Over the years of working with volunteer leaders, I frequently see them wonder at the practical purpose of a mission statement, a vision, and a strategic plan. Everyone pretends to “get it” but when it’s time for the next plan, I hear a lot of leaders say that the last plan was more of an exercise than a meaningful directional process.
I understand this. If the vision isn’t the basis of your strategic plan, then your goals won’t be very strategic. If your mission doesn’t have meaningful connection to your daily work, your staff will be going in their own functional directions.
Most association vision statements aren’t particularly aspirational, and are often confused with the mission.
Goals are the basis of planning:
- Strategic goals help you identify and prioritize the biggest issues your association faces. Usually 3 or more years into the future.
- Annual goals help manage your business for a shorter term. Sometimes called the business plan, goals translate into activities, who does what – and by when so you can move in the direction of your strategic goals.
- Communications goals take association-wide goals, and help to link your communications to moving the big goals forward.
Strategic thinking matters. Thinking long term is necessary to preparing for the future. Good planning and communications brings your mission, vision and strategic plans to life.
The strategic plan works when big goals lead to activities, and measurements, and progress; the work that needs to be done to support your best possible future.