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FGS 2015 - Strategic Planning for Society Leaders



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FGS 2015 - Strategic Planning for Society Leaders

  1. 1. Strategic Planning for Society Leaders Jordan Jones FGS 2014 – San Antonio, TX W-103
  2. 2. What is Strategic Planning? Strategic planning is a process of: • evaluating the mission and vision of an organization and then • designing a broad set of achievable goals • to strive for over a course of years, • which if achieved will support the mission and vision.
  3. 3. Mission Statement “a statement of the purpose of a company, organization or person, its reason for existing” — “Mission Statement,” Wikipedia ( nt)
  4. 4. Vision Statement • Defines the optimal desired future state — the mental picture — of what an organization wants to achieve over time; • Provides guidance and inspiration as to what an organization is focused on achieving in five, ten, or more years; • Functions as the “north star” — it is what all employees understand their work every day ultimately contributes towards accomplishing over the long term; and, • Is written succinctly in an inspirational manner that makes it easy for all employees to repeat it at any given time. — Jennell Evans, Psychology Today, Smart@Work,
  5. 5. What is Strategic Planning Not? Project Planning • A single, specific project is tactical, not strategic • Projects on their own might lack context
  6. 6. What is Strategic Planning Not? Long-Range Planning • May not consider mission or vision • Long-range planning is tactical, not strategic • Without strategy, long-range planning on subsets of the organization may miss key aspects of the strategic direction
  7. 7. Why Do Strategic Planing? • This is a large investment of time, and if you pay a facilitator, also of money … so why would you want to do this? • It’s critical to periodically review your strategic plans to operate effectively and to continue to improve your offerings to members, prospective members, and the community.
  8. 8. Race for Relevance 5 Radical Changes for Associations 1. Overhaul the Governance Process (for example, Overhaul Committees) 2. Empower the CEO and Enhance Staff Expertise 3. Rationalize the Member Market 4. Rationalize Programs, Services, and Activities 5. Bridge the Technology Gap and Build a Framework for the Future
  9. 9. “...The thinking was that the more an association offers with membership, the more value membership has. Wrong. Unused services have no value. Unneeded programs have no value...” — Harrison Coerver and Mary Byers, CAE, Race for Relevance
  10. 10. “......the traditional model for associations doesn’t work well in today’s environment … because of rapid changes and the continually shifting landscape. While most associations … are not in immediate danger, they will struggle as they cling to conventional approaches and structures.” — Harrison Coerver and Mary Byers, CAE, Race for Relevance
  11. 11. “They will survive but they won’t grow. They will function but without vitality. They will have members but their market share will decrease. They will exist but their influence will decline....” — Harrison Coerver and Mary Byers, CAE, Race for Relevance
  12. 12. Take-Aways for Genealogical Societies • We are competing for attention against: • The Internet (Facebook) • Video in general (TV, Netflix, YouTube) • The Internet-of-Things and other futurological inventions • We can’t compete if we do not have strategic plans or they are 20, 10, or even 5 years old.
  13. 13. Benefits of Strategic Planning How can it help your society? Source: Flickr Commons
  14. 14. Some Benefits • Requires stepping away from the day-to-day • Allows for open dialog • Allows you to back away from details and take a long view • Encourages creativity • Requires people from across the organization to look at every aspect of the society
  15. 15. Your Key Question “How would we run this society if we were starting over today?”
  16. 16. Challenges of Strategic Planning Be Aware of These
  17. 17. Paralysis by Analysis • It’s easy to talk something to death. • Create time boundaries to make sure discussions are productive and timely. • Agree to stay at the high-level and leave the detailed planning work for when you are closer to actually doing it. Today, you are just looking out 2-3 years in the future.
  18. 18. Territoriality • By all means, respect the expertise of those who have led your committees (publications, events, website) • Acknowledge, however, that anyone might have good ideas about anything • Make sure everything is on the table for discussion
  19. 19. It’s Not Just a Planning Process … • It’s also a personal process • Even closely knit teams will have some challenges working through a strategic planning process • Strategic planning usually involves transiting Tuckman’s Stages of Group Development
  20. 20. Tuckman’s Stages of Group Development • Forming — Orientation, testing, and dependence • Storming — Resistance to group influence and task requirements • Norming — Openness to other group members • Performing — Constructive action • Adjourning — Disengagement
  21. 21. Case Study The 2013 NGS Strategic Planning Process Source: Michael Carduus, Flickr Commons
  22. 22. What Led to the Process • The Board was feeling that there were many changes that presented strategic risks and opportunities: • Technology Changes • Mobile apps for conferences • Cloud-based infrastructures • New players in the genealogy space
  23. 23. Evaluated Facilitation Options • In-House Facilitation — Might have been acceptable, but would be risky, and would pull that person away from the general process. • Professional Facilitation — Recommended. • As a neutral outsider, the facilitator would have no “side” in any disagreements. • She will also bring experience in facilitating these kinds of discussions.
  24. 24. Decision on Facilitator The NGS Board decided to hire Elizabeth Scott, of Brighter Strategies in Washington, DC
  25. 25. Overall Plan
  26. 26. The Stages • Stage 1 — Lay the Groundwork (Half day at a board meeting) • Stage 2 — Stakeholder Feedback (Surveys) • Stage 3 — Retreat (Full day) • Determine the Mission, Vision, and Values (MVV) • Conduct a SPOT analysis • Create Strategic Goals • Stage 4 — Implementation and Planning • Set strategic measures • Stage 5 — Develop & Deliver Strategic Plan • Write and communicate the plan
  27. 27. Stage 1
  28. 28. Stage 1: Lay the Groundwork • The board agreed to fund the project step-wise. At each step, we would vote whether to continue or not. • The facilitator joined a board meeting for half a day to present the process, the goals, and the projected outcomes (a key part of Stage 1).
  29. 29. Stage 2
  30. 30. Stage 2: Stakeholder Surveys • Under the direction of the facilitator, we conducted two online surveys: • External — Members, former members, and prospective members (those who had bought something from us or attended a conference) • Internal — Board members, staff, contractors, and former board members
  31. 31. Survey Questions The questions were a mix of: • ranking (which is more important to you), • rating (1-5), and • open text field questions about the society’s current services and offerings, as well as where it could focus in the future.
  32. 32. Survey Findings • The facilitator calculated numerical scores, and • organized and presented verbatim comments with them into • a report for the board
  33. 33. Stage 3
  34. 34. Stage 3: Board Retreat • The NGS Board scheduled a “retreat” • It was in a similar location to where we would have a meeting, but regular business was not allowed • We arranged to have this one within driving distance of the facilitator • We worked with the facilitator to draft a detailed agenda beforehand • Preparation included studying the survey report
  35. 35. Board Retreat Agenda
  36. 36. Board Retreat Agenda • 9:30-11:00 – Review Survey Feedback (90 mins.) • 11:15-12:00 – Clarify the Vision (45 mins.) • 12:30-1:00 – Vision Report Out (30 mins.) • 1:00-2:30 – SPOT Analysis (90 mins.) • 2:45-4:30 – Identify Core Strategies (105 mins.)
  37. 37. SPOT (or SWOT) Analysis Strengths Opportunities Problems (Weaknesses) Threats
  38. 38. Result of the Retreat • Lots of Flip Charts! • Organization around four major strategic areas: • Education • Internal Operations • Communications • Conference • Leaders and sub-committees were appointed for each of the four areas
  39. 39. Areas of Strategic Focus 1. Redefine our approach to learning and educational offerings 2. Strengthen internal operations 3. Improve overall communication 4. Enhance our conference model
  40. 40. Stage 4
  41. 41. Step 4: Implementation Planning • As each team reviewed the flip charts and notes from the Board Retreat, they considered: • What should we do? • How can we measure it? (Metrics) • How will we know when we are done? (Definition of Done)
  42. 42. Stage 5
  43. 43. Stage 5: Develop and Deliver Strategic Plan • Using the flip charts as a starting point, each of the four groups held separate facilitated meetings to define the plan in more detail, including the measures in Stage 4. • The plan was assembled and shared with the whole board for further discussion review and approval. • The board agreed that good ideas would not require full board approval, so some are in place today.
  44. 44. Final Approval • The NGS Board is nearing final approval of the recommendations of the subcommittees
  45. 45. After Stage 5 • Execute the plan • Review the plan • Lather, rinse, repeat
  46. 46. Summary
  47. 47. Commit to the Process • Everyone, even skeptical board members, must commit to doing this. • Life will intrude: • Health, • weather, • conferences • might have an impact. • Keep going! • It’s a process and a mindset, not a meeting.
  48. 48. Thank You! These Slides will Be Posted by Labor Day to

Editor's Notes

  • Jennell Evans, “Smart@Work: Vision and Mission — What’s the difference,” Psychology Today (
  • “Man with Book Sitting in Chair,” George Eastman
    House Collection, c. 1915, Flickr Commons, 2008:
  • Bruce W. Tuckman, “Developmental Sequence in Small Groups,” Psychological Bulletin, 63:6 (1965), 384-99, as revised in Bruce W. Tuckman and Mary Ann C. Jensen, “Stages of Small-Group Development Revisited” by Tuckman and Mary Ann Jensen, Group & Organization Studies 2:4 (Dec 1977), 419-27. which added the “adjourning” stage.
  • “Create-Learning Team Building and Leadership. Flip Chart notes from Change Management, Project Management, Training Techniques for Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belts (8),” (c) 2012 by Michael Cardus, Flickr Commons: Used in accordance with a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license:
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