Strategic Planning, Board Assessment & Facilitation

Strategic planning

Strategic planning is an essential tool for any organisation and a basic responsibility of the Board of Directors. Organisations that plan for the future are more resilient in the face of change, have clearer focus and are more successful. Our approach emphasizes collaboration, dialogue, clarity and focused implementation.

Having a sound business strategy, aligned with your Mission, Vision and Values, to guide decisions and actions is critical to your organisation’s long-term growth and sustainability.

We can help you define or clarify the right strategy for your organisation. We can help you with:

  • Strategic plan development
  • Community-based strategic planning processes, involving engagement of partners and/or external stakeholders
  • Collaborative visioning, goal setting and action planning
  • Organisational design and change management
  • Staff engagement and outreach
  • Annual general meeting and board retreat facilitation
  • Governance structures and implementation plans
  • Coaching, capacity building, training and toolkits
  • Evaluation of plans, programs or processes
  • Research services – including best practice reviews, qualitative research (focus groups, interviews) and quantitative research (surveys, questionnaires)

Cyr & Associates will create annual plans that clarifies your strategic direction and makes your goals achievable.

Our four-step process for strengthening your strategic plan includes:

1. Prepare

We meet with you to understand your business and objectives. During this phase, we also discuss your expectations and agree on a project timeline and confirm your management team’s commitment.

2. Assess

To assess your business and its current state, we:

  • conduct individual management interviews to gather input;
  • share management feedback with you and flag any alignment issues;
  • present our assessment of your current state to you and your team; and
  • plan a strategic planning workshop.
3. Strategize

We lead a one-day strategic planning workshop with your team during which we work together to define your organisation’s future state including your vision, mission and values, and to develop a strategic plan to operationalise the strategy.

4. Follow-up

We provide you with a final report that summarizes your current state, desired future state, and includes a detailed action plan of the strategies to achieve it. We also follow up with you to see how your plan is progressing and to offer advice.

We are strategic planning experts. We pride ourselves in excellent project management, deep stakeholder engagement, facilitated decision making, leadership coaching, research, and communications. We know how to ask tough questions and listen hard, producing plans that inspire action. 

Board Assessment:

Our assessments examine a range of factors impacting board performance, including: composition, culture, processes, director development, committees, quality of debate and strategic input, relationship between the board and management, shareholder communication and accountability, and succession planning processes.

Giving constructive feedback can be difficult and is often avoided in business and the at the Board level. However, not providing constructive feedback can and will be detrimental to relationships, and to overall Board effectiveness, over time. The reality is that constructive feedback is essential and is the impetus for effective management and positive change to build a solid foundation of trust and communication.

Assessing Board performance contributes to the effectiveness of the Board and your organisation by:

  • Identifying areas of focus for a high performing Board and aligning those priorities with board committees and actions.
  • Adding clarity to expectations, roles and responsibilities for Board members.
  • Creating a more collaborative approach to Board work and interactions with management.
  • Using member’s talents effectively to ensure results are aligned with expectations.

Common Outputs of the Board Evaluation Process

  • A detailed evaluation of the Board’s current governance effectiveness and operations
  • Input on future opportunities, threats and direction from current organisation leadership, Directors, Members, others
  • A summary of current and trending industry governance best practices
  • Recommendations for improving Board structure, committee structure and practices with the goal of increasing the organisation’s governance and operating performance
  • Enhanced discussion and focus amongst board members around the governance and purpose that will result in the greatest benefit for the organisation.

Typically, our Board Assessment process involves:

1. Governance Document Review

To review and identify outdated or inconsistent governance policies and processes. Review of by-laws and other Board governance documents including Board Minutes, Corporate Strategy Documents, other documents used by the organisation to direct governance and oversight.

2. On-line Board Surveys

To identify strengths, opportunities and perceptions of the Board and its members. The on-line survey is completed by Directors and the CEO; other Management, other stakeholders as determined by the Board.

3. Director and Other Stakeholder Interviews

To increase depth of understanding of the Board’s effectiveness.  Typically interviewees include a subset of the Board, the CEO and other participants identified by the Board.

4. Industry Best Practices in Governance

To identify trends and other changes in industry best practices that may impact the organisation from a governance perspective.

5. Presentation of Conclusions and Recommendations

To review the findings with the Board and discuss the implications and begin building a plan for increasing Board effectiveness.

Board Succession and Skills Matrix:

We can help you develop your framework for Board succession. Most Boards recognize the importance of CEO succession planning. They spend a great deal of time and rigor creating processes that secure and nurture top talent for that inevitable day when the CEO spot becomes available. However, in contrast, most Boards spend little, if any, time planning their own succession and assessing the composition of the Board today and its needs in the future.

Good governance practices suggests that succession planning for the Board and ensuring the right blend of skills sets are available is essential. Developing a Board skills matrix and a succession plan, identifying competencies, skills, and experience requirements is critical for effective governance and effective management.