Achieving Athletic Excellence: A Step-by-Step Strategic Planning Checklist

Achieving Athletic Excellence: A Step-by-Step Strategic Planning Checklist

Creating a strategic plan for an athletics department is crucial for achieving long-term success and fulfilling the department's mission and goals. Below is a detailed checklist for developing a comprehensive strategic plan for your athletics department:

1. Establish a Planning Team:

  • Identify key stakeholders, including coaches, staff, student-athletes, alumni, and administrators.
  • Appoint a planning committee with diverse perspectives and expertise.
  • Assign a dedicated project manager to oversee the planning process.

2. Define the Purpose and Scope:

  • Clearly articulate the purpose and objectives of the strategic plan.
  • Determine the timeframe for the plan (e.g., 3-5 years).
  • Identify the specific areas within the athletics department to be addressed (e.g., sports programs, facilities, budgeting, marketing).

3. Conduct a SWOT Analysis:

  • Analyze the department's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
  • Gather data on financial resources, talent, facilities, competition, and market trends.

4. Develop a Mission and Vision Statement:

  • Craft a concise and inspiring mission statement that defines the department's purpose.
  • Create a visionary statement that outlines the department's long-term aspirations.

5. Set Clear Goals and Objectives:

  • Define specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals.
  • Develop objectives aligned with each goal that outline the steps required for achievement.

6. Assess Resources:

  • Review the department's budget and funding sources.
  • Evaluate staffing levels, including coaches, support staff, and administrative personnel.
  • Assess the state of athletic facilities, equipment, and technology.

7. Conduct Stakeholder Engagement:

  • Gather input from coaches, student-athletes, parents, alumni, and other stakeholders through surveys, focus groups, and meetings.
  • Consider the perspectives and needs of all involved parties.
  • Research competitors' programs, successes, and strategies.
  • Stay informed about trends, rule changes, and emerging technologies.

9. Develop Action Plans:

  • Create detailed action plans for each goal and objective, including responsible parties, timelines, and key performance indicators (KPIs).
  • Allocate resources effectively to support these action plans.

10. Prioritize Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Belonging Initiatives:

  •  Incorporate DEIB principles into all aspects of the strategic plan, including recruitment, leadership, and programming.
  • Set specific DEIB goals and measures for improvement.

11. Budget and Financial Planning:

  • Develop a comprehensive budget that aligns with the strategic plan's goals.
  • Identify potential revenue streams, cost-saving measures, and fundraising opportunities.

12. Marketing and Branding:

  • -Create a marketing and branding strategy to promote the athletics department and its programs. -
  • Establish guidelines for consistent messaging and visual identity.

13. Facilities and Infrastructure:

  •  Assess the condition of existing facilities and prioritize upgrades or renovations.
  • Explore opportunities for new facility development, if needed.

14. Compliance and Governance:

  • Ensure adherence to State association rules and regulations.
  • Review and update department policies and procedures as necessary.

15. Monitoring and Evaluation:

  • Establish a system for regular progress monitoring and reporting.
  • Periodically review the strategic plan and make adjustments as needed.

16. Communication and Transparency:

  • Communicate the strategic plan to all stakeholders, including staff, athletes, alumni, and the broader community.
  • Encourage ongoing transparency and feedback.

17. Execute and Evaluate:

  • Implement the action plans and track progress towards goals.
  • Regularly evaluate the effectiveness of the plan and make adjustments as necessary.

18. Celebrate Achievements:

  • Recognize and celebrate successes along the way to keep morale high.

19. Plan for Continuity:

  • Develop a plan for how the strategic plan will be sustained and updated after its initial term.

20. Document and Share the Plan:

  • Compile the final strategic plan document for reference and distribution.

Remember that a strategic plan is a dynamic document that should adapt to changing circumstances and goals. Regularly review and update the plan to ensure that your athletics department remains aligned with its mission and focused on achieving its objectives.

Download the Strategic Plan Example provided by Scott Garvis C.M.A.A.

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