Strategy Academy: A Cohort-Based Strategic Planning Program for Small Organizations

Welcome to Laridae’s Strategy Academy, a facilitated, live online program where
small non-profits and social enterprises gain clarity and capacity through strategic planning.

What is Laridae’s Strategy Academy?

Our unique, cohort-based, online strategic planning program is specifically tailored for organizations ready to take a leap forward.

With Laridae’s Strategy Academy, you’ll navigate a self-directed strategic planning process with expert guidance, equipping you and your team to build lasting planning skills.

Engage with your community, staff and connected partners, while learning how to move strategy into action.

What you can expect through this experience:

  • Self-directed: Ultimately, your group is building your own strategic plan. You will need to show-up prepared, ready to engage, and complete homework throughout the journey.

  • Group accountability: This is a cohort-based experience, where we will learn from each other and hold each other accountable to our progress. Be prepared to present your final plan to the group – it’ll be good practice for when you share you work more broadly

  • Expert guidance: Laridae’s team will be guiding the group through this process through facilitated learning and discussions, one-on-one coaching for your senior leader, tools, and tips. Although we will be supporting the process, this is not a consultant-led and completed strategic planning process. You will be completing the work yourself, guided and coached by our team of supportive experts.

Join us in this unique experience and shape the future of your organization with confidence and clarity.



Who is Laridae’s Strategy Academy for?

Laridae’s Strategy Academy is specifically designed for the dedicated leaders of small organizations that are at the forefront of change and ready to elevate their impact. If your organization has the drive to advance through strategy, this program is tailored for you.

It’s the perfect fit for a collaborative team of:

  • Executive Leaders and Senior Staff: Inspiring figures leading their organization, keen to sharpen their strategic acumen and unite their team under a shared vision.

  • Board Representatives: Committed governors of the organization, looking to play an active role in shaping its strategic future.

Criteria for participation

Your organization is a good match for this program if:

  • Your organization has annual revenues under $3 million, with paid staff.
  • You are committed to investing time in a comprehensive strategic planning process.
  • You have the capacity to send three to five members for an immersive experience over a four month period.
  • Your senior leader can dedicate 15+ hours per month (a half day a week) for four months to drive the process forward.

Embrace this opportunity for three to five representatives from your organization, including a combination of staff and board members, to contribute to a rich dialogue and a comprehensive strategic planning process.

What’s Included

  • Four monthly facilitated online modules, featuring a dynamic blend of learning and hands-on workshops

  • Tools and homework connected to each module, including draft survey/interview questions, SWOT analysis, organizational snapshot, and a strategic plan condensed into a single page

  • Three virtual coaching sessions for your main point of contact, ideally the executive leader who is driving the process

  • Final deliverable: A completed strategic plan in a page to guide your organization in the upcoming years

Benefits

  • Gain clarity on your organization’s strategic direction

  • Receive guidance and coaching from experienced leaders

  • Foster alignment within your team

  • Enhance engagement with your community (stakeholders)

  • Learn from other organizations

  • Build internal capacity for strategic planning in the future

The Four Strategic Planning Course Modules

Learn how to build stakeholder engagement into strategic planning.

Module 1: Strategic clarity and community stakeholder mapping

Delve into the essentials of strategic planning and harness the power of effective engagement. By the end of this session, you and your team will craft a comprehensive plan to connect with key individuals, ensuring your strategic efforts resonate on a deeper, more impactful level.

Key Takeaways

  • Strategic Clarity: Gain a solid understanding of strategic planning and the nuances of thinking strategically within your organization.

  • Stakeholder Identification: Learn to pinpoint who your key stakeholders are and the roles they play in the community engagement process.

  • Engagement Toolkit: Following the module, you will receive a template engagement toolkit that includes template communications and draft engagement questions.

Between Modules

  • Engage: Between the first and second session, you will take the work you’ve completed as well as we the engagement toolkit to gather input from your community and your partners.

  • 1:1 Coaching: Meet with your coach to explore the feedback and ask any questions you may have regarding engagement.

Learn how to ground your strategic decisions in your intended impact.

Module 2: Get clear on your impact & your organization

Get ready to refine your strategic vision. Together, we will engage in discussion to reflect deeper on your engagement insights and give shape to the long-term impact your organization aspires to achieve. This module will lay the groundwork for an actionable strategic plan and start to inform an Organizational Snapshot that gathers additional information required to inform critical strategic decisions.

Key Takeaways:

  • Engagement Synthesis: Discuss and distill the key themes from stakeholder engagement to inform your organization’s future direction.

  • Vision and Impact Definition: Clarify your organization’s vision and the impact you aim to have, setting a defined course for the future.

  • Strategic Information Gathering: Identify essential information needed to sculpt your strategic plan for the next 3-5 years, ensuring a prepared and informed approach.

Between Modules:

  • Organizational Snapshot: using a template document, complete an 8-10 slide presentation that brings together the history, trends, and internal and external factors impacting your organization.

  • 1:1 Coaching: meet with your coach to further refine your impact statement and to dig into the Organizational Snapshot together, ensuring all key information is gathered and ready for the next module.

Narrow your focus on your organization’s niche to determine how you can make the greatest impact.

Module 3: Strategic deep dive

This session is aimed at synthesizing the collective intelligence of your team. Dive into the depths of strategic planning, weaving together insights to chart a course towards your desired impact. Engage in facilitated discussions that are laser-focused on prioritizing key strategic themes while maintaining a broad vision for the future.

Key Takeaways:

  • Facilitated Discussions: Navigate through structured strategic discussions to ensure every voice is heard and every insight is valued.

  • Strategic Alignment: Reach a unified agreement on 3-5 major strategic directions and key commitments to guide your organization’s journey.

  • Draft Strategy: Start a draft strategic plan in a page that gathers the thoughts and direction discussed through the session.

Between Modules:

  • Refine your Strategy: Reflect on the draft and finalize your plan.

  • 1:1 Coaching: Present the final draft, explore any additional considerations, and prepare to present the plan in the final module.

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Learn to define which key performance indicators will determine success.

Module 4: Define and measure success

In this final session you will present your plan, engage with group feedback, and refine your roadmap. This module is about turning vision into reality and laying out the metrics that will chart your progress. By exploring and defining what success looks like for your organization, you’ll set the stage for tangible results.

Key Takeaways:

  • Presentation Practice: Sharpen your ability to communicate your strategic plan effectively and handle inquiries with confidence.

  • Action Plan: Start crafting a draft action plan that outlines the steps to bring your strategy to life.

  • Success Measurement: Begin to explore how to measure success, ensuring that your achievements can be quantified and evaluated.

Strategy Academy Course Schedule

The program will run from May to August 2024, ensuring you are ready to hit the ground running in the Fall.

  • Module 1: Wednesday, May 22, 2024
  • Module 2: Wednesday, June 26, 2024
  • Module 3: Wednesday, July 24, 2024
  • Module 4: Wednesday, August 28, 2024

Time commitment

This program will be facilitated online via Zoom.

Each organization can send 3-5 participants. We recommend including a core team of 1) your Executive Director and 2) a board member. Additional board members or senior staff can be included as well, based on your needs and capacity.

The lead participant — usually, the Senior Leader — should plan on investing 4 hours per month in online learning sessions, as well as 10-15 hours per month on independent activities.

Investment

The investment is $5,950 plus HST per organization.

Participants can join the Strategy Academy training modules online via Zoom, making it easy for your whole team to learn together.
Jessica Topfer, shares her positive experience creating a strategic plan with Laridae's guidance.

“For us, the primary benefit of working with Laridae was the alignment and inspiration our leadership gained through the process of strategic planning. Their support and guidance allowed us to have really hard conversations in a way that was productive and comfortable.”



– Jessica Topfer, Interim Executive Director, The Nourish and Develop Foundation

Questions?

Feel free to contact us any time. We’re happy to answer any questions by phone, email or Zoom.


Application Process

Our application process is designed to ensure that every participating organization is well-positioned to meet the program’s expectations and fully benefit from the experience. By carefully considering each applicant’s readiness, commitment, and compatibility with the cohort’s dynamics, we aim to cultivate a learning environment that drives the entire group towards success.

The process includes:

  • Application deadline: Friday, April 26, 2024 at 5:00 pm EST
  • Virtual meeting: you may be invited to meet with us via Zoom, if additional information is required and to determine program fit
  • Invitation to participate: final confirmations to be sent to participants by April 26, 2024
  • Acceptance: upon acceptance, payment will be requested prior to starting the program.

Please note, the cohort will be limited to six organizations. We will be reviewing applications as they are submitted.

Application Form

To apply for Laridae’s Strategy Academy, please fill out and submit the following form.

If you would like to review the questions in advance, you can download a PDF version of the application form here. Please note that this is for reference only — when you are ready, please use the form below to apply.