Plan development is the first component of strategic planning. During this stage, the following steps should be completed.
1. Assess the association’s history and significant accomplishments. Develop a history of the association. List important milestones that brought the association to where it is today. In order to help visualize how the association has changed over the years, include items where impact occurred in the association’s operations, such as: hiring additional staff, upgrade computer hardware/software, changing processes significantly, raising dues, building additional facilities, rebuilding/renovating existing facilities, etc., by dates and quantities/dollars, as appropriate.
2. Assess the association’s current status. Determine the association’s current status by looking at such things as the state of the facilities, infrastructure of the operations, the financial statements, the demographics of the population, and so forth.
3. Evaluate the association’s current governance structure. Review the operations to determine how responsibilities are assigned, defining communications and authorities. Examine policies, procedures, and desk guides available to determine the chain of command within the association’s staff, within the board, and for oversight and communications between the staff or property management company and the board of directors. Critical is the point of contact for the staff or management company and the board, to preclude misunderstandings, duplications of effort, things falling through the cracks, etc. Determine the board’s responsibilities versus that of the staff or management company’s responsibilities. An example of a delineation of responsibilities between the staff or management company and the board is covered in Policy Governance, which simply stated, assigns the board’s function as that of policy making, the “what is” of the subject/issue, while the staff’s or management company’s function is that of carrying out the policies, the “how to” of the subject/issue.
4. Develop mission and vision statements. The vision statement is the image or state to which the association aspires. It emphasizes the dream of where the association will be at a specific time. The mission statement is the organization’s purpose stated in a memorable phrase. It should be geared toward fulfilling the association’s purpose and what it is intended to do with some specifics contained in the governing documents. Mission and vision statements should not be a list of goals.
5. Determine operating values. Also called guiding principles, these values state the association’s intentions and expectations. They are used to judge the association’s policies and actions, as well as individual conduct. Associations should include values such as: the importance of customers and customer service; commitment to quality and innovation; importance of honesty; integrity and ethical behavior; corporate citizenship; respect for the employee and duty the association has to its employees; and importance of safety and protecting the environment, etc.
6. Perform a needs assessment. Determine the needs of the association by analyzing the present state of the community, addressing any critical issues, and identifying the Association’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
a. Determination of key result areas. Define five to ten areas in which the association must be successful in order to accomplish its mission, based on customer expectations.
i. Determine customer expectations. Determine the customer