A Check-In on the Chamber Strategic Plan
How it started
Three years ago, the Chamber Board of Directors approved a new strategic plan after an intensive six-month planning process. The approach to creating this strategic plan was new to the Chamber at the time and involved member surveys, focus groups, and a strategic plan subcommittee led by Board members to draft the initial plan. At the time the plan was approved, the Board noted the ambitious nature of it and believed the Chamber should expect at least five years would be needed to achieve all the goals the plan put forth.
Five years is a long time, so the Board also wisely concluded that the strategic plan should not be static but rather should be dynamic and evolving based on emerging opportunities, challenges, and results. Three years later and this approach has served the Chamber extremely well. The Board of Directors recently held a retreat dedicated to reviewing the progress we’ve made over the past three years and to ask whether updates and changes need to be made based on our progress.
While work is underway to fully update the Chamber’s strategic plan, here is quick preview of some of the key findings from the member survey the Chamber conducted in advance of the Board retreat and some of the general conclusions reached during the Board’s discussions…
- The general focus areas of economic development, education and workforce development, and transportation and infrastructure remain relevant to our members and the community.
- Economic development was again rated as the top issue by members, but workforce development leap frogged into second position compared to three years ago and many members voiced concerns that finding and retaining talent in their workforce is the most significant challenge they are facing. As such, the Chamber will look for ways to better highlight workforce development as part of its agenda.
- Merging with the Manchester Young Professional Network is one of the most exciting and promising opportunities for the Chamber to help members with workforce challenges going forward.
- New, exciting opportunities have emerged in the community, like ARMI and Manchester Connects, that offer significant economic development opportunities for the Chamber.
- Surveyed members strongly felt the Chamber was an influential force in the community and customer service oriented.
Based on this member feedback and the Board’s retreat, work is now underway to formally update the Chamber’s strategic plan and bring it to the Board for approval later this spring. Stay tuned for more news on this front as we will be sure to share the final product once it is updated and approved by the Board. As with the original plan, we expect many opportunities for members to get engaged with this plan and help the Chamber move its strategic priorities forward.