Strategic Planning for Roller Derby Leagues – Part 9. Determine strategy to achieve short and long-term goals

You’ve come a long way in determining your league’s direction! Be sure to give your members a pat on the back. 

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

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

This next step can be completed on the same strategic planning day or task each committee chair to have their own meeting to develop strategy a few days after the strategic planning session.

Developing strategy means asking: “How are we going to achieve our goal?” and this is where members earn their sense of empowerment and become more engaged to participate in their league’s success.

The facilitator asks for the board of directors to join as a group and have the rest of the members split into committees they serve on. Members who aren’t on the board or part of a committee can join any group they have an interest in.

Any member who has not previously joined a committee can consider this their committee draft day. Whichever group they join, they are now a member.

Each group needs to appoint someone to record ideas. With the league goals and league mission displayed, discuss what you can do at your board or committee level to help contribute to the league goals. These tasks will help set your committee’s focus over the coming months.

For example, in the previous activity, members decided this was the league goal…

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

To achieve that goal the committees may contribute in the following way:

Training committee:

Ask for advertising budget to promote new skater intake nights to help contribute to the goal of increasing memberships.

Increase the number of new skater intake nights.

Develop a 3-month fresh meat plan that provides consistent skill development and progress check points to keep new skaters engaged and returning to fresh meat practice.

Fundraising committee:

Investigate more public fundraisers and include a recruitment component to take advantage of the new audiences.

Media committee:

Develop a fresh meat information package which provides practice days & times, places to purchase gear, fees and communicates what it’s like to be part of the culture of roller derby.

Finance committee:

Budget $200 to buy more ‘tryout’ gear

An example flow chart

An example flow chart

Once each committee brainstorms their ideas, the facilitator creates a flowchart capturing all the ideas (this is big task and may need to be completed after the meeting).

Individually, committees now have now strategically chosen their direction, which contributes to larger league goals and mission. From this point, it’s up to the committees to appropriately task their members with jobs in order to complete these strategies.

To achieve the league goals, tasks may include one-time or short-term projects, like buying more loaner gear so new recruits can try (and get hooked) on the sport. On the other side of the spectrum, leagues may need to change policy, change the way they are internally structured or change the way they run their league in order to achieve goals. Larger league re-focusing initiatives will need to be 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 projects should be handled by the committee members. It just doesn’t make sense to task board members to price out and purchase new loaner gear when you likely have 15+ members who could also complete that task.

If your board of directors are guiding all the decisions (big and small) and taking on the responsibility in implementation, not only will those board members eventually burn out, they also set themselves up for criticism (as discussed in the introduction of this series) and are missing out on engaging and using a very skilled and capable group – the rest of the members who are not on the board.

Writing league goals and empowering your committees to make decisions to achieve those goals, will eliminate the guesswork of focus, put trust and faith in your committees, which will then boost morale through conscious member engagement.

But once you’ve written your mission statement, determined league goals and set strategy, your work doesn’t stop there. Following through after the strategic planning process is essential, which is discussed in the next (and final) post.

CONGRATULATIONS! Your strategic planning session is complete. Go buy yourselves a round or two.

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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