Strategic Planning for Roller Derby League – Part 10. The follow through

If you made it this far, then your league has:

The league's mission, goals and committee strategies are all connected to benefit the greater good - your members!

The league’s mission, goals and committee strategies are all connected to benefit the greater good – your members!

With each committee breaking down each goal into bite-size tasks, it makes the running of the league less daunting because ALL members are doing a little bit of something.

The flow of ideas become more fluid and committees can confidently make decisions about what to try next, as the next strategy will also reflect a common league goal. Members can refer to the materials created during the strategic planning process to help jump-start conversations within the committee.

At the committee level, there is still debate as to what strategy to focus on, if there are several potential candidates. But members can also measure their strategies against the league’s mission to help analytically make a decision, eliminating personal interests and bias toward one decision than the other.

If you’ve written your league goals using SMART guidelines, members will be able to analyze strategic contributions toward achieving that goal. For example, if advertising your league’s new skater intake brings adds 5 dues-paying fresh meat members, that strategy has contributed to the goal of increasing membership by the start of the 2016 season. It also shows the strategy of advertising new skater intake is effective and worth trying again.

Failure is reduced as it gives committees the power to re-evaluate and try strategies again. A failed committee strategy does not get abandoned and ignored if it doesn’t work. The committee may choose to evaluate its failure, alter and try again, or they may choose to table it and go in a completely different direction.

Your mission, goals and strategies should be able to connect easily to each other. The strategy that has potential to achieve multiple points within the mission is often a good place to start.

Committee Strategy helps achieve league goals. League goals help achieve league mission.

Committee Strategy helps achieve league goals. League goals help achieve league mission.

For example:

The training committee’s strategy of:
Advertising to promote new skater intake nights…

Helps achieve the league goal of:
Increase membership by 10 male adult skaters, 15 junior skaters and 5 female adult skaters by the start of the 2016 season…

Which contributes to achieve the league’s mission:
To educate and develop the community of roller derby while providing an opportunity to engage in an alternative sport, healthy-living, competitive atmosphere and volunteerism.

This strategy has potential to make a large impact toward the league’s mission because it has potential to affect multiple points within the mission: community development, raising awareness which will provide more opportunities for other to engage in the sport. It’s a good strategy to pursue.

However, in order to maintain the empowerment, committees directors and members need to make the commitment to: 

Regularly communicate the mission and goals to the entire league

This will improve member engagement, empower them to stay on task and increase member buy-in. Post your mission and goals in your league’s private Facebook group. Scan or digitize your flowchart from the session and post it online or hang it up in your practice space. Include your mission on all internal and external league communication.

Conduct regular meetings at the committee level

Committees need to come together regularly to discuss progress within their strategies. In person is best, but there are alternatives like Google Hangouts or Facebook Messenger (not my favourite as context is often lost and it’s easy for conversations to get off track).

When a committee strategy is chosen to be focused on, every committee member should be given a task to contribute to its completion. The meetings are simply providing updates as to where each committee member is at with their task and discuss regular week-to-week business the committee is responsible.

If the meetings are REGULAR and everyone makes the commitment to be PREPARED to provide a quick update, you will find meetings will go quickly and all committee members will know what others have been doing to work toward the goal. Full transparency reduces questionable behaviour and allows members to hold each other accountable in achieving the league goals.

Insist committee chairs report at board meetings

Committee chairs should prepare a monthly report summarizing what the committee has been doing to work toward the league’s goal. For example: At the first board meeting after the strategic planning session, XYZ’s training committee chair may report they have sent a request to the finance committee for advertising funds approval and they are awaiting a decision.

During the finance committee report, the chair may communicate to the training committee chair the finance committee approved the request and they have the go ahead to start booking advertising.

As a result, directors make fewer decisions at the board meeting level and become more league facilitators and policy implementers. The week-to-week operations and strategy decisions are moved to the committee-level, because you have developed a strong foundation to make decisions from.

Larger league re-focusing goals are handled at the board level. For example: to achieve goals the league may have to decide to increase dues, integrate a paid a staff member or review skater code of conduct policies. One-time and short-term goals are handled by the committee members. For example: fundraising or bout events, pricing out and purchasing gear, determining skater intakes.

Because the work at the committee level is regularly reported at the board level by the committee chair, board members know what’s going on and can monitor activity, but have less of a hand in implementation because that work has been pushed to the committee level.

If meetings are regularly conducted at the committee level, chairs can distribute tasks and continue involving their members in discussing ways to achieve goals. Everyone becomes engaged and involved!

What a novel idea – everyone has a hand in contributing to the league’s success!

By setting a league mission, writing league goals based on that mission and allowing committees to set strategy to achieve the league goals:

  • Moves the decision-making power to the committees and gives them the power to also implement them.

Since league committees are made up of more skaters than directors, tasks are more equally divided across the league, board members are less likely to suffer burnout and…

…the league is truly
BY THE SKATERS, FOR THE SKATERS
as all are contributing to the league’s success!

Thank you for reading through my strategic planning series! I look forward to hearing feedback about your experiences with roller derby strategic planning.

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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