More than ever, successful electric cooperatives must identify change as a key to survival and reinvent themselves as flexible organizations capable of quickly responding to market forces and customer demand. NRECA's National Consulting Group (NCG) knows how to help you prepare to meet the challenges of today's environment and deliver the superior services your members demand. In our experience working with successful co-ops across the country, strategic planning is the key to success.
Our approach to strategic planning has been refined over the past 20 years and combines the best methodologies in the industry with practical approaches to implementation and decades of hands-on experience. To help co-ops through the strategic planning process, NRECA's National Consulting Group brings a team of practitioners and professionals from the broader NRECA family, the co-op network at large, as well as the best that the vendor community has to offer, to provide the following key areas of service to NRECA members:
Discovery and Research
Successful strategic planning is critically dependent upon establishing a baseline understanding of your co-op's membership, competitors and employee population. NRECA recommends co-ops combine the use of credible secondary research with well-structured primary research activities. Whether you take advantage of NRECA's Market Research Group, resources available via your statewide network, or local vendors who deliver a credible product, gathering pertinent information is an ongoing facet of effective strategic planning.
The next crucial step is conducting a formal analysis of the data. As part of establishing this baseline understanding, your existing technical foundation, business process linkages, and the general challenges, trends and opportunities that exist within your service territory must be analyzed and reviewed. Whether you undertake this activity with existing cooperative staff or with the assistance of outside subject matter experts, analysis is a critical and ongoing part of effective strategic planning.
Co-op leaders are faced with the challenge of achieving consensus, setting priorities and charting the strategic direction for their systems. Formal strategic planning, as a direction-setting enabler, can be positioned as the effective tool in achieving organizational consensus. NRECA has refined a set of interrelated tools and activities to assist organizations in creating organizational consensus. Whether this involves facilitating a strategic planning retreat, managing a prioritization workshop, developing a strategic plan, or conducting training on problem identification and decision making, NRECA has a team of subject matter experts at hand to assist our membership.
A variety of tools are available to NRECA co-ops to help them develop action plans. Key to the development of objectives and strategies is the definition of specific performance metrics and benchmarks that can be monitored by the executive staff and the board. As part of this facet of effective strategic planning, NRECA provides tools and templates to guide co-ops in the uniform development of tasks and objectives that can assist those responsible in maintaining their course.
In our experience, the vast majority of planning efforts fail to make any appreciable contribution to improving the organization's performance because they fail to assign specific responsibility for the implementation of the plan to specific resources. Inherent in this delegation of responsibility is equipping the appropriate staff with the tools, resources, and authority to make the changes and adjustments necessary to meet the goals and objectives established. NRECA helps co-ops overcome this obstacle by providing tools to develop aggressive work programs, schedules and budgets. As part of this process, NRECA makes available discipline-specific expertise for co-ops to leverage.
For more information, contact Henry Cano, Senior Principal, Strategic Practice, firstname.lastname@example.org, 602-621-3905.