Commentary
 
Strategy workshop
Case histories
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The need for strategic thinking
One of the critical and often devastating weakness of public-interest organizations – from major operating organizations to labour unions to small advocacy groups - is the lack of bold strategic thinking or, for that matter, a lack of strategic thinking of any kind. Even when they have the financial resources to allocate to a strategic approach, they often end up not doing so. They either don’t make the connection between the environment they’re working in and what they are trying to achieve, don’t think they can change that environment, are victim to the bureaucratic law that trivia (and relatively easy, short-range tactics) rise to the top….or are just not used to thinking strategically. When they ultimately fail to reach their objectives, they remain convinced that they did everything that they could, not grasping the real reason behind their failure. It’s as if the organization had a missing gene.

Our workshop on strategic thinking explores this disconnect and its causes, using a case-history method; establishes working principles for strategic thinking, and then goes on from there to help outline the specific strategic challenges facing the client group. The results then serve as the basis of a strategic plan, leading in turn to an implementation plan and strategically oriented action.

Workshop on strategic thinking
Case histories of failure by strategic omission

The potential of small organizations
Small organizations are sometimes so overstressed by lack of adequate staff and resources that they don’t have the energy or the leisure to move ahead or even to increase their volunteer base, and they end up struggling with routine chores, unable to innovate, and wondering from year to year how they are going to survive. Yet small organizations have potential advantages of their own. They are usually close to their communities. They have a specific, well-understood mission. And those who are engaged in the organization's work are quite dedicated.

Although many small organizations may not have the resources to retain a consultant, we at Herschel Hardin Associates are still interested in contributing our expertise in organizational development and providing help. We have two different program formats that can be customized to suit any budget: (1) an operational audit/organizational analysis, and (2) a step-forward workshop that explores how to move one's organization ahead to the next stage. If you’re involved in managing or governing a small organization and are looking for ways and means of getting “over the hump,” please feel free to contact us.
Copyright © Herschel Hardin 2005
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