Planning as the World Changes

Presented by: Susan Detwiler, President, The Detwiler Group


“Everybody’s got plans…until they get hit.” Mike Tyson

“The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft a-gley.” Robert Burns

“Man plans and God laughs.” Yiddish saying

The year 2020 provided proof that no matter how well we plan, there are ‘unknown unknowns’ that can knock us off our expected path. Whether our strategic plans were created three years ago or 9 months ago, they were shredded in March of 2020. But the vision embedded in those original strategic plans are still valid and form the basis for the necessary pivots. When you and your team know where you’re heading, know who will be affected by any decisions you make, and know the questions to ask when you encounter roadblocks, you have a solid foundation for responding to whatever comes.

In this session, participants will learn the concept of Catalytic Thinking, how it is the basis for a planning process that begins with identifying the ultimate goals and the conditions necessary for those goals to become reality, and how it leads to the ability to reimagine the path to those goals when everything goes haywire.

Learning Goals:

You’ll leave the session with…

  • A basic understanding of Catalytic Planning and its underpinning in causality.
  • Questions that help identify the needs of affected individuals
  • Questions that help identify external and internal conditions for success
  • Visual and Outline-form templates for working through Catalytic Planning
  • A personal scenario for practicing Catalytic Planning

Workshop Details

When: Thursday, October 22,
2:15 – 3:30 pm

Track: Finance & Strategy

Target Audience: Board Members, Leadership, Senior Administration

Susan Detwiler

President, The Detwiler Group

“When you begin with a shared vision, people work together to make it happen.”

Susan Detwiler helps organizations align their planning with vision, values and mission. She brings extensive experience in both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors, including five years as an Executive Director and service on nonprofit boards. Susan facilitates strategic planning for large and small clients, teaches governance and board relations, and facilitates board and staff retreats. She is a Creating the Future™ Fellow and licensed Standards for Excellence™ Consultant, and has a BS in Business Administration from SUNY Albany and an MBA from the University of Michigan.

Check Out More Sessions.

Each day of the virtual conference will feature workshops in the following workshop tracks: Advocacy, Building the Plane While Flying It, Caring for Ourselves & Each Other, Fundraising & Communications, and Leading through Change.