19 January, 2016

Is your Board Rowing Together?

We have all heard the saying ‘planning prevents a piss poor performance’. We demand that our coaches have an annual plan for their teams. We want our teams to best prepare for each game given the amount of time and resources each club puts into getting them onto the field each week.

So why is it, that many clubs and sporting organisations don’t have a strategic plan that is regularly reviewed and constantly used? I actually don’t have a good answer to that question, because I think that it should be a priority.

Maybe you still need to convince some people on your Board or Committee that spending the time to develop a clear plan is worth the time and effort? Try these three reasons on them:

1. To get the Committee, volunteers and staff focused

By having a strategic plan it allows your committee, volunteers and staff to focus on what is important. Ever seen a rowboat with everyone rowing out of sync – sure it still goes forward, but it is inefficient, looks terrible and eventually someone will want to leave!

A clearly defined and articulated strategic plan provides the cadence for your group. It provides a common purpose and direction. Everyone is ‘rowing together' providing greater motivation for success.

Not only does it focus the human resources within the organisation, but also allows other resources such as finances and equipment to be put where it is needed most.

2. To enable better decisions to be made

There is nothing more frustrating that sitting in a Committee meeting, discussing what should be a simple decision, but with everyone having a view on if the Committee should deal with it now or not.

By having a clear strategic plan these issues will either fit within the strategic plan or not. If it does, then deal with it according to what has been agreed, if it doesn’t then leave it for another day. This saves the Committee time - something you as volunteers don't have too much of, right?

Better decisions + better thinking = better results

3. To communicate with stakeholders

Your members want to see the Committee being successful, they want to see you actually do something. There are always the same people who are willing to lambast the Committee for not doing anything.

With a strategic plan you can clearly communicate to your members what you are going to do, how you are going to do it and with what resources. You can then regularly report back to your members on your progress. This removes the naysayers from the conversation and keeps your Committee accountable.

Make it happen

I have been developing strategic plans for sporting clubs and State Sporting Organisations in Australia for a number of years. When I’m working with a new organisation I first review or develop their strategic plan with them. We then work to implement it into their everyday operations as an organisation to drive the Committee or Board’s work.

The transformation I have seen in organisations that fully commit to implementing a strategic planning mindset into their organisation is huge. I have seen toxic cultures transformed; organisations where volunteers are pulling in different directions all start pulling together and achieving amazing success; I have seen membership numbers and program participants’ skyrocket.

A goal without a plan is just a wish

This has only been possible because a group of people committed to sitting down and spend time planning and then make some changes.

The process is actually very simple. It is not a secret art, we have just not taken the time to plan.

If your club or organisation needs assistance with its strategic plan, then please get in touch. I work with a limited number of organisations to deliver strategic plans per year and already have some clients booked in for 2016, so get in fast. Government Grants are often available to support and sometimes cover all of the process.

© 2018 Paul Mead

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