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Where do we begin?

The choice of a process to help you depends on a variety of factors, the most important being the current state of your organization. In the graphic below, click on the region that most closely fits your situation:On track Pursuing excellence Seeking improvements Changing direction Proceeding uneasily Just starting out Floundering

On Track

If your organization is in this enviable condition, you may not need Clarity's services at all! Remember, though, that your competitors will strive to catch up to you and pass you by... you must "run to stay in place". Your strategic plan, objectives, and mission will need periodic review and fine-tuning to account for the changing environment. Your leaders will need occasional refreshers on teamwork and leadership. And your meetings (long or short) can always use a little planning and facilitation help to keep them efficient, productive, and enjoyable.

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Pursuing Excellence

Your goals are in sight, but you are not there yet. This is a time for vigilance and hard work. Your leadership team must fine-tune its collaboration skills, and leaders' performance can be optimized with individual coaching. Your meetings are the main idea-sharing and decision-making arena, and must be efficient, effective, and motivating. Your members or employees may have ideas that will give you the "turbo-boost" to the finish line, and you need to encourage their creativity and ensure their support for your plans.

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Seeking Improvements

You have already come to the conclusion that you need to do something differently, but you may not know what. This may be an appropriate time to revisit your organization's purpose and strategic plan (if you have formalized one). You need to get your board of directors or leadership group working together to move the organization into the future, and individual leaders might benefit from individualized coaching. There are undoubtedly things that you could be doing differently as you conduct business, and a process optimization effort might yield substantial results. Since your members or employees know the most about your operations, it would be very beneficial to involve them in the problem-solving or future-seeking process.

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Changing Direction

For whatever reason, you have decided that your organization must make a major strategic change. Perhaps your product is no longer competitive. Or perhaps the demographic you have been serving has decreased in number. Or perhaps you must work under a new funding model that radically changes what you can offer. Your organization must take a hard look at itself, and then metamorphose into a new form... probably very quickly and efficiently. This process can best be done by using the brainpower and creativity already within your organization, via a future-definition event. The results of the visioning and planning can then be used to construct a new strategic plan that will guide your evolution. It may also be time to mobilize your leadership group, facing them with the challenge of becoming an effective, close-knit team. Because time is short and you won't have the opportunity to do this process over and over, your meetings need to be very productive. The meetings also need to inspire your members or employees to contribute to and support the change. (Once you meet the challenge of radically shifting direction, you can begin to think about assessing your processes and otherwise fine-tuning your operation.)

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Just Starting Out

If your organization is just getting started, you have the excitement of seeing all those possibilities in front of you, and the anxiety of knowing that it will take skill and luck to turn hope into success. The most important thing you can do at this point to devise a realistic plan for your organization's next three years, laying out the steps you must take and the criteria by which you will judge your progress. If you are very early in your organization's development, you may even still be looking for innovative ideas on how to proceed. This is also a great time for your board or executives to bond into a team, and to establish good meeting habits among all members of the organization. Finally, you yourself might benefit from some individualized coaching to help you meet the challenges ahead.

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Proceeding Uneasily

Your organization may be just recovering from serious problems, or perhaps you feel that you are on the verge of trouble. It's a very unsettling time, and you know that you cannot go on like this for very long without losing people or business. It's very likely that all the members of your organization know of the problems, and it's also likely that many of them have good ideas about how to turn things around; an Organization Imagination Event may be the perfect way to unearth the path forward while gaining the full support of the entire organization. You may also be experiencing some difficult teamwork or performance issues with your board or leadership group, and turning this around will be critical to your success. It also may be time to assess your processes since picking "low hanging fruit" can sometimes yield remarkable gains with a small investment of time or effort.

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Your organization is in trouble. It may have always been in trouble, or this may have happened recently as the result of changes in the business or political environment. You know that you must take radical steps if the organization is to survive. It is probably time to go back to basics, to assess why your organization exists and to revisit the strategic plan you are using to guide it. If there are personnel issues with your leadership or performance shortfalls in management group, you must act quickly to control the damage and repair it. Sometimes the best solution is to involve the entire organization in the process of discussing and resolving the problems, because they have many of the answers and will need to "buy in" to whatever solution is determined.

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