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When a club undergoes a strategic planning event, they do so by assessing a number of key data sets: member preferences, club operations, finances and market forces. All of these come together to help inform strategy and the action plan moving forward.
The fundamental challenge I see clubs struggle with all too often is keeping the information that informed their strategy up to date.
The intention is right, but the execution falls short. Let me tell you why.
Most clubs are stretched for resources. This typically necessitates a focus on immediate challenges, which tend to be operationally driven with solutions that are tactical in nature. It is not surprising that most business intelligence utilized by clubs focuses on revenues, expenses and certain utilization statistics.
The research and insight required to monitor and adjust strategy on an ongoing basis goes beyond revenues and expenses. It must provide club leaders with a 360-degree view of all forces impacting their club: from member attitudes and preferences to finances, capital sources and uses, from competitors to the economy, from real estate to a wide assortment of market conditions, the list goes on.
There is a tendency to assume many of these things do not change quickly, certainly not as quickly as daily operations; however, changes do occur significantly from year to year. For clubs today, sustained competitive advantage is critical. An off year in membership recruitment can hurt the club. A few off years over a five-year period will hurt the club and can be significant.
This is where strategic intelligence is so important. One of the biggest obstacles clubs encounter in their quest for better and current strategy is the sourcing, analyzing and visualizing of important strategic intelligence. An effective strategic intelligence process requires careful planning and resources, and this is the obstacle GGA’s Strategic Intelligence program has been designed to help club managers overcome.
The strategic jigsaw puzzle
The key to harnessing the power of strategic intelligence is this: piecing the right data together in a cohesive way and creating a culture of staying in tune with current trends.
This is something that clubs have, historically, struggled with. However, by enabling clubs to stay connected to all of the factors impacting their long-term success, this is an area GGA can really make a difference.
One thing is clear: clubs who actively engage with current strategic intelligence to inform their decision-making perform better in the short, medium and long-term.