Strategic Planning for Roller Derby Leagues – Part 3. Give your members homework to bring to the meeting

Presenting guiding questions to your membership prior to the strategic planning meeting will help them focus their thoughts and allow the strategic planning process to move more fluidly when you all gather together. Guiding questions should have members thinking about where the league is at and where they personally want the league to go.

Examples of guiding questions include:

  • What does XYZ League do really well? (strengths)
  • What does XYZ League do not so well? (weaknesses)
  • What would you like the XYZ League to achieve in a year? Three years? (opportunities)
  • What would prevent the XYZ League from making those achievements? (threats)

Encourage participation from your members by telling them the answers they bring to the strategic planning session will provide the foundation of direction of where the league should focus its resources of money, volunteers and time.

Image courtesy of scottchan at

Image courtesy of scottchan at

Do they want to be more competitive? Do they feel roster selection isn’t fair? Do they think recruitment should be a priority? The above guiding questions will pull that information out of each member. The more honest each member is (particularly about the weaknesses and threats) the easier it will be for the group to collectively come up with ways to improve.

The scope of responses will vary depending on who attends the meeting.

Strategic planning usually includes skaters, coaches, officials, NSOs, volunteers, but could also extend to sponsors and fans, depending on your motivation for introducing the need for strategic planning in the first place.

Providing homework also allows those who may not be able to attend an opportunity to provide input, if they pass their answers onto a league mate to present on their behalf.

In technical terms, this process is called conducting a SWOT analysis and is a technique that can be used to evaluate effectiveness in personal or professional endeavours! Now that members are tasked with their homework, it’s time to organize the strategic planning agenda and set session rules.

The New Year often reflects a time of change, which is what prompted me to write this series of posts containing a step-by-step guide on leading your league through a strategic planning session. Optimized for roller derby leagues, I tried to keep it as simple as possible and did my best to describe the activities.. Feel free to alter the process to best meet the needs of your league! Additional ideas and suggestions (if you’ve gone through the process yourself and want to share your successes/challenges) are always welcome in the comments!

More posts in the series
Strategic planning introduction
Part 1: How often should a league strategically plan?
Part 2: Encourage participation from your members, book a meeting, find a facilitator
Part 3: Give your members homework to bring bring to the meeting
Part 4: Release the meeting agenda and rules of engagement
Part 5: Determine your mission
Part 6 and 7: Where are you at? Where do you want to be?
Part 8: Determine your goals
Part 9: Determine strategy to achieve short and long-term goals
Part 10: The follow through 


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