For any organization, strategy is an essential component for ensuring that resources are appropriately focused on high-value opportunities. But how do you arrive at a strategy that achieves this kind of focus?

Todd Davidson, State Policy Network’s senior director of strategic development, addressed this challenge during Atlas Network’s Think Tank Leadership Training on November 5, 2018.

During this interactive workshop, 40 think tank leaders, representing 16 countries and a range of career and leadership experiences, were introduced to the process of strategic planning. Through a series of exercises, they began to internalize a framework for assessing whether their work today would be relevant or create change in 18 months.

Photo Credit: Atlas Network

Along the way, participants not only learned valuable strategic thinking skills, but they also discovered how strategic planning reveals the highest and best use of donor dollars, staff time, and other key resources.

“I found Todd’s session on strategic planning immensely valuable,” said participant Kate Wagstaff of Mannkal Economic Education Foundation in Australia. “I learned how to develop a vision statement and mission statement, how to assess an organization with regard to its priority issues and observed strategies, and how to undertake a Policy Market Attractiveness Assessment…I’m now inspired to take my organization confidently into the future, with a strategic plan clearly aligned with our objectives.”

“In our movement, I think it’s so easy to let our day-to-day work or the crisis of the moment distract our organizations from their true missions,” added participant Ron Shultis of the Beacon Center for Tennessee, an SPN state think tank member. “Learning how to strategically plan will allow me to better identify, plan for, and capitalize on the best opportunities to advance Beacon’s agenda and influence in Tennessee.”

As the incubator, accelerator, and connector of the 50-state network in the United States, the bread and butter of SPN’s training and services is strategy because it is crucial to ensuring that there’s a credible, influential, and sustainable voice for free-market solutions in every state. We are committed to improving the strategy of freedom partners around the globe, and to that end, SPN was honored to share lessons learned as a result of our strategic planning work with state think tanks.