May 5, 2014
Over the years, Kellen Europe has developed significant expertise in the field of strategic planning to the extent that we consistently offer a strategic planning session with the association’s leadership every time we start managing an association.
In general, strategic planning is to be seen as a key tool that enables associations to scan the horizon, identify patterns of changes, interpret crucial trends and recognize the future directions that an association has to take to remain relevant to its members.
Together with the research firm ComRes, Kellen Europe has assessed the use of strategic planning processes by European trade associations by evaluating the current practices and tools which are applied when an association is conducting a strategic planning exercise, the results of which have been summarised in a special report.
One of the most important findings of this report is that strategic planning is genuinely seen as a fundamental step in setting the association’s vision, mission, strategic directions and objectives. At the same time, strategic planning is a flexible and adaptable tool able to accommodate a wide variety of strategy-related discussions. This is reflected in the assessment of the purpose and the content of the strategic planning exercises which goes well beyond the directions and objectives of an association and can also be used to revisit the association’s structure or communication activities.
The report also underlines the central role that Executive Directors play in proposing, preparing, guiding, performing and implementing the overall process of the strategic planning exercise. Even when the Executive Director is not leading the exercise, his/her role is considered crucial to brief and set the context within which the person in charge of the process has to operate.
Finally, the report highlights what is perceived by association executives to be the biggest challenge within the strategic planning process: the implementation of the established strategic plan. In the end, the translation of the outcome of strategic planning into concrete and measurable goals linked to the association’s strategy plan determines the overall value of the strategic planning process.
The report also includes some easy to use recommendations and references to tools which can be applied by every association executive responsible for dealing with the strategic planning process. In particular, the report lists:
- Ten steps to successful strategic planning for associations
- Strategic planning in phases – recommendations for association executives
- Recommendations for moderating and facilitating a strategic planning meeting
The report can be downloaded via this link.
Please download the Strategic Planning Report and provide us with your views on it as well as share your experience of strategic planning with us.
ComRes (www.comres.co.uk) conducted on behalf of Kellen Europe an online survey amongst association executives at European level. In total, 152 association executives interviewed from different industries have answered. In addition to the online survey, Kellen Europe conducted two focus group sessions with Secretary Generals and Directors from a total of 11 trade associations from different industry sectors, as well as four one-on-one interviews with other Secretary Generals and Directors.