strategic sprints

Say "six simultaneous strategic sprints" at once, fast

During the first part of the year, I started new strategic projects with the American Civil War Museum, Blue Sky Fund, Byrd Theatre Foundation, Equality Virginia, Virginia Bankers Association, and the Virginia Mentoring Partnership. Boy, are my arms tired.  

Tackling six simultaneous strategic projects at one time is asking for trouble. (And it makes for many late nights of writing. Hence the tired arms.) And yet, working with a slate of organizations as vastly unique and different as the ones we're currently winding down is a powerful reminder of why I love the work I do. 

Each day at Floricane is different. When we were recently interviewing candidates for a new role with the team, almost every person asked us what a typical day at Floricane looked like. It was all we could do not to laugh. (I might have cried once or twice, actually.)  

A typical day at Floricane looks like a team of passionate people working closely to help other people, and organizations, uncover and live into their best selves. Which is to say that no one day looks or feels anything like another. 

I feel fortunate -- even when I am staring at strategic gobbledygook on a computer screen at two in the morning -- to have stumbled into a career where the content of every single day changes. From the positive impact of community banks on the lives of Virginia's small towns to the aspirations of a small, single-screen theater to transform the Big Screen experience to educating kids, ensuring the rights of all Virginians, and telling the story of a conflict that shaped our nation -- it doesn't get much more diverse. 

Often, it's only when I slow down from a sprint like I experienced in March and April that I am able to reflect on what I've learned. This spring, once again, I learned (or affirmed) that every organization who works with Floricane is staffed by people with passion who are genuinely committed to doing great things within and for their organization. At our best, we help them to see their vision more clearly, increase their shared alignment around it, and engage more effectively in the construction of the future.

​Sprinting with Virginia Mentoring Partnership

It’s astounding that mentoring in our public schools has been so visible for more than a generation – but the Virginia Mentoring Partnership (VMP) remains so invisible to the public. If you’ve ever worked with a kid in a formal mentoring program, you probably benefitted from VMP. The organization provides training and support for mentoring programs around Virginia.

For the next several months, we’ll be taking VMP staff and board through a round of our new “strategic sprint” process – or, SEAL Team Training for Nonprofits, as we jokingly call it. The process starts with a focus – in this case, a few key areas of emphasis developed by the board. For five months, we’ll work with each board committee to hone in on specific, actionable work that supports that focus. In between sessions, we huddle with the executive committee to check alignment and process.

At its best, the strategic sprint process helps board committees make measurable progress around key areas of work. It clears the decks of extraneous reporting, or well-intended new work for staff, and puts the board’s talent to work in action-oriented ways.