In keeping with Kurt’s article on education and orientations being the cornerstone to a club’s success, the same can be said for the strategic planning process in private clubs. We consider the Strategic Planning Committee to be one of the most important committees in the Club. However, we often find that while those undertaking the strategic planning process are leaders within the organization (often the Board of Directors), many of those participants do not have a good grasp of the strategic planning process as it relates to a private club. Before you begin to develop a strategic plan at your club, it is critical that everyone involved fully understands the framework of the process. Several factors play a crucial role in the plan’s success. They are:

  • Understanding the importance of the mission and vision statements.
  • Determining how to define the strategic issues impacting the Club.
  • Understanding how to react to these issues.
  • Making the time commitment necessary to meet the plan’s objectives.

The old saying “getting everyone on the same page” before you start is most applicable here. In a previous article, we also discussed who should be in charge of the plan. As noted, clubs with successful strategic plans usually have three key players driving their plan: the President or Committee Chair, a facilitator, and their General Manager/COO. By taking the lead, these individuals also accept the responsibility of ensuring that all of the participants fully understand the process before they begin. It is important to point out that for a successful plan to be implemented at a private club it has to be embraced by the overall membership, not just the Board and management.

Not to oversimplify this, but for all of the above reasons, it is important for every participant to clearly understand the process and the commitment necessary; getting “everyone on the same page” to ensure the development of a relevant strategic plan and ultimately the Club’s success. – JS

John R. “Jack” Sullivan, CCM

Jack is Vice President of Hamilton Harbor Yacht Club and provides consulting services to private clubs. He specializes in strategic planning and other private club operational issues.