An introduction to Strategic Planning, the latest WSA Online Training Platform course 

An introduction to Strategic Planning, the latest WSA Online Training Platform course 

The Welsh Sports Association (WSA) is offering the training course Strategic Planning on its Online Training Platform. 

A good strategic plan should provide sports clubs or organisations with a roadmap to help achieve goals and overall vision. It is a documented plan with key SMART objectives which help to focus not only the staff but an organisation’s or club’s resources in specific areas. 

Written and provided by Strategic Planning deliverer Geoff Wilson, this blog will not cover ALL aspects of the course, but it will provide a general introduction. 

Members can access this course at preferential rates, but it is open to all via the WSA Online Training Platform!

Click here to access Strategic Planning and get started!

 Why strategic planning matters 

Taking the decision to develop and grow your club or organisation means embracing the risks that come with growth and development. Spending time on planning should help you reduce and manage those risks. This includes identifying exactly where you want to take your club or organisation and how you will get there. 

As your club or organisation becomes larger and more complex, your strategy will need to become more sophisticated. You will also need to start collecting and analysing a wider range of information about the sport in your country and the organisation itself. You’ll need information on how your club or organisation operates and about current and potential developments in your sport. 

To develop a strategy, you must shift your focus from day-to-day concerns and consider your broad and long-term options. 

The four key elements of strategic planning 

To develop a strategy for your club or organisation you must deepen your understanding of the way your organisation works. You need to know how your organisation compares to other sport organisations in your country. As a starting point, you need to ask yourself the following four questions: 

1.Where is your club or organisation now?  

This involves understanding as much about your organisation as possible. Find out how it operates internally and externally, what drives its revenue/costs, and how it compares with competitors? What is happening in the sports industry? Who are your key stakeholders? What resources do you have at your disposal? Be realistic, detached and critical. 

2. Where do you want to take it?  

Work out your vision, mission, goals, objectives and values. Where do you see your club or organisation in three or five years? What do you want to be the focus of your club or organisation? 

3.  What do you need to do to get there/how do you get there?  

What specific action plans do you need to develop under each objective? What changes to the structure and financing of your club or organisation is needed? What is the best way of implementing those changes? 

4. Are you getting there?  

This phase relates to monitoring the implementation of your strategic plan. This step involves meeting regularly to critically scrutinise your organisation’s performance against the objectives and action plans formulated. 

What is a vision? 

In one sentence, a vision describes a clear and inspirational long term desired change, resulting from an organisation’s efforts and activities. 

It clearly states where you want your club or organisation to be in the future? 

What is a mission statement? 

A mission statement defines the current purpose and activities of your club or organisation – simply what you do, for whom, and what the benefits are. 

Your mission statement describes concisely (within a couple of sentences) your club or organisation’s activities, customers and how it manages each of these to achieve its purpose. It ultimately deals with the question – Why do you exist? 

What are Strategic Goals? 

These are long-term targets to which resources are directed and can be related to any one of the club or organisation’s key activities. 

Strategic goals are generally: 

  • Broad areas of focus that help to achieve your vision; 
  • Macro; 
  • Long term in nature; and 
  • Focused on addressing organisational or sporting issues. 

What are Objectives? 

Objectives are your strategic goals translated into specific milestones that can be performed using the resources of your club or organisation. Objectives should be SMART – – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Responsibility-assigned, and Time-bound. 

What are Action Plans? 

Action plans involve breaking down objectives into more precise activities or tasks. Action plans document for staff and stakeholders what is to be done, by whom, how and when. 

 Key learnings  

Conducted detailed research or an operational review on your club or organisation prior to starting the strategic plan. 

Bring together your key team and ensure they all contribute during the workshop. 

Organise several strategic planning workshops. Ensure you give enough time to this process. I also recommend the workshops are held away from the stadium or headquarters. 

Ensure all objectives are SMART and measurable. 

Set up a strategic review committee whose purpose is to monitor and evaluate the implementation of the strategic plan. This review committee should meet every quarter with a report provided to the board regarding the status of tasks completed. 

Launch your strategic plan to your key stakeholders and staff. Ensure everyone is bought into the vision, goals etc.

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