Creating value really matters in an association’s strategic plan. Even if the words “creating value” aren’t spelled out, one of the many reason for strategic planning is to use your resources (people, time and money) to focus on key member, industry and/or market issues. To determine value, you could start with this question: “What promise do we make to solve a significant issue for our members?”
Value has many forms – it may be a tool, an emotional benefit that is safe or efficient, or the way an association communicates the key benefits of membership. While it may seem like a daunting task to embark on improving value in your association, most times just putting your head down and going to work is an ideal place to start. Yes, as they say, “Just Do It”.
Seeing association leadership in action makes it very clear to me that there are three equal elements to creating value: planning, leadership involvement and implementation. Meet the Nebraska Pharmacists Association.
I take pride in the chance to take part in their path to creating more member value. Here’s what I see in a board and staff that makes the process work:
- Strategic planning narrowed down NPA’s 2011 goals to three important ones. Board member names were attached to each goal, making them the lead for developing the operational plan to support the goal.
- There is a real champion for member feedback – the member services director knows that productive planning can’t happen without knowing exactly what’s important to Pharmacist members current and prospective customers. A member research project was funded – two surveys: one for members, and one for non-members.
- With the final results, the staff reviewed the findings and key messages. The board received them as well. But it didn’t stop there.
- Last night at 6:30, 12 staff and board members conferenced for 90 minutes to discuss the survey together. First we reviewed the highlights of the survey process and results. Then I gave them three specific conclusions in the form of recommendations, and ideas about possible activities to support them.
- VERY SPECIAL STEP: After the presentation, every board member expressed their one biggest take-away from the report – the top priority that NPA should do to operationally support their strategic plan. Once they were finished, the ED had a list of a dozen insightful ideas about how the board and staff together can focus their efforts to make the right kind of change to chip away at meeting their goals.
- Not only did they spend 90 minutes making progress on their strategic plan, but took a stab at a process to firm up their value proposition – soon they will reconvene to work on their new elevator speech.
How do you spell V-A-L-U-E C-R-E-A-T-I-O-N? A board and staff determined to do the few, right things to grow the organization. Leaders who not only wants to make positive change, but also willing to be part of creating it.
Board and staff lead for a reason – to learn about what members value, and then make the right decisions about what belongs in a strategic – and operating plan to deliver on the promises they make. Congratulations, NPA.