Setting the strategic direction for your association and making it happen.
A sound strategic plan guides decision-making at your association and is a critical tool for prioritisation of effort, in an operational environment where there is always plenty of things to do and not enough time or resources to do everything. Well executed, a strategic planning process can also create strong momentum at an association, inspiring staff and volunteers to rally together to work towards common goals.
Strategic Planning for Membership Associations
Too often, membership associations do not have an overarching, agreed strategic plan in place. Or, if they do have one, they fail to connect this to their annual operational plans and budgeting, causing a complete disconnect between aspiration and delivery. Or they fail to get key stakeholders on board with the plan, making implementation challenging. A poor strategic plan wastes everyone’s time and squanders opportunity.
The stakes are high. And the potential rewards are great.
This means you simply must invest the time, effort and resources required to get your strategic planning process right.
Our Approach to Strategic Planning
We have extensive experience working with boards and senior leadership teams at membership associations, including the Institute of Professional Editors, the Australian Institute of Credit Managers, the Australasian Neuroscience Nurses Association, the Association of Corporate Counsel (Australia), the Australian Association for Research in Education, Western Alliance, the Australasian Legal Practice Management Association and AustLaw, to collaboratively develop sound strategic plans – and then turn them into reality.
Step 1: Background Research
We conduct online research into your Association and the broader sector, and review relevant internal and external documents, budgets etc to gain deeper understanding of your association’s current operations and competitive market positioning.
Step 2: Stakeholder Interviews
We then conduct one-to-one, confidential interviews with key stakeholders to gather their views, insights into what is working and what is not and seek their input on the future direction of the association, the opportunities that could be addressed, competitive threats and barriers to achieving desired outcomes. This process helps ensure key stakeholders are engaged in the process and have an opportunity to put forward their views in a one-to-one confidential setting. The outcomes from these interviews are summarised and provided as input into the planning workshop.
Step 3: Strategic Planning Workshop
We then facilitate a strategic planning workshop with your association’s leaders, working collaboratively to develop the key strategic priorities for your association, typically for a three year period. We then work together to identify the strategic initiatives required to achieve these priorities. For each initiative, we will identify who will take ownership and the timeframe for achievement. We will also cover key measures for success for each initiative and risk management.
Step 4: 3 Year Strategic Plan
We then document the output from the workshop, and work collaboratively with your team to finalise an agreed, documented three year strategic plan.
Step 5: Communications Strategy
Once you have a sound strategic plan, it is important to ensure everyone understands it! We work with you to develop a strategy to help you communicate the strategic plan to your staff, members and stakeholders to ensure everyone clearly understands the direction the association is heading in and how the association plans to get there. This often includes producing a professionally designed, summary version of your strategic plan.
Step 6: Year 1 Operational Plan
We work with your leaders to develop the operational plan detailing how your association will implement the first year of the strategic plan. This final step provides the often missing critical link between strategy and implementation and provides a template for your association to use for subsequent years of the plan. Your board and management can then easily track and report on progress towards achievement of your strategic priorities.
Step 7: Quarterly Reviews and Executive Coaching
We can also help you prepare a scorecard to report progress, conduct quarterly progress reviews to maintain momentum and accountability and provide on-going coaching to support senior executives as they progress with implementing the plan.
Talk to us
This rigorous, proven approach is the reason why our clients choose us for this important work. If your association needs experts to guide its strategic plan development, then let’s talk.