Strategic Planning for Roller Derby Leagues – Part 8. Determine your goals

Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Make sure members take a break and do a fun activity before starting the next step. Time to plank!

During the strategic planning process, a league can write as many goals they feel they can realistically achieve. Just like how mission statements follow a formula, writing goals also follows a formula:

S – Specific: The who, what, when, where, why and how of the goal.

M – Measurable: Include a way to measure success. How will know you you’ve achieved your goal?

A – Attainable: Based on your current league resources, is the goal attainable?

R – Relevant: Is it consistent with the league’s mission?

T – Timely: What’s the deadline or time frame in which you want to achieve results?

For detailed information and more examples of SMART goals, please visit this article. Also check out this great article by 8-Mean Wheeler of Terminal City Rollergirls about goal setting for your league.

XYZ League has completed analyzing where they are and where they want to go and have determined three categories to focus on for the next year: membership, training and space.

Armed with their new mission statement as guidance, members can now work together to analyze popular topics within each category and determine common goals which reflect member priorities.

blog categories

Members may vote to choose the most popular topics to write goals around. Or members may want to specifically write goals focused on increasing a current strength, eliminating a weakness, achieving an objective or reducing a threat. However you choose your league priorities, be sure there is discussion and an opportunity for members to vote.

Looking at XYZ League’s desired achievement (opportunities) under membership, it’s discussed that a league priority should be recruitment and retention so the league can potentially expand into four teams. A potential goal that reflects that priority, follows the SMART acronym and supports the league mission could be:

Increase membership by 10 male adult skaters, 15 junior skaters and 5 female adult skaters by the start of the 2016 season.

The goal is specific. It tells us exactly what the league wants to achieve – gain new members.

The goal is measurable. Specific numbers if recruitment are indicated so members can monitor progress while reaching it.

The goal is attainable. It will take focused work to make it happen, but is within reach for the league based on it’s current resources.

The goal is relevant. The goal of increasing membership across multiple spectrums supports the highlighted section of the league’s mission below:

The XYZ League is an all-ages, all inclusive roller derby league. Our mission is 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.

The goal is timely. An end date of achievement has been set.

Because this goal reflects the member priorities outlined in the previous exercise and contributes to achieving the league mission, it’s a good one for the members to accept.

It’s clear another goal priority should encompass overcoming the weaknesses within membership. Communication, drama and unwelcome environments appear to be an issue. Let’s write a SMART goal to help bring focus to overcome that concern:

Create an environment of mutual respect, tolerance and trust to maintain 80% skater retention and reduce reported member conflict by 20% by the start of the 2016 season.

The goal is specific. It tells us exactly what the league wants to achieve – keep existing members and reduce conflict by creating a positive environment.

The goal is measurable. Success is measured by how many skaters stay and how many formal complaints are reported (this league is obviously coming out of a recent league shakeup). Coming up with ways to measure the league environment or league culture can be tricky. You may want to develop a ‘league environment’ survey to help gauge the members thoughts on how they feel interacting with the other members. Then set measurables looking for increase in positive responses at the end of the goal term and have everyone re-take the same survey.

The goal is attainable. It will require shifts in attitudes and culture to make it happen, but it’s possible.

The goal is relevant. This goal achieves the following highlighted sections in the league’s mission:

The XYZ League is an all-ages, all inclusive roller derby league. Our mission is 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.

League goals should contribute to achieving the league's mission.

League goals should contribute to achieving the league’s mission.

The goal is timely. An end date of achievement has been set.

Because this goal also reflects member priorities and also contributes to achieving the league mission, it’s another good one to accept.

Goals should be written so all ideas within the mission statement are equally reflected. If you can’t write a goal to reflect part of your mission, members may want to step back and evaluate the mission to see if that idea should be in there.

Generally speaking, four yearly goals and two long-term goals (3-5 years) is a good place to start for smaller leagues. Be sure your goals are broad enough so all committees in your league can potentially contribute to its achievement.

The next step includes members breaking into their own committees to break down the league goals by brainstorming ideas on how their committee can contribute to each goal. This is called building strategy and is discussed in the next post.

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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