by Bob Lurz,Strategic Strength Consulting
2010 Strategy Sessions were held on July 30 and October 29, with 18-20 people at each, including non-members. Ruth Balkin recorded the proceedings at both sessions & Mike VanderGaag sorted the first session ideas into themes. President, Linda McQueen, challenged us with the “ripple effect” networking concept: RPCN will raise awareness and recruit members through “RPCN acting as a group” and through “RPCN members acting through their networks” like a rainstorm and ripples spreading out in water (aka “Members as Ambassadors”). Also, we will continue to improve RPCN’s value to members through our website, and processes that make it easier for members to learn, market themselves, etc.
The enthusiastic participants generated a large number of ideas and suggestions (a “Rainstorm Brainstorm”). Many (including some non-members) volunteered to take action and “make it happen” for the items that “grabbed them” (Note: The ”Top List” ideas received 4 or more votes. Item numbers (e.g.1.D) have been retained here for tracking purposes). The participants liked the strategy sessions because of: 1. Participant involvement, 2. Things are going to happen because people volunteered, 3. Fun, 4. Brain power of the group, 5. Non-members participating, 6. Member participants are not just the “usual core”.
Action Volunteer Responsibilities
If your name appears next to an item below, your responsibilities are to:
MAJOR STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES
- Meet / Communicate with co-volunteers to work as a subcommittee to plan your action.
- Make a proposal/plan (If possible, before next RPCN Board meeting via Linda McQueen/Jen Ulrich).
- If approved, move forward and update Board via Jen Ulrich one week before monthly Board Meetings.
The underlying goals are to:
Strategic Objective 1:
- Make RPCN & benefits well-known (Aim: recruit members, and support RPCN events).
- Increase Value for RPCN members (Aim: recruit and retain members).
Build Alliances with other organizations.
Strategic Objective 2:
RPCN members actively promote RPCN to people/organizations in their networks. (Members as: “Ripples in water”, “Ambassadors.”)
Strategic Objective 3:
Increase RPCN Value for Members
STRATEGIC OBJECTIVE 1: Alliances
Current Alliances: Spurred by the 2009 Strategy Session, RPCN has already established alliances with:
The Self-Employment Assistance Program at NYS Dept of Labor (SEAP).
Since Dec. 2009, RPCN members have been doing monthly 30-minute “mini-forums” that give the attendees a taste of RPCN Forums, promote the benefits of RPCN, and invite them to RPCN meetings. (R.Lurz-lead, C.McManus, L.McQueen, B.Sears, L.Dessert, B.Vallee)
In September 2010, RPCN presented a 2-hour workshop on “What is a Consultant? / Would I want to be one?” for Rochester Works members (closing with the benefits of RPCN). Another session will be held in early 2011. (R.Lurz-lead, C.McManus)
(STRATEGIC OBJECTIVE 1: Alliances, continued)
Alliance Ideas (new) from 2010 Strategy Sessions (Carol McManus - Team Lead)
STRATEGIC OBJECTIVE 2: Members promote RPCN to their networks
- 1B. Take Mini-Forum presentations model (ala SEAP) to other organizations. A potential-alliance list of about 30 organizations was generated.
- Invite leaders from other organizations to do programs/make presentations at RPCN.
- 1D. Establish RPCN connections with local Business Incubators-HTR, etc. (Bob Lurz-lead, Don Giancurso, Bob Lewis, Dave Bassett)
- 4J. Offer RPCN services nationally as a think tank.
RPCN members actively promote RPCN to people/organizations in their networks.
STRATEGIC OBJECTIVE 3: Increase RPCN Value for Members
- 2A. Survey members for associations they are members of, or have key contacts they can leverage for RPCN. Include Social Networks ala LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. (This is a current Board action. Should connect with S.Royal Members Skills survey).
- Inform members of the expectations for their promoting RPCN.(Linda MCQueen)
- Educate members how to promote RPCN to their networks. (Linda McQueen)
- RPCN Members invite their network contacts to RPCN meetings.
Other Top Ideas without specific strategic objectives (4 or more votes).
- 3Q. Skills Inventory of RPCN Members (For RPCN Website. Potential clients can find consultant skills they’re seeking, and members can find consulting project partners).
- 7B. Skills Inventory template for member survey (Linda McQueen, Tony Perrone, Bob Lewis)
- 7C. Create member survey which includes skills [and members’ associations] (Steve Royal)
- 7E. Create PDF documents to be filled in: full list of items and templates (Bill Brown)
- 3F. Mentorship (Bob Lewis, Steve Royal)
- 3J. Logo of RPCN on members’ websites (Emily Carpenter, Paul Lowans, Jerry Seward)
- 7J. RPCN have a “Consultants Incubator” process. Also, use for recruiting (Bob Lurz, Linda McQueen)
- 3E,7D. Certification for consultants, including qualifications & educational program (Brian Kane, Carol McManus, Mike Van der Gaag, Dave Bassett)
- 4C .Emphasize business to business with RPCN members. (Jerry Seward, Ruth Balkin)
- 4E. Branding - instantly recognized in the Rochester region. Blog with testimonials/benefits.
- 4P. Approach D&C, etc about a weekly column like the RWN. 4Q. Also, query Rochester Business Journal for articles they need (Jerry Seward-Lead, Bob Lewis, Dave Bassett, Sue Kastan).
- 6E. Build a long-term RPCN Strategic Plan and Process. Strategic process, as it is now, has a long-term vision component. As baton passes from president-to-president, we should have a process that doesn’t lose the long-term vision and strategy, while allowing the President freedom of action. (Bob Lurz, Linda Mcqueen)
- 6E. Have a presentation/meeting every 6 months to review how we are doing against strategic plan. (Linda McQueen, Lori Cohen)
- 6E. Action items that have volunteer’s names will be added to Board Minutes “Action List” (Linda McQueen, Jen Ulrich)
Honorable Mention Ideas without Strategic Objectives (3 votes each)
- 6I. Measure RPCN’s success in meeting member needs, and other key measures. (Lori Cohen, lead)
- 3C. RPCN Webinars
- 3R. Help members enter their complete, high quality profile on RPCN website
- 4D. Publish compilation of success stories
- 4K. Franchising RPCN
- 4M. Have a Skype (chat) channel on RPCN Website. (Bill Vallee)
- 4O. Blogs on RPCN Website: e.g. Consulting, How to hire a Consultant
- 6D. Capitalize on Rochester’s inventions; lots of patents; hotbed of intellectual creativity
- 6G. Hold a few meetings in other sections of the area - geographically diverse meeting locations
- 6J. Outreach to Syracuse & Buffalo
Action: Next Steps for Volunteers and RPCN Members
Volunteers will become champions for their issues. They will enlist others to help them analyze the ideas for viability, plan an approach, and take action. More volunteers are needed. All members have the responsibility to volunteer and help make RPCN even more successful. If you have other ideas for RPCN’s success, or to volunteer, Contact Linda McQueen, or any Board member. (Action: All RPCN Members: Volunteer by contacting any of the people in this article. This expands your network and develops relationships and trust with your fellow members.) For article corrections call Bob Lurz.
Bob Lurz, “The Strategy Navigator”.
RPCN Strategist & Business Forum Facilitator.