Strategic Planning at NACE International

This model was adopted by the Board of Directors to facilitate strategic planning at NACE.

NACE International has used long-term planning processes for many years to help establish a course of direction for the association. We have implemented these plans with varying degrees of success and have learned that strategic planning comes in many flavors.

Over the past several years, the Board of Directors has worked to refine and adopt a singular process tailored to meet our needs. The process is designed to help us create a clear understanding of where we want to go (our Destination, or Future State), and to develop a stepwise plan for how we get there from where we are today.

We introduced that process in the March 2017 issue of MP. More importantly, each month we plan to present key outcomes of our process, and explain in greater detail the strategic plan for our association.

Let’s start with a definition of strategic planning so that we all have a common understanding of just what it is we’ll be talking about. Strategic planning is a process that provides a roadmap for taking our association from a well-defined Present State, to a compelling and significantly different Future State.

First and foremost, strategic planning is an ongoing process—not an event. We must work on our plans continuously. During the process, board members who represent every facet of our operations listen to, debate, and analyze data and information until we reach a common understanding of the Present State health of the association. With this knowledge in hand, the board created a verbal picture of a compelling Future State.

While the quality of the plan itself is important, successful execution of the plan is even more critical. Our Plan for Success process creates the roadmap that we will follow to move us toward our overarching goals. It includes our key strategic initiatives for the next year, a planning tool to identity and focus on the most important short-term tasks, and a review process that helps establish accountability, monitor progress, and make course corrections as necessary.

As mentioned earlier, there are many models for strategic planning. This is the model that the board has refined and adopted over the past several years. It meets our purposes well, and is flexible enough to be adopted, as desired, to meet the needs of each affiliate, activities committee, or area of the association.

Over the next few months, we will:

• Present our statement of Core Purpose, establishing why we exist in the marketplace and our noble cause

• Introduce our Cultural Beliefs and Core Values that define how we expect each other to behave

• Confirm our mission that describes to the world just what it is we do

• Explore our aspirational Vision of what we want to become

• Present our Overarching Goals outlining where we expect to be in 2019

• Explain the five key strategies the board has adopted for the next year

• Define how we will know that we have been successful

• Describe the Implementation Plan tool that we will utilize to manage the process

• Outline the Review and Reload process we will use to keep us on track

We hope you will enjoy this series. This article is also maintained as part of an ongoing series of posts on the NACE web site. You can monitor these monthly updates by visiting

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