People participate in what they help to create.
If you want employees, board members, or volunteers to work with purpose, involve them in the strategic planning process. The people involved in the organization on a daily basis have in-depth perspective on customer needs, product design, industry trends, operations, etc. With this insight, they can dream together and discuss what is possible in the future.
We use the Agile Canvas to facilitate strategic planning with businesses and nonprofits. The process can scale to any level of planning (or collaboration as we like to consider it). We encourage organizations to involve as many people as possible in facilitated sessions designed to capture possibility statements, or Intentions. We go out a generation, and then focus on Intentions that can be achieved in 2 quarters.
Next, the group writes Questions. These are the things that need to be researched and decided. This allows participants to challenge the Intentions (How will we get the resources for this?) and ensure we don't get stuck on certain ideas. If there is uncertainty, we write it down as a question and move on.
There is a lot of learning and engagement when we bring diverse groups of participants together. Different perspectives are shared, ideas are co-developed, and excitement builds as everyone re-connects with the organization's mission.
What is important is to take this energy and create momentum toward the plan's Intentions. We do this with the third element of the Agile Canvas, which is Sprints. These are 2 week cycles of work that are planned for the first 2 quarters of the plan. When the core team is realistic about what the staff can actually take on, it makes it much easier to move from planning to execution. With Sprints everyone can see progress toward the Intentions.
No longer will a plan sit on the shelf and collect dust, because people will participate in what they help create.