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From the ED 1.16.14

Dear Colleagues,

The MISBO Board of Directors is planning to spend its next two meetings in February and April thinking and discussing the strategic issues and challenges that are facing MISBO in the years to come.

In an email to the full MISBO Board last week Steven Wennerstrom, MISBO’s Board Chair, said this:

“I think you will be pleased and engaged with his approach. Be ready to be mentally challenged and stimulated! You can read more about Jeff DeCagna by following this link ( Above the routine matters of our board work, the primary purpose of our next two board meetings will be to examine our assumptions about what makes MISBO successful and to develop core principles for future board decisions, including, but not limited to, revisions to our strategic thinking process. I believe Jeff DeCagna will be instrumental in giving us direction and common goals through these efforts.”

The Board adopted a strategic plan approximately two years ago after a fairly traditional strategic planning process. The strategic plan that we have been using as guidance for MISBO’s direction can be found here. There are some goals that we have achieved, others where we are making great progress, and others that may not be as appropriate as they seemed just a couple of years ago. The idea of a board leading an organization through a continual process of strategic ‘thinking’ as opposed to ‘planning’ is becoming more commonplace. We live in a world of exponential change (check out Thomas Friedman’s most recent editorial here) which means that the traditional model of strategic planning may no longer be relevant to MISBO, to your schools, or to any organization.

Consider the two words STRATEGIC and PLANNING.  The first implies long term and overarching ideas and the second is a tactical, methodical set of steps to achieve a goal. The juxtaposition of these words for so many years in the term “strategic planning’ seems to be an oxymoron to me. MISBO, with the leadership of its Board, hopes to move to a process of ongoing strategic thinking to guide the association into the future.

While Jeff’s work has been focused on associations, I believe that many of his concepts and ideas are applicable to schools and this short e-book is worth reading for anyone who is part of a non-profit organization –

I ask each of you to consider the value that MISBO brings to your school and perhaps how MISBO can improve on our value proposition, but also to consider what MISBO as an association supporting independent schools, and specifically independent school business operations, may look like in the future. Please feel free to reach out to me directly at or any MISBO staff or any MISBO Board member.

MISBO is YOUR Association – the staff and board are here to serve you and your schools. Please let us know how we are doing and what else we can do for you.


Marc Levinson
Executive Director, MISBO
Twitter:  @MISBOconnects    @Marcll

From → MISBO

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