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Transforming Strategic Planning: A Collaborative Approach with Listenology

In the nonprofit sector, strategic planning is often associated with tedious meetings and forgotten plans.

In the nonprofit sector, strategic planning is often associated with tedious meetings and forgotten plans. Precious time and resources are spent setting goals and aligning stakeholders around a shared vision, and yet, the experience and results are routinely underwhelming.

Joe Manafo, partner at Listenology based in Sarnia, Ontario, cuts to the chase, saying, "The process is as important as the plan. Even the best ideas will never gain traction if your people aren't engaged or invested." Listenology recognizes the connection between insight and implementation and why holding space for big conversations is where the best strategic plans begin.

"We create safe, collaborative spaces to facilitate important conversations," adds Kevin McGlade, a Listenology partner. "There are no shortcuts or pre-packaged solutions. Getting the right people in the right room for the right conversation sets expectations and calls teams to rise to the occasion."

With over twenty-five years of experience guiding organizations and through change, Listenology creates customized experiences that energize teams. Unlike traditional facilitation, Listenology's approach is to build the plan and build up the team. Designed to be interactive and entertaining, facilitated sessions ensure that participants feel seen, heard, and valued. Creating and sustaining an atmosphere of trust and openness uncovers shared wisdom when current challenges are named and future goals take shape.

"When the team can see their fingerprints on the plan and when individuals can recall the part they played, it changes everything. Seeing the big picture and where you fit in its success is a game-changer," McGlade reveals.

Listenology organizes the gathered information into an active plan with implementation steps. For boards, a Listenology strategic plan offers clear mandates and accountability measures. For executives and team leaders, the new plan sets clear goals and direction for communication. For staff and stakeholders, the transparent process and opportunity to contribute empower action steps. Listenology's process and plan development promote a culture upgrade that boosts public engagement and aligns mission and vision with strategy.

"We're human first in our practice and process. We curate spaces where voices are amplified, egos are lowered, and teams are unified," Manafo concludes. "We prioritize people, and we co-create strategic plans that work. Build the plan and build up the team. That's the Listenology recipe."

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