Our ministry recently completed a season of major organizational re alignment. This transition included the rebranding and relaunch of the U.S. Center for World Mission and the Frontier Mission Fellowship into our new identity, Frontier Ventures.
After reflecting on the project, post launch, I have identified five key questions I asked and answered as part of the change process.
I wanted to share these five areas with the hope that they may be of some help for you in your own leadership role.
1. Defining the Need
Question: Why is a change to the organization, system, or capabilities needed right now?
The beginning of the strategic planning process requires leadership to identify why a change to the system or capabilities may be required. I started the process by interviewing our top leadership in order to draw out their thoughts and hopes for the future, as well as their present frustrations. From there, we identified a few main objectives that seemed to be the most pressing potential answers to the question above. This process could also take place with a small core team of leaders brainstorming ideas or through a team conducting a focused analysis of current strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
2. Finding Capability Gaps
Question: Do we currently have the resources or capabilities that are needed to reach our objectives?
After we identified some main objectives for the upcoming year, I began to look at our current capacities and resources to determine if we had the right tools and talent necessary to complete our goals. How stretched were our current teams? Would they have the capacity to potentially take on any new initiatives?
3. Determining the Right Approach
Question: What is the best approach that is not only workable now but sustainable by our organization later?
This is where we considered potential approaches and possible means of solution. If we did not have the capacity internally, I began to look for the right potential consultants that could deliver what we needed, within an agreed upon time frame and budget. Ultimately, we sought for a solution that could be effectively used and maintained by our current staff once the project was completed.
4. Defining the Scope
Question: What new capabilities will the project deliver?
In my thinking as a project manager, the scope has to be defined with a mixture of realism and faith. It has be something that stretches beyond lower level expectations of what is possible without pushing beyond the boundaries of budget, time, or team constraints. This was a tight rope walk between looking realistically at our history of past performance and then looking beyond our current culture and capabilities for the sake of our future growth.
5. Defining the Case
Question: Can we justify the potential investment required in order to bring the project to completion?
This is where I took time to look deeper into the benefits, costs, and potential risks. I asked a lot of hard questions and challenged myself to answer them. I asked, “Could a strong case be made for taking on this new endeavor?” If so, will the senior leadership and other key stakeholders strongly buy into the case we make? Are they willing to support the project through its completion and be willing put their own name on the results once the project is launched? I believe that if you have done your homework and made a strong case for moving forward, your research and conclusions will speak for themselves.