A dark black and blue chalkboard with Dream Big written on in chalk. Long-Term Vision. Spark Solutions.

Defining Your Organization’s Long-Term Vision

Sport organizations are often focused on day-to-day operations, getting from one season to the next. It is easy to get wrapped up in keeping the lights on, but it’s important to pause every so often and survey the organizational landscape. Many organizations consider the future and plan for it by developing a strategic plan. However, it’s rare for sport organizations to think long-term – where they want to be 10, 20, even 30 years down the road. Defining your organization’s long-term vision is important, and today we’re discussing why that is and how you can get started with doing it.

Keep Everyone on the Same Path

It is not uncommon for boards to have high turnover, with an entirely new slate of volunteers every few years. Defining a unified, long-term vision helps keep everyone on the same page and helps the organization stay true to its mission and mandate.

Organizational Growth

Sustained growth takes planning, and large strategies and goals typically take longer to complete. For instance, your organization may see themselves one day owning or operating a facility. Based on the size and scope of the project, this could be a multi-year initiative which may be too large of a goal for one strategic plan. Knowing where you’re going helps you plan appropriately to meet your goals.

Optimizing Organizational Assets

On occasion, organizations bring in more revenues than they have expenses and amass considerable reserves. Because most organizations are non-profits, building large reserves without purpose can be a liability. Developing a long-term vision helps an organization to optimize its assets and use those assets responsibly.

Now that we’ve talked about why defining your organization’s long-term vision is important, let’s discuss how to do it.

How to Define the Long-Term Vision

In defining your organization’s long-term vision, it’s best to get all of your key stakeholders together to hold a strategy session. Consider including a variety of stakeholders from your organization – athletes, coaches, officials, volunteers, parents, board members and staff. This will ensure that you gather a variety of perspectives from which to refine.

When everyone is together, have everyone close their eyes and ground their feet on the floor. It may be a bit ‘woo woo’, but ask everyone to imagine your organization at a defined point in the future. What does the organization do? What does it do best? How do you feel when you think about the organization in this future state? How do your members or participants feel when they interact with your organization? It’s also important to consider, what is your organization not? What doesn’t it do? How doesn’t it feel?

Have candid discussions and have everyone share. Brainstorm by writing down everyone’s ideas before you start editing. Start theming similar ideas together and see what starts to emerge. As you distill down, consider the opportunities that are available to your organization. What can you do that’s different from your competitors? Set aside your draft and come back to review. Discuss some more. As your vision crystalizes, write it down and keep it on file so everyone can reference it. This long-term vision will be a comprehensive plan for your organization that defines the goals for the future.

Moving Forward

From there, decide how your organization will work towards this long-term vision. Will you work it into the next strategic plan? Do you need to form committees, change policies, hire contractors? Set smaller and intermediate goals that will work up to meeting your ultimate objective.

If your organization is interested to define its long-term vision, I can help by facilitating the process for you. Get in touch and let’s discuss.

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