When it comes to strategic planning, there is no question as to if your association needs one. Every organization should have a strategic plan, complete with a planning session that is not just four hours of an already-planned board meeting. Our leaders explained the importance of a strategic plan and why it’s necessary and have summarized the top five reasons that your fiscal year cannot start without one.
- Focus – An organizational strategy sets the direction and creates priorities for your organization. It brings your organization’s view of success to the surface, while outlining the strategies and tactics needed to make the view come to fruition. The strategy narrows in the focus of what everyone should be working on as well as what needs to go to the top of the list.
- Brings everyone together – Chances are, your organization has various committees, groups, types of members and even possibly staff departments that are all working toward their own goals-but are they working on the main goal of the organization? When you develop your strategy, all parties can determine what they need to do to achieve success for themselves as well as the entire association.
- Prevents focus on “shiny objects”- If you have a strategy, then the goals have been set and the wheels are put in motion. If you have a strategic plan, you already have things that have been prioritized and when that random event, task or items comes up, it makes it a lot easier to say, “Not a priority, put it on the back burner,” than if a plan didn’t exist.
- Use everyone’s talents – Everyone brings something to the table. If you hone in on your strategy and then build out, you can put the best people in the most appropriate positions in order to accomplish your goals. For example, if you have a board member that oversees their company’s yearly day-long leadership retreat, put them in charge of hiring a facilitator to plan the next board meeting. When everyone knows the goal they are working toward, they may even realize they have skills that they haven’t thought to use because they have never been needed!
- Getting everyone on board – When you send out your organization’s Annual Report, you want to show that you accomplished the goals that you had set or how you are going to address areas that need focus. When you create the strategy and have the buy-in of the board, leadership and committees, send it out to your members and make sure that they are aware of where you’re going, and update them as you reach goals or milestones. The more you communicate to members, the more they will be excited about the direction and focus that the leadership is taking the organization in.