This week, Steve Randall and I facilitated a strategic planning session with a local Great Lakes chapter. This was my first time working with a chapter in this capacity. Not only was it a lot of fun (honestly), I was very pleased with the process and outcome.
The first step in orchestrating a strategic planning session is to have a chapter board that is willing to exert the time and commitment to outline and institute specific goals for the chapter, this chapter had just that. The board knew the chapter was functioning at a high level and has been well-managed, but wanted to focus in on a few key areas for the coming year and beyond.
The strategic planning process is pretty simple and begins with board members stating what they hope to 'get out' of the planning process. Once this is covered, a SCOR analysis is completed on the chapter by the board. After we have the strengths, challenges, opportunities and risks of the chapter, the group then votes and focuses in on the couple most important bullet points from each SCOR area.
Establishing your chapter's framework for the future.
This information is now used to lay the groundwork for short and long-term goals. Whether it is addressing the chapter mission and vision, communication, chapter meetings, budgets, member participation or working with allied associations, the strategic planning process focuses resources on areas that will have a significant impact on the chapter moving forward. Not only can you now focus on these areas to improve chapter operations, it also sets timelines and assigns committees to complete these goals.
If your chapter has not participated in a strategic planning meeting, or it's been a handful of years since your last session, I highly encourage you to host a strategic planning session. Steve Randall has facilitated many strategic planning sessions during his time with GCSAA, and brings a wealth of knowledge to chapter boards and functions. These sessions are thought-provoking and can help lay the foundation of a successful chapter for the short- and long-term, and most importantly, improves the value and benefit the chapter brings to its members.