Posted in Strategic Planning

BACon Blog - The Board Creates the Plan and the CEO Manages the PlanWhen association boards of directors and association CEOs have challenges working with one another, almost inevitably the root of the problem is unclear roles and responsibilities. This includes roles and responsibilities regarding the association’s strategic plan.

At the outset of your strategic planning process, you should establish clear roles and responsibilities for the board and CEO regarding the association’s strategic plan. Put simply, when it comes to your association’s strategic plan, the board creates the plan and the CEO manages the plan.

The Board of Directors is responsible for determining the vision, mission, goals, and objectives for the strategic plan. In other words, the Board sets the direction of the association.

The CEO, working with the staff of your association, is responsible for the strategies to achieve the objectives in the strategic plan. In other words, staff do the work of the association as determined by the board through the strategic plan.

The CEO is also responsible for managing the strategic planning process. Managing the process includes identifying a consultant and working with the consultant to establish the schedule and work plan for the process. The CEO then works with the consultant and association staff to provide the data and information needed for the strategic planning process.

Once the strategic plan has been approved by the board of directors, the CEO engages the association staff on the work to be done to achieve the goals of the strategic plan. The CEO also engages the volunteer workforce to ensure that the committees and task forces are conducting appropriate work to achieve the goals.

What should the board be focusing on once the plan has been created and the CEO manages? The board should focus its oversight on the success with the metrics (metrics should be on the objectives in the strategic plan, not on the strategies) and whether this success is leading to success with the objectives, and ultimately the goals, in the strategic plan.

The board creates the plan. The CEO manages the plan. The board focuses on the metrics. Get these roles and responsibilities clarified at the beginning of the strategic planning process. It will make everyone’s work much easier throughout the process.

John Barnes is President of Barnes Association Consultants. Barnes Association Consultants helps association Boards and CEOs address the wide range of challenges and opportunities facing today’s association leaders. Barnes Association Consultants helps association leaders make their associations better.

John can be reached at johnbarnes@barnes-consultants.com or 703.321.6866. For more information about Barnes Association Consultants, go to barnes-consultants.com.