To recap our last blog post, Brighter Strategies recommends organizations adopt a continuous improvement mindset throughout their strategic planning process. Forecasting the future, predicting emerging trends, and adjusting your strategic plan accordingly are part of the skillset of an innovative 21st century leader.

But what does strategy adaptation look like exactly? ESTJ Carter is back on the scene to illustrate how you can help make your static strategic plan more dynamic.

Strategic adaptation in action

It has been one year since Carter helped his team execute their strategic plan by isolating actionable elements, defining organization units to address these items, and turning priority issues into program action plans. Now that the designated committees have hit the ground running and are implementing their goals, Carter decides to throw a wrench into the process.

As the appointed strategic planning taskforce team leader, Carter has been reading up on the latest strategy best practices to ensure his agency is following suit. Strategy adaptation is one trend that continues to crop up, and Carter doesn’t want his nonprofit to be left in the dust. He turns the focus of monthly strategy team meetings to the following questions, to help develop an adaptive mindset.

  • What is our vision and theory of change?
  • Where will we play?
  • How will we succeed?
  • What capabilities will we need?

Carter encourages his team to consider these guiding questions and their long-term impact on strategy action plans, even during execution. Below is a summary of some of their adaptation conversations.

AGENCY: Jacob’s House
MISSION: To improve quality of life for the local homeless population.
Guiding Question Long-Term Impact
What is our vision and theory of change?


We believe human beings can grow and change.

We are addressing homelessness in our community by meeting the short-term physical needs of this population and providing long-term job and education opportunities.
Where will we play?


We are serving individuals who are homeless in Rockwell County, VA.

By focusing our efforts on the county in which we are located and expanding the scope and depth of services provided, we can better improve the quality of life of this target group.
How will we succeed?


We will attain success when the individuals we serve realize an improved quality of life, and the rate of homelessness in our community decreases.

To better meet the physical needs of individuals, we will source higher quality, more nutrient-dense foods. We will measure success via the increased rate of organic foods served.


To increase the job skills and education opportunities provided to individuals, we will grow a new partnership with Rockwell Community College via an internship program.


We will measure success by number of students who enroll in this volunteer program.

What capabilities will we need?


We will require sources of increased funding and the skills necessary to develop strategic partnerships.

We will hire and train for fundraising and grant writing skills. We will hire and train for business acumen, marketing, and community relations skills.


Carter’s team finds that focusing on the above questions keeps them aligned with the agency’s mission and existing strategy while also dreaming about the future and anticipating potential pivots required to meet impending goals. Successful strategy execution and adaptation requires a dance of sorts – a balance between doing the work of the here and now while planning for the work to come.

What does strategy adaptation look like in your organization? How can you incorporate these guiding questions into your existing plan? If you need assistance with any stage of the process, organization development consulting firm Brighter Strategies is here to help. Strategy is our specialty! Contact us today to learn more about our resources and services.