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Your Strategic Plan Needs a Champion
Wednesday, December 21, 2016 6:45 AM

By Robert C. Harris, CAE, The NonProfit Center

The board wrapped up its retreat, drafted a strategic plan, and intended to officially adopt it at the next meeting. That's often where plans die. Upon adjournment of the retreat, busy schedules take over. The plan is shelved or filed. The saying "out of sight, out of mind" applies.

There are many reasons a plan might fail, including transition of officers, an unwieldy plan, a board unaware of its importance or an officer more interested in building a legacy.

To deploy the plan and integrate it into the organization, a plan champion or task force may be appointed. The role is to ensure the strategic plan "takes hold."

Just as a board relies on a treasurer to monitor and report on the finances, a plan champion or committee reports on the strategic plan's progress. The intent is to keep the plan foremost in the minds of directors, committees, and staff.

The strategic plan champion should be a member of the board who is close to the chief elected officer (often the person most likely to next ascend to the position). He or she monitors and reports on progress for the year, making sure that the plan is not lost or waylaid in favor of personal agendas or distractions. When progress is slowed, the champion will question why.

A small group of board volunteers may be appointed as a task force on strategic plan implementation to maintain focus. They may develop innovative methods to keep the plan front and center. Staff may be added or consult with the committee. The task force serves until they are confident the plan has been integrated into the association.

There are a number of suggested action steps to employ after the plan is adopted. Be sure to read what they are by clicking here.

This plan acts as a safeguard against mission creep. "Good ideas" will arise at meetings that are accelerated by passion and group think ("I voted for it because I thought you were going to vote for it").

The plan keeps the board on track. If a priority or crises arises the plan may be delayed but the champion or task force will ensure attention returns to the plan.

Source: Multibriefs Exclusive

Get your 2017 off to a super start by participating in a strategic planning training session. Credit Union Resources offers the most up-to-date sessions with a risk-free guarantee, including discounts for first-quarter registration. Visit us online here, or contact Howard Bufe at 469-385-6820 or 800-422-5762, ext. 6820; or via email at