Our Roles and Responsibilities: Strategic Planning

Successful organizations look forward. Not just to the next day or week, but much further ahead.

A company like Baldwin EMC, now in its 84th year of empowering communities, couldn’t have survived for so long without carefully planning for the future.

That’s one of many responsibilities maintained by the cooperative’s democratically elected board of trustees. As the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s “Strategic Planning Handbook for Cooperatives,” explains it, “Cooperative directors maintain a long-term perspective of where the cooperative is headed. They are concerned with how the cooperative can better serve members’ needs and what general changes may be necessary in organizational and operating policies.”

The process of creating Baldwin EMC’s long-range plan is currently in full swing, and your board members are eager to develop objectives that meet the changing needs of our membership.

Any good plan starts with creative idea gathering, and this year, we turned to none other than the team behind Baldwin EMC’s day-to-day operations – the 194 employees of the cooperative. After all, these are the men and women who interact with you, our members, every day. Whether they’re conducting an energy audit in your home, restoring your power after a major weather event, or speaking to you on the phone, they serve as the co-op’s eyes and ears, and willingly share what they know about your needs, wants and concerns.

Beyond just employee input and member interests, any strategic plans we develop are rooted in what we know about the changing landscape of the electric utility industry. This is why the many hours we spend in training and networking with other electric co-op leaders are quite useful. It’s our duty as we guide this ship, to know what obstacles are on the horizon. If we do this with diligence, we can develop a strategic plan that helps us successfully navigate what’s to come.

So what’s in a strategic plan? Well, every cooperative is different, but for Baldwin EMC, it’s a set of objectives that gives our team direction on how to channel their efforts and energy. In the past, our strategic plan has prompted us to develop a crisis management plan, improve our safety processes, and implement a disaster recovery plan for our technology, among many other directives. These improvements have helped us become one of the most desirable employers in our area, and a model organization within the electric cooperative network.

Strategic planning is an ongoing process. Once we reach the deadline of the most current plan, which typically for us is five years, it’s time to start over and develop the next one. But, as members representing members, we owe it to you to avoid stagnation, which is the opposite of success. When we thrive as an organization, we can be a better contributor to our community and the lives of our members.