The Fast Track To Strategy Execution At CFA Institute

“We knew right up front that we wanted everyone to feel a part of strategy. People needed to internalize our mission and commit to the energy in our new strategy… Great strategy discussions can inspire and engage people to accomplish great things.”

Founded in 1947, the CFA Institute educates and certifies investment professionals worldwide through its Certified Financial Analyst program.

However, the ethical breaches and the vulnerabilities in the financial system exposed in the economic crisis became a mandate for CFA Institute to take a proactive role in emphasizing ethical behavior and help restore public trust as it began work on updating its long-term strategy.

Onboarding Stakeholders

When they embarked on this effort, members of the strategic planning team understood they would need the complete support and buy in of the board and leadership team, and they could not expect the change to take root without involving employees as active participants.

So, the team established a systematic process for gathering and assessing input from every stakeholder segment. The team held focus groups with the leadership team, surveyed CFA members, and canvassed volunteers and staff for input. The leadership team deliberated over the extensive findings and distilled their strategic focus.

Now it was time to get staff on board. They invited work groups to participate in facilitated sessions to help people understand the strategy and the organization’s goals.

Each group created a purpose statement that aligned with the CFA Institute’s overarching mission statement and worked on their own shift chart. By involving people in defining and prioritizing their plans, people became invested in the strategic change agenda, and empowered to execute.

Integrating Adaptions

ClearPoint has played an important part in advancing the strategy, helping the organization integrate its scorecard, change agenda, workplans, and multi-year, high-level metrics. The system provides the ability to easily create customized outputs for leaders without having to rely on internal IT resources for development.

The journey is far from over, but from the outset, CFA Institute leaders were familiar with the literature insisting that strategy and operations be aligned. “We knew right up front that we wanted everyone to feel a part of strategy. People needed to internalize our mission.” says Higgins. “Great strategy discussions can inspire and engage people to accomplish great things.”


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