Strategic Planning - Better Strategic Plans

Bob Harris, CAE, an Institute for Organization Management faculty member, always delivers great content and this blog post is based on his recent virtual session at an ACCE program.

He started out by talking about the 5 things a Strategic Plan does:

  1. Guides the Board of Directors;
  2. Aligns your committees;
  3. Empowers your staff;
  4. Communicates value to your members; and
  5. Drop programs that are no longer needed.

Bob suggested naming your next strategic plan - Vision 2025 or Vision 2030.  He went on to ask the question, "is your mission statement and strategic plan in your board members hands?"  If not, create something they can carry in their wallet.  Less is more!


He talked about the 5 top documents of an organization:

  1. Mission - purpose for existence;
  2. Articles of Incorporation - relationship to state government;
  3. Bylaws - relationship with members;
  4. Policies - interpretation of the governing documents; and
  5. Strategic Plan - roadmap for the organization.  Keep it tight, maybe 3 - 6 goals, 3 strategies/tactics per goal?  Some chambers are turning their strategic plan into their membership brochure.  Think info graphic!

Bob went on to talk about best practices in creating your strategic plan: 

  • Set the expectations upfront on what to expect in the process and what the outcome will be and the timetable (hopefully no more than 5 hours);
  • Hire a third party to facilitate the process.  Maybe a chamber CEO from a nearby city;
  • Use story boarding for the process;
  • Include both board and senior staff;
  • Conduct every 3 years;
  • Due diligence - survey members on your program of work as a starting point for your facilitator; and
  • Strategic plan goals should be on your board agenda at every meeting.

For a resource on strategic planning go HERE. And go to Bob’s website for his two new books HERE.