Strategic Planning and Leading in Uncertain Times

Change is hard. Complexity is even harder. Last week was challenging for many of us as we question how we lead through a presidential transition.  We don’t pretend to have all of the answers for what’s coming next, but we can offer some ideas for how to handle the uncertainty that comes with major transition.


1.     Dig into your plan.  This is why you have it.  As new possibilities come up, run them through your strategic plan and see how they fit with your long-term direction.  As new concerns arise, lean on your plan to guide your decision-making going forward.    

2.     Be guided by your mission.  Remember that you do good, important work in this world, often with tight budgets, too few staff members, and a passionate mission. Your goals and tactics may need to change, but the reason you exist, the change your organization is hoping to make in the world, hasn't changed. In fact it might be more important than ever.

3.     Explore scenarios once you have more information.  Take a deep breath – challenges like this require a healthy level of oxygen. Don’t feel like you need to jump into action right this moment. Give yourself time. Staying informed will help you find the balance between spending hours thinking about the solution to every possible scenario and being caught off guard and unprepared.

4.     Practice self-care.  If you haven’t spent time as a staff, or board reviewing WHY you do this work in a while, or just need a reminder, take some time in the next couple of weeks to recalibrate.  Make sure your decision-making processes are strong and you have enabled your staff and board to make important and appropriate decisions as they come. Check in more frequently and be transparent.

The staff at The Spark Mill is happy to chat with you about the challenges that lie ahead. Your success is important to us and we offer this help with no strings attached. We don't promise to have answers but we do offer to help you think strategically about impact.