A Board Chair recently gave one of the best pep talks I’ve heard to rally a Board around a new strategic plan. He was speaking to a group of Board members with strong dissenting opinions, but members who also care deeply about the success of the organization.
In my last blog post, The Key to a Great Workout, I talk about how the strategic planning process can be challenging. It requires wrestling with tough questions about market threats and, at times, competing interests. This Chair acknowledged to the Board that during the planning process it was important to confront the status quo, ask hard questions, and have a point of view.
Yet, the Chair noted, at the point of plan adoption, it is no longer the time for dissent. He asked for the Board’s commitment to “own it”, reminding them of their responsibility to be advocates for the organization and its future direction – as laid out in the approved Strategic Plan. He appealed to the Board members to “support the plan with all your weight, and work fully toward its success.”
The strength of a Board often comes from the diversity of thought that members bring; yet, differing perspectives can lead to dissent. A strategic plan will likely come out stronger if there is room for opposition in the planning process. But, after approval, it’s time to put individual points of view aside in order to rally around the plan and work together for its successful implementation.