by Executing a Year-Round Work Plan
BY NIKKI GOLDEN
If;you’ve worked at a volunteer organization in any capacity, you’re familiar with the following drill: A new board gets sworn in with an agenda differ- ent than that of the previous board, and suddenly
staff time is being expended on the pet project of the day.
But what if you had a tool that defined what the organization wanted to accomplish for the year, created with input
from all stakeholders, with a timeframe, metrics and budget
tied to it?
In 2004, the National Association of the Remodeling
Industry created a strategic plan, something the association
had previously done but soon afterward shelved. This time,
with the assistance of a consultant, NARI realized the strategic plan must tie to the rest of the organization’s activities.
“We had to create a bridge to make the plan real and tangible and demonstrate we were using it,” says NARI Executive Vice President Mary Busey Harris.
Thus, NARI’s work plan tool was born. “It was a life-
line because we saw right away how to make a connection
between something theoretical and lofty goals,” Harris says.
“Now we had concrete tactics and measurements to make
this tool work.”
Before establishing the work plan, NARI leaders would come up
with ideas that didn’t consider budget implications or staff time.
“When the [work plan] came in, we felt overjoyed and
relieved that we had a plan that corresponded to the way
we think as business owners,” says Everett Collier, CR, a
member of the NARI Executive Committee when the work
plan was created. “Here’s a plan, here’s how it will go, here
are metrics to measure by and tactics on how we’re going to
accomplish it in X amount of time.”
The work plan document spells out what projects the staff
and various committees will tackle within the next calendar
year (see page 32 for an example). Each project is attached
to the person(s) or committee(s) responsible for accomplishing the task, a target start and end date, the resources
required and an evaluation metric. What is most important
about the work plan is that each item must be tied to one or
more of four goals that are outlined in the strategic plan.
The development process is a collaboration that often
begins at the committee level, with each committee having
an opportunity to provide input to its staff liaison on what it
would like to accomplish within the four pillars of the strategic plan.
Staff liaisons then bring these ideas and more to a two-day offsite meeting. The first portion of the meeting is spent
reviewing the previous year’s work plan — beginning with the
executive vice president giving feedback from the executive
committee, which already had a year-end review. The staff
then combs through the last work plan, examining what’s