Strategic Planning for Roller Derby Leagues – Part 4. Release the meeting agenda and rules of engagement

Fear of change and fear of the unknown will keep members from attending the strategic planning session. Sharing the agenda and summarizing how the day will unfold will help alleviate those fears.

An agenda outlining the process will allow members time to review the process prior to the meeting. Even if you know your members don’t review agendas on a good day, don’t deny them the opportunity. If your strategic planning session is coming after a time of drama, more than you think will be interested in knowing what’s up.

Set your agenda items based on planned activities. An example agenda may look like this:

XYZ Strategic Planning Meeting
9:30-10 a.m. Coffee and donuts
10 a.m. Call to order, facilitator introduction

Part One:
Mission statement: Who are we? What do we do? Why do we do it? For whom do we do it?

Part Two:
Where are we at? Where do we want to go?

Part Three:
Goal setting

Part Four:
Set strategy

Lunch will be from noon – 12:45 p.m.
Coffee break 2:45-3 p.m.

Avoid putting time restrictions on each area of discussion to allow for idea development. Feel free to add in team-building activities or burpee and planking breaks to shift the room energy every once in a while. If members tend to sit in their ‘cliques’ encourage an Alice in Wonderland tea party game and have everyone change places when they hear a secret word, to break up the power groups and get members mingling

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Meetings can be as bland as these guys. Be sure research fun ways to raise energy as you continue through the day. Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

To create a welcome environment, the league chair should stand at the meeting entrance and personally welcome all members who attend. It’s a small gesture, but one that will be appreciated by many.

The facilitator needs to take the lead role for the rest of the strategic planning meeting once they are introduced by the league chair. Members in established leadership roles are only participants in the process, which keeps no member having more authority over the other and allows ideas to flow more freely.

Other quick points to mention include:

  • Provide flip charts, whiteboards, markers, scrap paper, pens and pencils to capture ideas.
  • Phones off, tablets away, no laptops allowed.
  • Raise your hand to speak during group discussion (or create a strategy of your own to keep discussion open and respectable – 5 pushups if you talk out of turn?)
  • No ideas/thoughts are off limits during brainstorming sessions.
  • Encourage passive attendees to participate by asking them directly for their opinion during discussions. (Not just the job of the facilitator – it’s everyone’s job to ensure all are engaged)
  • This isn’t a time for accusations or bringing up a specific negative event that has since been resolved.
  • Remember that you are all there to help make the league more successful, efficient and fun to be a part of.

For more information on ideas for strategic planning ground rules check out this post on the top 11 ground rules for conducting a strategic planning session.

The next post will cover the first agenda item, writing a mission statement.

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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