transformative Strategy

The days of making 5-10 year strategic plans are over. 

Elissa - flipcharting.jpg

In our increasingly complex environment, where organizations are adapting to and creating change, we simply can’t predict out 5 or 10 years. Moreover, single organizations don’t control the outcomes of movements, which means that strategy development must consider the broader movement context and networks of actors within it - and must be iterative.

Developing strategy today is an emergent and iterative process, which must strike a balance of:

  • Identifying and creating alignment around the purpose, values, and major directions of an organization or network
  • Understanding the trajectory of the movement, how an organization or network can best contribute to it, and what strategies and competencies are needed to make this contribution
  • Maintaining or building the flexibility and nimbleness to adapt and adjust strategy based on frequent feedback and changes in the environment and behavior of other actors

We work with our clients to develop strategy that strikes this balance by building a culture of strategic thinking and adaptation within organizations and networks. We work with leaders to:

  • Create alignment around shared values and purpose
  • Conduct movement and field-level analyses to understand unique value-added contributions
  • Develop the competencies of leadership (including shared leadership in network steering committees and organizational senior teams) to do strategic thinking
  • Develop strategic directions and iterative plans supported by work groups 
  • Ensure there is space to experiment, learn, and incorporate the feedback into adapting strategy
  • Ready organizational and network leaders for ongoing strategic thinking and planning


MAG led us through our strategic planning process with rigor and honesty and love...[Their] willingness to invest in us has encouraged others to invest in us and [their] faith in us has been reassuring and energizing.
— Nadia Mortiz, Young Women's Project
  • Conduct field scans and movement analyses
  • Facilitate strategy development, planning, and adaptation for organizations and networks
  • Support strategic thinking and action for intersectional efforts
  • Clarify your theory of change and focus on strategic priorities
  • Clarify the relationship between you and the networks you support
  • Provide ongoing coaching and assistance to leaders as they implement strategy
  • Develop strategies to maximize equity


In Our Client's Words

Photo: Pretrial Justice Institute

Photo: Pretrial Justice Institute

Our organization clicked with MAG right from the start.  There was something different about the way they spoke and framed this as an inquiry, not just a strategic planning process. And we were not, admittedly, an easy client. 

The team from MAG supported us from the beginning and left us with the internal capacity to keep refining our plan and being nimble in the face of new opportunities while staying true to our mission.  

After we completed that, I shifted into an executive coaching client of MAG’s, an engagement that gave me exactly what I needed to transition from second in command to the new Executive Director.  There were hard things for me to let go of, and without the expert coaching I could trust because MAG works with social justice nonprofits, I would have had a much rockier start in my new accountability.

- Cherise Fanno Burdeen, Executive Director, Pretrial Justice Institute


A Tool for Mapping Successful Movements By Mark Leach

Iterative Strategy: From Competition to Alignment By Robin Katcher

Strategic Planning That Makes a Difference And That's Worth the Time

Land Trust Alliance (Stories of Impact)