g) Step 2 continued – The Planning Session

The planning session

The objective of the first planning session is to define:

  • the objectives of your Club
  • how the success for each objective will be delivered
  • by when each objective is to be delivered

Generally this meeting will be completed in between 2 – 3 hours.

The following format has been developed specifically for Clubs.  While there are many different ways to run a formal planning meeting this format has been developed to ensure everybody contributes (in a non threatening or confrontational environment) to the discussion while limiting time wasting discussions.

The format of the session is broken into 5 distinct parts:


a)      Welcome, introductions, thank yous, objectives of the session, format and rules.

Facilitator to take the rest of the session:

b)     Brainstorming workshop

To ensure all participants are given the best opportunity to provide input, break the group into smaller groups to discuss potential objectives for around 15 minutes.  It is important to understand that we are not looking for a consensus from each smaller group but simply to stimulate discussion and thought around the room.

Once you have concluded the brainstorming warm up, ask each person to take 5 – 10 minutes to write down their list of goals from their perspective.

c)      Nominating goals

The easiest way to do this is to collect the participant’s goals.  Writing these onto large pieces of “butchers” paper (one sheet per attendee) stuck to the wall makes the rest of the process quick and easy.

The participant will read out their goal and the scribe will write each nomination on the “butchers” paper as defined by the person, no transcribing or rewording it.

So far the group has simply shared their ideas and these ideas have been recorded.  There has not yet been any discussion.

d)     Grouping nominations

The next step now is to look at each of the potentially 80-90 nominations written on the “butchers” paper and find commonalities within the lists.  Ask the group to help find the most commonly mentioned goals.  Generally they will be able to be grouped under the following headings:

  1. Revenue growth and financial sustainability
  2. Volunteers
  3. Coaches
  4. Participation
  5. Facilities
  6. On field performance
  7. Community reputation

For example ‘introduce more community groups to our club’ and ‘have an additional under 10’s team’ would both fall under the heading of participation.  These may be goals themselves or key activities of a single goal.

Once all the similar, nominated goals are grouped together it is a lot easier for the facilitator to have a group discussion asking the group to clarify the specifics of the goals and what may be the key activities.

Multiple goals may also come out of the one grouping but please note we have not yet tried to define when we will deliver each goal or how we will define success.  It is easier to do this last once all the goals have been identified.

It is important to consider each nominated goal individually because the fact they have only been nominated by one or two people doesn’t make them any less important to consider.  Typically the facilitator will ask the person why they nominated the goal and ask the group should this because a final goal of the Club.  If there is not agreement, the facilitator will decide whether to continue the discussion or to carry the discussion over.

Once the group has agreed (or not) on its list of proposed goals a very good quality assurance check is to make sure that the goals cover the seven components of sustainability.  Revenue growth and financial sustainability, volunteers, coaches, participation, facilities, on field performance and community reputation.

There may not be a goal for each component but it is important that each is considered in the planning process.

e)      Define success and delivery dates

Once we get to the stage where we have a list of objectives we now need to define by when we what to achieve each objective and how are we going to define success.

On the surface this sounds quite an easy step but sometimes this is where there is actually the most discussion.  For example the goal, ‘have more senior participants’ may become “To grow from 50 to 80 senior participants by 30 December 2017”

Once you get to this stage in the initial planning meeting stop as you have reached your goal!!  The Club President will now close the meeting by thanking all involved and covering what the next steps in the process are and when they will be delivered.

More Strategic Planning:

a) What is Strategic Planning?
b) Setting and achieving goals
c) Goal setting and implementation planning
d) Starting the strategic planning process
e) Step 1 – Stakeholder Consultation
f) Step 2 – The formal planning process
h) Step 2 continued – Goal ownership and task definition
i) Step 3 – Sign off from members and stakeholders
j) Step 4 – Objective implementation, management and DELIVERY!
k) Strategic Planning Template