Strategic Planning Retreat and Implementation Case Study: Association
Most of our association clients have participated in Strategic Planning within the last 5 to 7 years, although some associations (about 10%) we have collaborated with either had never engaged in Strategic Planning, or who had not done so in more than 10 years. In this case, the client had last engaged in Strategic Planning 6 years ago, had completed and successfully realized its’ last-planned 5-Year Strategic Plan, and were looking to develop a new 5-Year Strategic Plan, incorporating changes in their associated industries, as well as among their and competitor associations.
There were two changes in the marketplace affecting the association: they had acquired their largest competitor and their associated industries (members and potential members) were shrinking. Thus, they wanted to engage in strategic planning to incorporate the acquired competitor and to adopt an updated strategy reflective of the marketplace.
We were tasked with the following objectives:
- Re-affirm purpose (mission) and vision
- Set the tone for facilitating acceptance of a shared vision
- Understand and incorporate member feedback against a list of strategically-focused questions
- Establish implementable Action Plans for the Board, Board Members and Past Presidents (one year, two years and five years)
To accomplish these objectives, we used an eight-step process:
- Survey participants – Understand perspectives and suggestions about associated mission and vision
- Review and understand shared vision – Already articulated by Past President in member communication
- Review member input – Surveys completed and focus groups conducted
- Brainstorming – At Retreat, identified all possible initiatives and endeavors associated with shared vision
- Goal and Objective Identification and Categorization – Everyone reduces the “brainstorm” list to the Goals and associated Objectives, with proposed timelines for implementation
- Action Planning – Participants take responsibility for implementing Goals and Objectives; before adjourning, one year, two year and five year Goals identified, reporting and accountability procedures determined
- Strategic Plan Distributed – First for member review and comment, then for voting on by the Board of Directors
- Implementation (with follow-up support) – Scheduled procedures and steps followed; as their consultants, we provide e-mail and phone reminders, as well as facilitate 6-month and 12-month Progress Report Meetings
Results were as follows:
- Incoming President and President-Elect successfully supervised and managed success against Strategic Plan over one year, two years and three years
- Several Officers and Committee Chairs, who successfully managed parts of successful Strategic Plan implementation over the first three years, were elected as President, President-Elect and/or as Officers, keeping those who were involved in planning continually participating in successful implementation of the Strategic Plan
- The total number of members who volunteered to participate on Committees nearly doubled over a three-year period (unheard of in most associations, who are constantly challenged with, “How to we either maintain or get more of our members to volunteer?”)
- 92% of the association’s 5-year Goals were realized within 3 years
We don’t mind telling you how proud we are to have not only facilitated their Retreat, but to have remained an active participant in facilitating follow-up, support and in their overall success.