Consultants Resource Bank

Thomas Burack

Sheehan Phinney
PO Box 3701
Manchester, NH 03101
Phone: 603-627-8387

I help organizations to be prepared for and to thrive in an uncertain and unknown future, and to develop and implement a governance structure and approach that fosters a culture of continuous organizational learning and improvement. As a planner, designer and facilitator of strategic plans and planning processes, and an experienced legal practitioner, I bring an integrated set of planning, management, and governance tools together, including scenario thinking, customer-focused service, phased development, and user-friendly bylaws and policies to equip organizations with the tools and internal capabilities to develop and implement a "living strategic plan" -- a plan that remains front and center into the future and does not just sit on a shelf. These "living" plans are refreshed regularly through a disciplined process that engages an organization's board and staff in routinely scanning the horizon for driving forces in the wider world or in its working environment that could affect its customers, its business model, or the demand for its services. These driving forces are used to help imagine plausible future worlds for which the organization should be prepared, and then to support the development of responsive and robust strategies that can be tested against the various imagined futures and continuously improved. The result is organizations that know themselves well and that are resilient, revered and respected for their foresight, innovation and enduring commitment to service.

A partnership approach with the organization's executive director and board chair will determine the success of scenario thinking, living strategic plans, and governance system updates, so I seek a close working relationship with an organization's leadership. The organization's board and staff must have a strong sense of ownership of their strategic plan and governance system; accordingly, my approach is one of teaching, coaching and guiding the team in developing and practicing the skills of scenario thinking and servant leadership, always with a sense of humor, adventure, teamwork, and a passion for mission. Written work products are typically the result of shared efforts that help ensure the organization's capabilities to carry its living strategic plan forward into the future without significant ongoing external support. Engagements can range from an introductory workshop of a few hours to a full living strategic plan development process that may last from 3-6 months. Development of updated governance tools, such as articles of agreement, bylaws and policies is typically undertaken as a related but separate project once the scenario-based strategic plan is in place.

More information on our firm’s Non-Profit, Charitable, and Religious Institutions Practice Group can be found here: https://www.sheehan.com/practice-area/non-profit/. 

Specialties: Board Governance/Development, Executive Transition, Organizational Planning - Collaboration/Mergers, Organizational Planning - Mission & Vision Planning, Strategic/Business Plan Development

References

Community Development Finance Authority
Katy Easterly Martey - Executive Director
14 Dixon Avenue
Concord , New Hampshire 03301
603-717-9118

With the CDFA's staff and board leadership, I planned and facilitated a strategic planning process based in scenario thinking. The process included (1) advance information gathering to identify potential driving forces that may affect New Hampshire's communities in the future, (2) a board/staff retreat at which plausible future scenarios were developed and implications were identified, (3) a follow-up board/staff workshop at which strategies were developed and wind-tunnel tested, and (4) collaborative drafting and development of a living strategic plan that includes an underlying phased action plan and a clear statement of the organization's mission, vision and values. A high-level summary of the CDFA's Living Strategic Plan can be viewed here: https://nhcdfa.org/who-we-are/

 

New Hampshire Water Works Association
Boyd Smith - President and CEO
18 North Main Street
Concord , NH 03301
603-415-3959

This 501(c)(3) organization's new Executive Director was charged with developing a strategic plan as one of his initial tasks. The organization has just 1.5 FTE and serves the public drinking water suppliers in communities across New Hampshire. Primarily using virtual meeting approaches via Zoom, I have coached and facilitated a process through which (1) the Executive Director has interviewed each board member as well as key outside stakeholders to identify key challenges and driving forces, (2) the board developed a set of plausible future scenarios for the state's communities and their water supplies, and (3) four integrated strategies were identified and incorporated into a living strategic plan. The plan was adopted in November 2020, and its implementation is being fostered by a modernized package of articles of agreement, bylaws and policies that I drafted in conjunction with with the Executive Director and Board, and which the organization is expected to approve in June 2021. An article describing the NHWWA's "Scenario-based Strategic Planning" process at its mid-point can be viewed here: https://www.nhwwa.org/wp-content/uploads/NHWWA-Journal-Volume-2-2020-Fin...

 

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