In August, a Strategic Planning Meeting was held in Melbourne. Mike McLaughlin from McLaughlin Sports Consultancy was engaged to mediate the session, attended by Softball Australia Board Members, State Executive Officers, and State Presidents. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the future of softball in Australia and develop a member-centred, member-driven whole of sport plan for 2017-2020.
In 2014, Softball Australia’s Strategic Plan was developed and signed off by the Directors of Softball Australia and the Member States as the framework for all stakeholder plans around the country. The outputs and detail cascading from the framework were to be adapted to the needs of each signatory and implemented at both national and state levels.
In October 2016, attendees at Softball Australia’s member forum agreed that everyone would contribute to, and agree on the drivers for change to softball in Australia; commence discussion and obtain consensus on what we needed to change; and review the options for the structure and resources of softball in Australia.
A working party was established to make recommendations to the Softball Australia Board, followed by the Strategic Planning Meeting in Melbourne.
A major shift acknowledged at the workshop was for a dedicated effort to focus on the ‘end-user’ experience. Our members are our future. Everything we do at club, association, state and national level must be working towards improving the softball experience. Our very existence depends on it as we try to address membership decline. Our strategic plan will steer us in right direction and address key points:
- Shift our focus by answering the question, “Will it make the experience better for our participants?”
- The sport at all levels agree – we need to work together to improve softball in Australia.
- The new strategic plan will deliver the most coordinated effort we’ve seen across all of our stakeholders to improve softball in Australia.
- We will act to make softball attractive to those not yet introduced to the game.
Information gathered at the one-day workshop will be used to develop a contemporary, forward-thinking, user-friendly draft Plan that will be made available for review and comment. Only after that time, will a working version of the 2017-2020 Strategic Plan be signed-off by Softball Australia and Member States.
Softball Australia extends thanks and gratitude to everyone who attended the meeting for their invaluable input. Thanks also to Mike who expertly guided and encouraged robust discussion.
The future holds so much for softball and together, we will achieve our 2017-2020 objectives.