Open Leadership – reflecting on my role as Chair of ALT (4) #altc

In this, the fourth post sharing my reflections and experiences of being the Chair of ALT I’m going share a bit more around strategy development.

alt strategy graphic - greater than the sum of our parts

Having a clear, meaningful and attainable strategy is key to the success of any organisation. However, I’m sure we have all at time experienced the gap between visions outlined in strategies and the realities of day to day practice. Some strategic aims can be so vague in aspiration that they are almost meaningless.

With ALT having such a small core team it is vital that our strategic goals are really SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timebased). It is the job of the Board and the Chair in particular to ensure that the organisational strategy does actually represent and meanigfully articulate the needs and aspirations of the membership as well as provide realistic targets for development.

Our current 3 year strategy lifecycle ends in 2020, so we are now making plans for the development of a new strategy. I was Vice Chair when the current strategy was developed. At that time the Board were very keen that the strategy represented the views of the membership. So the Association created multiple ways for members to contribute to its development. I co-led with the then Chair (and now President), Martin Weller, a series of community webinars to get views and feedback from our members. I found these sessions, and all the other inputs shared by members, invaluable as a way of really understanding members views and needs. Some of them we could easily integrate into the strategy, others were out of scope.

These sessions were followed by a facilitated session for the Board of Trustees by Bryan Mathers (Visual Thinkery). In this session we discussed the findings from the community consultations, our own views and those of ALT staff. The visual record of the session was invaluable in terms of bringing focus and a distillation to the wide ranging discussions. It made the writing of the strategy that bit easier, and also allowed an opportunity for us to work with Bryan to develop a really strong visual identity for the strategy, which has we have used to create an open resource that clearly explains who we are, what we do and why we do it

The current strategy has been a really active and useful document that all the work of the association is measured by and related to. As Chair, I cannot stress how important it has been in terms of guiding my leadership. It has been incredibly satisfying to see the Association grow and flourish over the past 3 years, and that has largely been down to having such a strong, concise strategy that all our work directly relates to, and stems from.

Developing the new ALT strategy will very much be my legacy, as my term as Chair will end in September 2020. The process will start at our annual conference in September this year. Of course with the ALT Assembly up and running now, it will play a core role the consultation process this time around. I am really looking forward to developing our next strategy with our members firmly at the heart of the process.

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