“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead
Is it time to refocus the efforts of your bar association?
The quote above could have been written about bar associations. Bar associations – their staffs and attorney members – work to change the world every day. But sometimes they need to stop and focus on their own organizations.
As the former executive director of a voluntary bar association, Nora understands the challenges that bar executives and bar associations face each day. She’s been there, and she brings her unique knowledge to every bar association she works with.
Nora can help your bar association to create a strategic plan that truly works for you, and doesn’t gather dust on a bookshelf. She can work with you and your board to manage conflict for superior results. And Nora can help you and your board gain new insights into understanding behaviors that are serving you well – and those that aren’t.
What is strategic planning for bar associations?
Although most bar associations regularly engage in what they refer to as strategic planning, many may not have really considered exactly what strategic planning is. Simply put, strategic planning is a process that determines where an association is going over the next year or more, how it’s going to get there, and how it will know when (and if) it arrived.
Ultimately, strategic planning is about change. But the change must be useful and aligned with the mission of the association. It cannot simply be change for the sake of change.
Most strategic planning processes involve three stages:
- Scanning the environment. This stage includes obtaining both internal and external feedback, most often through member satisfaction surveys, SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) surveys.
- Creating the plan/setting objectives. This stage typically involves the strategic planning retreat, itself, which can take place in one day or over several days.
- Implementation. In the implementation phase, strategies are developed to achieve the set objectives. Implementation includes the ongoing actions that translate the ideas of the retreat into results.
You can cultivate a great board.
Nowhere is the concept of continuous improvement more important than in the area of bar association board development. Every day bar associations are faced with challenges and opportunities for improvement.
- How can we increase membership?
- How can we increase non-dues revenue?
- How can we cultivate a great board?
- How can we make a positive impact on our community?
- How can we help our members improve their law practices and their lives?
Each of these questions presents both a challenge and an opportunity for the board and the executive leadership. The best bar association boards are those that work together with each other and the executive leadership to constantly improve the association. The most effective boards create a culture of respect for each other and the staff. That culture of respect begins with each board member understanding the particular skills they bring to the board table and appreciating the skills of the other board members and executive leadership. Constantly cultivating and improving your board is your key to success.