This summer, I’ve served on an ad hoc strategic planning committee for an organization here in Maine that’s just celebrated its tenth year.
As with any organization that survives this long, we find the environment now is a lot different than when the organization was birthed. The economy is totally different. We’ve learned more about our communities. And we have more experience living out our mission.
Not surprisingly, our by-laws need updating. They are still pretty good, but pruning is needed in some areas, more clear language in other areas. Leadership succession needs to be clarified. As do committees–some are duplicating work; others are really no longer needed.
Our facilitator through the strategic planning process has been Steve Pecukonis likened this to architects design an entire building but intentionally don’t put down walkways. Instead, they let people walk up to the building and over time see what parts of the grass get the most worn. Then they put in the walks in those places.
That’s where we are with this organization. We’ve come through much of the organizational development dance of the first 4 years. But now we have some very well worn paths. Fortunately, most of them are in the vicinity of the paths that were laid down when the organization started. But not all of them are. Some corrections are needed.
I have heard this story and used the analogy so many times – but never for by-laws. Makes perfect sense here, too!