It’s local election time where I live. I received two tools to help voters decide which candidate to support; this municipal election kit from our local Poverty Elimination Task Force and this app developed to help Toronto voters identify the candidate whose perspectives most closely align with their own. Solid information that’s easy to access – I love it.
Both resources reminded me how much easier it is to make insightful decisions quickly when you have well-curated information at your fingertips.
My colleague Jonathan Bennett underscored this point in a strategic planning workshop I attended recently at the Ontario Nonprofit Network Conference. He described board members who are equipped with solid evidence arriving at their planning retreat “practically vibrating with readiness to make decisions.” The same holds true in my experience, as noted with a recent client. They had conducted focus groups, interviews and surveys with staff, partner agencies, funders and customers ahead of time. They’d written white papers assessing industry trends. That full package was circulated to their board and senior staff, with gentle reminders to read it in advance. People did. They arrived at their initial planning retreat engaged, excited and equipped to make evidence-based decisions. They made remarkable progress in a single morning, far more than they otherwise would have had they been less ready.
Too often my clients think that fulsome strategic planning can happen in a single planning day away. It can’t. But ensuring leaders have relevant, well-presented data in front of them certainly does allow whatever time you have together to be better used. It sure beats having to put decisions on hold pending further research. Another way to make wiser decisions faster.