Strategic Planning at NACE International: Series Finale

The model adopted by the Board of Directors to facilitate strategic planning at NACE.

We started this series by defining strategic planning as “a process that provides a roadmap for taking our association from a well-defined Present State, to a compelling and significantly different Future State.” Over the past 11 issues of MP, we have presented key outcomes of our process, and explained in greater detail the Strategic Plan for our association.

The remaining issue is to review the strategic planning cycle we’ve adopted for the Board.

Full Strategic Planning Workshop

This meeting occurs once every three years, and is held in conjunction with the Fall meeting of the Board. During this two-day workshop we confirm and recommit to our Core Ideology. Significant time is spent developing a common understanding of all aspects of the Present State health of our association.

After these discussions, members complete a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) analysis, gaining agreement on these issues. With this perspective in mind, we challenge our timeless vision statement (to make certain it remains relevant) and establish specific overarching goals for the next three years. That is, we paint a verbal picture of our desired destination.

The balance of the workshop deals with development of our Plan for Success, including Key Strategic Initiatives for the upcoming year, and the Implementation Plans used to guide us along the journey.

Review & Reload

As we learned last month, strategic plans fail if allowed to become static. We follow a formal Review & Reload (R&R) process to keep us heading the right direction, while allowing course corrections to address current circumstances. Our R&R process ensures our plan is dynamic. At the Board level, R&R sessions are held in conjunction with the face-to-face meetings held at conference and in June in Houston, Texas.

Annual Update Workshops

Annual update workshops follow a similar agenda as the full strategic planning workshop, but with a differing level of depth. Only Present State information that is substantively different than the previous year is discussed. The Vision and Overarching Goals are challenged, but not changed unless something significant has changed within the association or the membership we serve. Our focus is on the Plan for Success, which establishes our plans for the next year. For the Board, these annual update workshops are normally completed in a day, at the Fall meeting.

As you can see, strategic planning is an ongoing process at NACE, not an event. We work on our plans continuously. During the process, Board members who represent every facet of our operations listen to, debate, and analyze data and information until we reach a common understanding of the Present State health of the Association. With this knowledge in hand, the Board creates a verbal picture of a compelling Future State.

Successful execution of the plan is critical. Our Plan for Success process creates the roadmap that we follow to move us toward our Overarching Goals. It includes our key strategic initiatives for the next year, a planning tool to identity and focus us on the most important short-term tasks, and a review process that helps establish accountability, monitor progress, and make course corrections as necessary.

We hope you have enjoyed this series.

Note: This article is maintained as part of an ongoing series of posts on the NACE web site.

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