Strategic Planning for Roller Derby Leagues – Part 6 and 7. Where are you at? Where do you want to be?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

If you’re powering through strategic planning in a single day, now might be a good time to change the session energy with a fun activity, coffee break or even lunch.

Once your mission statement is determined and displayed for all to see, the facilitator can now encourage members to share their homework.

Using four flip charts or a large white board broken into four sections, the facilitator records members responses to the following questions:

  • 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)

As members are sharing their thoughts on league strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, the facilitator and members will start noticing commonalities or themes emerging.

Here is XYZ League's SWOT analysis. It's important to remember this is a brainstorming session and to be open to all responses.

Here is XYZ League’s SWOT analysis. It’s important to remember this is a brainstorming session and to be open to all responses.

Once all responses are recorded, the group then chooses categories that encompass common themes and reorganizes all the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats into categories. (See example)

Answers are then organized into common categories, which visually show where skater priorities lie.

Answers are then organized into common categories, which visually show where skater priorities lie.

With help from the facilitator, the members choose categories of social, membership, training and space as common themes. Then the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats get re-organized under each category. Ideas that don’t fit under any category can be set aside and considered a minor priority or a new category can be created to include it.

This process visually illustrates to all members general areas where league resources may need to be allocated and provide a starting point for goal writing.

In the example we see socially, the XYZ League is performing very strong. The members noticed the league’s strength in that area and since there are no weaknesses or opportunities, the league probably doesn’t need to focus on the social side of their league relations at this point. But it’s important to acknowledge that social issues are still important to members.

Membership and training, however, have several points that imply many members view those categories as priorities to focus on for future goal setting. These two categories will need to be examined in more detail in the next step.

The space category, while it’s not as detailed as membership and training, also contain potential for the league to focus on.

TRIGGER WARNING: If your league is recovering from a massive blowup, this step may trigger finger pointing, accusations and bringing up bad blood. It’s important for the facilitator to keep the conversation focused on the guiding questions and remind the participants that they are going through the exercise to help look ahead, not look behind. If issues continue to be brought up, section off a page or whiteboard area for ‘parking lot’ topics that will be revisited after the strategic planning process is complete.

This step will probably take the most time of your day and some of the conversations may become exhausting. But staying focused, finding reasons to laugh and remembering you’re all there to make your league better will help you stay on track.

The next post will outline how to take your gathered information and turn them into goals.

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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