COVID-19 and its Impact on Strategic Planning

November 13, 2020
By Michael Copp, Executive Vice President

As PHCC National begins to think about its strategic direction moving forward, it certainly needs to factor in the pandemic and its impact on future efforts. As Daniel Ronan (2020) of Resilient Heritage writes in his article, “It’s Strategic to Think of the Future: Strategic Planning in the Time of COVID-19, “see if your organization can step into the crisis with a savvy outlook on the future, one that mitigates risks while remaining optimistic” (Retrieved on the World Wide Web on September 15, 2020 here). Ronan (2020) notes that “many economists predict that the current crisis may take at least 2-3 years of recovery [and] now is a perfect time for self-reflection and assessment. The author lists several ideas from a Sea Change, its “Tough Times Call for Tough Action” report (ibid):

  1. Refocus on the mission. What should your organization look like during this crisis? How about after? Being clear on your organization’s mission will help your decision-making during this crisis, but also may need to be adjusted given your circumstances. What direction should your organization take?
  2. Understand your type of organization. The exercise of determining how your organization operates during a crisis—whether by shutting down, increasing its operations and operational expenses, or a mixture of the two—will lead your organization to its natural point of decision-making. By now… most organizations will have already established their general response to the pandemic, but broader reflection on how and whether your organization can operate in the long-term… [and  keep] [your organization] solvent or closing its doors for good.
  3. Conserve cash. Regardless of your organization’s type, [it is] pushed to conserve cash. Zero-based budgeting…can help your organization concentrate on its mission while targeting reduced expenditures. Exploring new fundraising opportunities, while potentially tight in times of crisis, could offer new insights on how a revised mission could help, or even embolden, the work your organization does while appealing to a broader funding base.

PHCC’s vision is that “PHCC will become so relevant that PHCC Contractors are the best choice for professionalism, reliable products and knowledgeable service.” To support that vision, PHCC’s goals fall into several categories: Membership, public awareness, additional sources of non-dues revenue, workforce, and equal value for HVAC contractor members. As the PHCC Board of Directors prepare to meet in January, PHCC has to ask itself – What is PHCC’s strategic profile (products, markets and users) and what differentiates PHCC from like trade associations- especially post pandemic?

Several principles that PHCC leadership is exploring include increasing member engagement, serving up greater value for every membership dollar earned, and differentiating PHCC as the trade association-of-choice for P-H-C contractors across the Federation. The PHCC Board of Directors and several state executive officers will meet together to debate these principles and generate high-level strategies that may include:

  • Developing a content strategy and business intelligence creation to offer greater value and a customized member experience for chapters, member-leaders, mid-career and longstanding members, young professionals and students and sponsors and advertisers.
  • Generating more targeted ways to discover emerging member needs through business intelligence strategies.
  • Developing a more responsive communication strategy.
  • Creating member engagement plan for next 5 years and measuring engagement factors.

Given the nature of this pandemic and its lasting impact that remains unknown to us, it is critical that PHCC maintain a high level of flexibility and nimbleness, but in a way that it does not encourage strategic seduction causing operational fatigue (i.e., chasing squirrels). So, while the strategic plan will drive budgeting priorities, leadership recognizes that it will need to accommodate member needs that are unforeseen at the time of planning and adapt to remain relevant to its stakeholders. As Albert Einstein observed, “The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.”


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