Strategy is Not a Dirty Word: Keep it simple to get it done.

03 Aug 2022 12:48 PM | Sarah Gamble (Administrator)

If you’re leading an association which has no strategic plan, you’re not alone!  The metaphorical beaches are filled with heads in the sand.  

It’s not uncommon for the leaders of associations to spend too much of their time ‘in’ the business rather than ‘on’ it. Does your board spend a lot of each meeting debating what software to use to handle regular procedures, addressing issues within the team, reviewing venue options for events and other such operational topics? If so, you’re stuck in the weeds, you’re limiting success and you aren’t adding your highest-level value.

Effective strategic planning is simple and clear.

Having a solid strategic plan (including a set of goals with a 3-year horizon and a detailed action plan for the coming 12-months) is the single best tool to help keep the board focused in the right areas. The process of determining a strong strategy includes many steps, the first of which is to be clear on:

  • Who your organisation does and doesn’t do.
  • What drives you and what you stand for.
  • What problem do you solve for your members.

Step 1:
In other words, you need to be crystal clear on your mission, vision and values (MVV). Check out our Mission, Vision, Values Cheat Sheet which will help you to easily get clear on these guiding principles for your organisation.

Step 2:
The next step is to develop a three-year strategy; a set of aims addressing where you want to get to and what you want the organisation to look like in the future. You will be guided by your MVV while developing the strategic plan. We recommend between 3-5 key pillars or goal areas, with between 3-5 key goals under each one. A simple 1-page document is enough to lay it all out.

Step 3:
The final step in the planning phase is the development of a detailed plan of action for the following 12-month period. What do you need to achieve in the next year in order to set you up for success in three years? Broken down into quarterly goals and month-by-month actions, this document becomes your working roadmap.  At its most drilled-down level, this is your to-do list!

Planning is a continuous cycle
The planning cycle – in the diagram below – is a continuous cycle of assessment, action-taking and review. 

The benefits of solid planning are many: spend less time questioning decisions, eliminate time-wasting on non-core activity, get all your stakeholders ‘on the bus’, have the knowledge you need to plan and budget for the resources you’ll require, deliver the value your members want. And for the board; you can get back to your rightful role - in the driver’s seat.

For more detail on simple strategy development, contact onsomble.

The Australasian Society of Association Executives (AuSAE)

Australian Office:
Address: Unit 6, 26 Navigator Place, Hendra QLD 4011 Australia
Free Call: +61 1300 764 576
Phone: +61 7 3268 7955

New Zealand Office:
Address: 159 Otonga Rd, Rotorua 3015 New Zealand
Phone: +64 27 249 8677


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