Best Board Books #14: Two Tools in Two Books – Part 2

By John Pearson

In Part 1 of this two-part blog, I quoted R. Buckminster Fuller who said, “If you want to teach people a new way of thinking, don’t bother trying to teach them. Instead, give them a tool, the use of which will lead to new ways of thinking.”

That insight is on page one of Scaling Up, a brilliant book that oozes with helpful tools. My recommendation: buy the book and download the “One-Page Strategic Plan (OPSP)” tool—and it will revolutionize how your board thinks about mission alignment. (And...inspire several board members to also read Breakthrough.)

Book #14:
Scaling Up: How a Few Companies Make It…and Why the Rest Don’t – Mastering the Rockefeller Habits 2.0, by Verne Harnish
(Order on Amazon)

The helpful tool in Nonprofit Sustainability (my Part 1 blog) was on page 25. Today’s featured tool in Scaling Up is on page 125. Easy to remember, right?

As you look ahead to the new year, you’ll appreciate Verne Harnish’s “One-Page Strategic Plan” template (11” x 17”) and his detailed color commentary. He writes, “Many people have dreams. However, a vision is a dream with a plan: a One-Page Strategic Plan.”He adds:

“To flesh out the vision, you need to answer seven basic questions: who, what, when, where, how, why, and the often challenging question, “But should we or shouldn’t we?” These questions anchor the seven columns of the OPSP. If you ever feel confused by the terminology that comes with strategic planning, always come back to these seven simple questions.

I mentioned in Part 1 that all you need to read is page 25 of Nonprofit Sustainability. But when someone on your team or board reads page 125 in Scaling Up—you will be unable to resist reading the entire book! I’ve named it my 2018 Book-of-the-Year (read my review).

The author suggests that managers work on the SWOT analysis, but senior teams (and I would add board members) should focus energies on SWT (Strengths, Weaknesses, and Trends). blogger Steve Moore

Before your next board retreat (perhaps focused on your strategic plan), inspire board members to pre-read the “One-Page Strategic Plan” chapter in Scaling Up, plus the insightful strategic planning book, Breakthrough: Unleashing the Power of a Proven Plan, by Randon A. Samelson (read my review).
Using the six-step "strategic plan" in 1 Chronicles 28-29, Samelson also shares his insights on King David’s baton pass to his son, Solomon. This is one succession plan that actually worked! The temple was completed. Solomon thrived. Outgoing CEO David did not whine in the background.

BOARD DISCUSSION: If your CEO, senior team, and board could summarize your strategic plan on one page (11” x 17”), what kind of clarity and alignment would that then bring to your entire staff, key volunteers, and major donors? What’s your next step?

Check out the “40 Blogs. 40 Wednesdays.” color commentaries on Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom, by Dan Busby and John Pearson, including, “Slow Down and Wait on God” by guest blogger Jerry White.


This article was originally posted on the “Governance of Christ-Centered Organizations” blog, hosted by ECFA.
John Pearson, a board governance consultant and author, was ECFA’s governance blogger from 2011 to 2020.
© 2021, ECFA and John Pearson. All rights reserved.

This text is provided with the understanding that ECFA is not rendering legal, accounting, or other professional advice or service. Professional advice on specific issues should be sought from an accountant, lawyer, or other professional.