a virtual silent or live auction. 

2. Virtual 5K

While it is still not safe to organize an in-person race or walkathon to benefit your nonprofit, you can host a virtual 5K! This allows community supporters to safely spend time outside, participate in a healthy activity, and show their support with members of their household. People can sign up with a donation-based registration fee for a set date and time where everyone walks or runs outside or on a treadmill on their own. Talk about together but separate! Another way to extend fundraising is to utilize peer-to-peer fundraising, where participants collect pledges for the distance they are willing to walk or run. Encourage participants to share photos on social media on race day and tag your organization for a chance to win prizes based on race winners, best costumes, best view, and more! Finish the day with a live-stream to celebrate your community of participants, present winning prizes, and give everyone the opportunity to connect and hear from leaders at your organization.

3. Virtual Cooking Class

Hosting a virtual cooking class is a great way to safely connect with your donors, the community you serve, and all your stakeholders during the pandemic. Lori’s Hands, an EVOLVE to Lead client and nonprofit organization that specializes in meaningful health service-learning exchange, hosted two virtual cooking classes during the pandemic! Most recently, they partnered with a local food vendor to deliver ingredient kits to participants who then learned how to make a famous dish from the city they launched a new chapter in. In addition to cooking and eating together on Zoom, they held a dialogue about their organization, sold raffle tickets for prizes donated by local businesses, and even had a local musician provide live entertainment while everyone ate dinner! For a lower lift, you can simply send out an ingredient list ahead of time for participants to purchase before the event, and a local chef or leader at your organization can pre-record cooking instructions, followed by a live Q&A. Hosting cooking classes are one of our favorite virtual fundraising event ideas!

4. Product Fundraising

One of the biggest rises in product fundraising we’ve seen during the pandemic is the selling of branded face masks. Not only can these items help provide a much needed new revenue stream during COVID, but they also promote health, safety and social distancing in your community. Product fundraising is a tried and true fundraising strategy because it incentivises making a contribution, diversifies fundraising opportunities for your supporters to get behind, and promotes brand awareness for your organization all at once. With your logo, tagline, or marketing campaign consistently at the eye level of your supporter’s networks, you have a built-in grassroots marketing campaign walking the streets whenever someone dons your mask!

5. Peer-to-Peer Fundraising on Facebook

There is no better marketing for your organization than advocacy from those who support your cause. Encourage your staff, board members, stakeholders, the people you serve, and your supporters to activate their own communities to support your organization through peer-to-peer fundraising. It’s particularly easy for supporters to set up their own fundraising campaign through your organization’s Facebook page. Facebook encourages users to set up fundraisers on their birthday and ask their friends and family to help them raise funds for an organization they care about. Make sure your supporters take advantage of Facebook peer-to-peer fundraising on Giving Tuesday in November when Facebook offers a matching gift to individual donors and organizations up to $7 million! Peer-to-peer fundraising creates a sense of community and purpose amongst your supporters and is great for bringing in brand new donors.

Try Out a Virtual Fundraising Idea with EVOLVE to Lead Today!

While it will take some adjusting, committing to virtual fundraising efforts throughout the new normal will allow you to continue building capacity and nurturing your relationships with your donors and the people you serve. If you need help executing any of the virtual fundraising campaigns above, EVOLVE to Lead has got your back!

3 Self-Reflections for Heroes and Helpers

How do you show up for people when they need you: are you the hero or the helper? As a leader in the workplace, there are plenty of opportunities for you to add value to your organization. And there are certainly no shortages of requests for your help.  When you lend a hand to a colleague, what are you looking to gain? Do you feel like you need to save the day or can you provide an assist? When offering support, do you need to lead the pack or can you harness the collective intelligence of the team? When the work is done, do you need public recognition or a private thank you? The way you answer these questions will reveal if you are operating from a hero or helper space. We’re calling out leaders who are ready to reimagine how they can show up for other people. Use our three prompts below to self-reflect on whether you show up as a hero or helper when you support others.

3 Self-Reflections for Heroes and Helpers

1. Do you feel like you need to save the day?

When offering your help to an individual or a team, do you find yourself responding in an authoritarian or service-oriented manner? A hero may feel that the people around them need their unique direction and guidance to succeed. By contrast, a helper reflects on the ways that they can add value and provide an assist based on what the team is lacking. A hero sees a group of people that need saving, while a helper sees a community that can be served. Before you offer your services to another, ask yourself: are you preparing to do the work for them as a rescuer, or intent on becoming their partner?

2. Are you empowering the collective IQ of the team?

As heroes begin to provide their services, they can fall into the trap of thinking that the best way to contribute to a team is by centering their own strengths above everyone else’s. With this assumption, they position themselves as the supposed smartest person in the room and disregard the collective superpowers of others. While heroes see themselves as the leader of the pack, helpers recognize that every team member has the ability to be a leader. By nurturing and cultivating everyone’s unique strengths, the helper’s main intention is to strengthen the collective. Because they understand that the cooperative, the group, is stronger than any one individual. As you work within a team, is it a one-person show or will you empower each person to bring their best self?

3. How do you need to receive gratitude?

After you have given your services to others, it is a natural reaction to desire appreciation or gratitude — there is no shame or shade in this! But after you have served others, do you find that you crave public recognition, or is it satisfying enough that the work speaks for itself? Generally, heroes may operate from an unhealthy ego space as they seek public acknowledgment for their personal contributions to the team’s success. On the other hand, a helper’s driving motivation is seeing the successful outcome of the group, they don’t seek public recognition, and private gratitude from someone else is typically satisfying enough. So at the end of the day when the work is complete, do you receive gratitude as a hero or a helper?

Confront Your Hero Syndrome with EVOLVE to Lead Today

As you navigate the way you lead a team, continue to ask yourself if your intentions are rooted in uplifting yourself or instead, empowering those around you. So many leaders unknowingly have a hero syndrome that they need to work through, and practicing mindfulness of how and why you come to people’s aid is a great step in confronting this complex. Whether you showed up today as a hero or a helper for your team, ongoing self-reflection and failing forward will help you in your journey of becoming an evolutionary leader. Continue to reflect on why you serve, reveal how it shows up in your teamwork, and reimagine what kind of leader you can be with EVOLVE to Lead today!