This 3-minute video clip from the movie Apollo 13 provides a useful reminder about the perils of strategic planning. We face a political and funding environment that is best characterized by its volatility, complexity, uncertainty, and ambiguity.

I think this sometimes requires a willingness to rip the cover off our well-developed plan and use it for an entirely different purpose. The challenge is finding a way to balance the often competing impulses of being strategic and being opportunistic. We’re beginning to think through the concept of “strategic opportunism.” This approach may be best characterized as being nimble enough to seize opportunities as they arise, while at the same time remaining true to your overall mission and a broadly defined strategic framework. By holding these two concepts in tension and pursuing a balanced approach, organizations can avoid the risk of missing out on critical growth opportunities by sticking too closely to their predetermined plans, or the risk of watering down their impact by trying to take advantage of every new initiative or partnership that arises. What do you think?